Economic View

On how collaboration can strengthen the investment-promotion efforts of chambers of commerce in the Gulf

How can chambers of commerce in the Gulf work together to foster innovation and sustainability?

MOHAMMAD ALI RASHED LOOTAH: To effectively collaborate in supporting business-friendly regulations and frameworks, chambers of commerce in the Gulf must proactively engage with the private sector. Dubai Chambers established its Business Advocacy Sector with the goal of strengthening engagement with the private sector through both reactive and proactive approaches. We promote transparent feedback and aim to ensure all business-related laws and policies implemented in the emirate contribute towards a more favourable business environment. In 2022 Dubai Chambers reviewed 81 draft laws and made recommendations in line with our strategic goal of improving Dubai’s business environment.

A key element of innovation lies in the digital economy. To leverage its full potential, chambers of commerce should be looking to proactively engage with technology-focused businesses and industry players. In Dubai, this has led to the creation of Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, one of the three chambers operating under the umbrella of Dubai Chambers. It conducts workshops in areas such as financial technology, agriculture technology, and 3D printing to identify challenges and works with the government to overcome them. The chamber also organises the Expand North Star event, which brings together startups and venture capital funds to boost the tech ecosystem.

With regards to sustainability, the business community will encounter both challenges and opportunities. By establishing bodies specifically aimed at tackling sustainability challenges, such as the Solar & Renewable Energy Business Group and the Recycling Business Group, Dubai Chambers is looking to engage with industry to find solutions and foster collaboration on sustainable development initiatives. 

In the same vein, global events such as the COP28 UN Conference on Climate Change – which will take place this year in the UAE – should be high on the agenda of chambers of commerce as these provide excellent opportunities for stakeholders to work together to address complex environmental challenges.

As the global business landscape becomes more uncertain, where do you see opportunities for international collaboration in promoting trade and investment?

LOOTAH: In today’s rapidly changing global business environment, it is crucial for chambers to be agile and dynamic to remain relevant and effective in supporting businesses. Although the global business landscape may seem uncertain, international cooperation between chambers of commerce presents immense opportunities for promoting trade and investment. This cooperation is even more effective if it is results-oriented. 

It is essential to maintain strong relationships with chambers worldwide. To achieve this, we aim to work on projects with key performance indicators and outcomes that benefit both chambers and their members. These can range from reciprocal trade missions to sector-specific growth initiatives, in areas such as the digital economy. 

Dubai International Chamber is creating a global network of representative offices; we aim to have 30 international offices by 2024, and 50 by 2030. This network will play a crucial role in helping companies expand into international markets, attracting foreign direct investment to Dubai, and promoting economic growth and prosperity across the region.