ABU DHABI, 28th September 2016 (WAM) – The UAE is the region’s most resilient and diversified economy. This was declared during a panel discussion titled: ‘Beyond oil – capitalising on investment opportunities in the UAE’ at the second edition of the Sharjah FDI Forum.

Panelists examined the business and political climate for investment and their impact on investor appetite. They also talked about opportunities for established sectors and where growth would come from.

Panelists included: Dany Farha, co-founder and CEO, Beco Capital; Nasser Saidi, president, Nasser Saidi & Associates and member of the regional advisory group for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Mena; Arjen Radder, CEO of Philips Middle East and Turkey; Neil George, senior vice-president of acquisitions and development Middle East & Africa, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.

Khaleej Times quoted Saidi as saying: “The UAE has been able to be more resilient than any other country in the Gulf because of its diversified economy. Its infrastructure allows for building trade and tourism. It also gives the region international connectivity.”

He also talked about investment opportunities in solar energy and commercial space.

Beco Capital’s Farha said stable oil prices are very important for this region. He talked about technology’s role in providing efficient services to consumers and referred to Careem example’s as the Uber of the region.

Philips’ Radder said the company is now very focused on energy, lighting and healthcare. “We are working with the Ministry of Health to reduce patient’s ICU time by 30 per cent to 50 per cent. It will reduce patient expenses,” he informed.

George said Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide was present in the UAE before the merger with Marriott International. “UAE achievements are much better than that of competitors in many ways, either in doing business or its high ranking in the Arab world and Mena in different sectors,” he said.

Earlier in the day, the third keynote speaker, who took the stage at the opening of the Sharjah FDI Forum 2016 was Dr Parag Khanna, director of the Global Governance Initiative, American Strategy Programme, New America Foundation and author of the book ‘Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilisation’.

Outlining how globalisation was increasing connectivity, he explained how the world map had changed over the years from its first form, one of ‘blue denoting oceans and brown denoting deserts’ to its second form, one of a ‘geopolitical topography’, to its third form, characterised as ‘functional geography comprising modern silk roads.’