Top business leaders from Sharjah and Canada held a Roundtable session yesterday (February 23) organized by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) in collaboration with the Canadian Business Councils in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Panellists, consisting of top executives from leading government sectors in Sharjah, discussed keys areas of investment and growth in the emirate, and also presented key achievements at the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry. While Canada was represented by HE Emmanuel Kamarianakis, Consul General of Canada to Dubai and Colin Beaton, Board Member of Canadian Business Council and many Canadian business people.
HE Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of Shurooq, said, “Shurooq’s decision to organize this roundtable is in recognition of the growing role Canada has to play in its bilateral relations with the UAE and Sharjah. We presented specific
emerging industries in Sharjah to our Canadian partners and provided them with an optimistic forecast for each industry respectively. Talks are expected to continue, as we predict these opportunities will be valuable assets that can contribute to Canada’s overall economy and growth.”
Al Sarkal added, “Sharjah is currently enjoying one of the best economic performances regionally, thanks to its expanding tourism and hospitality sector, as well as the non-oil export trade. The transportation trade is booming and an expanding population has meant rapid growth in construction, real estate and health sectors in the emirate. Over the years, Shurooq has developed a strong portfolio of agricultural products, real estate, tourism, SME’s, retail, aviation, trade, art and culture, automotive, clothing and steel and manufacturing markets in Sharjah.”
HE Emmanuel Kamarianakis, said, “Our statistics show there was 30 billion dollars of UAE investment in Canada. Our bilateral trade has never been better. This investment relationship is fundamentally important to us and the UAE is seen as a welcoming and friendly government to do business with. There are two billion dollars in Canadian exports to the UAE and this market grew 14% last year. It’s a big market for us and it is growing.”
He added, “The UAE exports in to Canada saw a 60 per cent increase to 140 million Canadian dollars. This is in various sectors such as manufacturing, furniture and agriculture to name a few. Events such as this roundtable provide us with an excellent opportunity to further our trade relations and
expand and strengthen partnership opportunities. Canada is committed to furthering relations with Sharjah”
Former Canada Business Council (CBC) chairman and current board member, Colin Beaton said, “It has been a privileged to speak with the Shurooq teams. I love coming to Sharjah and talking about our plans and the spirit of what Sharjah wants to do. As an architect and designer I am impressed with what Shurooq are doing with their major projects and waterfront developments as well as what these projects mean for the environment. Our mission here today is to try and find out more about the people and opportunities and how we can help by investing in Sharjah. This isn’t a small local meeting but a national, Canadian government-backed event to build more ties. It is great our members can learn more about Sharjah and the CBC adds great value to missions such as this.”
Following the keynotes panellists included Mohamed Juma Al Musharrkh, Deputy Director of Sharjah FDI at Shurooq; Raed Bukhatir, Deputy Commercial Director of the Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF Zone); Mark Heesom, Managing Director of Bee’ah, and Binu G Pisharadi, Manager Commercial Affairs of the Sharjah Health Authority presented investment opportunities.
Al Musharrkh said, “Shurooq was formed in 2009 with a mandate to facilitate business in the emirate of Sharjah. We help attract investments to Sharjah and we facilitate doing business with other government departments. A report by Shurooq found that there was a high return on investments in Sharjah in a range of sectors and we champion leisure and tourism and are creating opportunities in this sector. Shurooq is trying to create a place for overseas investments to thrive.”
Binu G Pisharadi Healthcare city said, “Sharjah Healthcare City (SHCC) is a subsidy of Sharjah Health Authority and was created in 2012 and looked to attract direct investment into Sharjah’s healthcare. It will be a unique healthcare city worldwide and will be a dedicated healthcare township with health centres, hospitals, clinics, hospital universities, anything healthcare you will find in Sharjah Healthcare City. This is a growing sector and Sharjah will develop it for investors offering accommodation for medical staff and the issuing of licences which makes it one stop solution for investors in healthcare.”
Bukhatir said, “SAIF was established in 1995 and we have six thousand clients or more. We provide clients with infrastructure to do their work, providing licenses, offices and anything they need to do business. We operate with an open door policy and you can come and speak to any of us in the free zone at any time.”
Heesom said, “Bee’ah is an environmental management company for Sharjah offering a range of services. We are looking at sustainability in all things and are delivering an integrated green emirate. Sharjah is the leading example in
the UAE of environmental sustainability. Bee’ah offers a mixed batch of opportunities on a contract basis here.”