Viewpoint: Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi

From time to time we have to stop and contemplate the questions raised by what we experience and try to find answers which, in their essence, encompass our work’s culture, philosophy, goals, direction and destination. In so doing, we can determine how this work can be best sustained and advanced.

The most prominent question in the context of economic activity is what the goal of the activity is. We can also ask, do these activities only achieve personal victories over challenges, or are they wide-ranging enough to enhance our culture, philosophy, community stability and the prosperity of our nations? Are their results limited to a certain geographical area? Or are they all-encompassing in a time when all limits have been removed and things are interlinked, sharing both positive and negative effects?

Does economic activity aim to generate wealth? What constitutes the real wealth of nations and how can it be measured? A large number of questions emerge and more or less revolve around one point. That being said, however, people remain the source, makers and even the target of development. If business or any other activity goes against this truth, its foundations are weakened, and its results will be discriminatory. It may be temporarily helpful for some people, but it is inevitably unsustainable and unfair to all.

This equation can best be demonstrated by the current state of the world economy, which reached its peak during the aftermath of the recent global financial crisis. Overnight the economy turned into a monster, destroying itself and millions of people proved to simply be a means via which others could accumulate wealth. Thus, this crisis left many people without the income, the resources or even the ability to purchase the products manufactured by them. Comprehensive and equitable development, which focuses on human beings above all else, is the only way to eliminate the disintegration and extremist disputes from which many communities are suffering, regionally and globally. When individuals feel that they have been excluded from their country’s economic policies, they feel that their connections with that country have been broken and they begin looking for alternative affiliations. This, in turn, pushes them further towards a hostility directed at other people around them and may even push them towards extremism.

For this reason, we consider equitable development as the most successful way to root out disintegration and extremism. The economic model we wish to have is one in which results are measured in terms of the positive effect they have on social reality, including strong ties and a sustainable income; an economy that contributes to developing individuals and their culture in the context of belonging to a group; and the balance between personal roots of identification and its green branches and ability to renew.

We desire an economy that can support the pillars of civilisation, one that nurtures the arts, and instils good values and ethics in its citizens. Are these things not the true wealth of nations? Are they not inherently important to the real obligations of an economy throughout history? Therefore, our view of investment and foreign investors in Sharjah goes well beyond just material implications. Investment is a bridge to a balanced and mutual cultural exchange, and a bridge to the sciences, knowledge and experience.

Foreign investment is not only a method of achieving personal economic goals, but it is also a partner in creating sustainable economic and social development, developing knowledge, fostering the economy and expanding beyond self-reliance. It is a key resource for enhancing economic diversity and national income. We offer our partners a safe investment environment, world-class infrastructure, and a legislative system that protects investors and their investments. This is merely an expression of what we feel is our duty as hosts to ensure this partnership successfully achieves its economic, social, and cultural goals and targets.