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DUBAI: (Arab News ) Speakers at the World Government Summit (WGS) 2017 that kicked off in Dubai on Sunday expressed their concerns over the growing protectionist sentiments around the world, particularly in the US.
“Whatever its size or power, no country today can exist autonomously,” said President of Senegal Macky Sall.
“It would be a mistake to fall back on our own economies because economies are interdependent. Capital, goods and people are constantly moving from one country to another and rules are needed to protect these investments,” President Sall added.
The comments were made at a plenary session entitled “The Value of Trade, Growing Economies, Improving Lives” on the first day the 5th World Government Summit (WGS) 2017. Moderated by international journalist Richard Quest, the panelists included President Sall and Sultan Bin Sulayem, group chairman and CEO, DP World.
On the predicted decline of globalization, Bin Sulayem said, “I believe that these anti-globalization sentiments are a phase and I do not think this will affect our business in the perceived manner.”
On fair trade, President Sall said, “The economies of the US and Africa are not the same. Trade policies need to be adopted to the levels of development and there should be an approved system of rules governing these policies.”
The panelists also highlighted the importance of Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs).
Bin Sulayem said: “In our business, the biggest danger is the inefficiencies in supply chain. We need to have better infrastructure to connect the Port of Dakar into the many landlocked countries in Africa. This is where I see an opportunity for growth, and is something that the public sector not the private sector can do on its own. We need to witness transparency and good governance from African countries to qualify for safe investment in infrastructure.”
President Sall added: “There are several African countries that are landlocked and they need more interconnectivity with the ports and the markets. This foreign investment can be developed in Africa through Public-Private partnerships.”
Speaking on the newly launched strategy agency that focuses on a plan for Emerging Senegal, President Sall said: “Our strategy is based on three different pillars that are centered around structurally transforming the economy through infrastructure, energy and agriculture in order to achieve inclusive growth, while focusing on the state and role of law. We have been able to achieve over 2.6 percent growth in 2015-16 and hope that we will be able to share this strategy with others as well.”
Bin Sulayem also discussed the relative stagnation in world trade by stressing that over 75 percent of DP World’s business growth is in emerging markets. He said: “What we need to do is to remove inefficiencies. Today if I see 1 percent growth in the gross domestic product (GDP) of Senegal, for example, it translates to the number of containers being transported there multiplied by three!”
Both speakers predicted that the current slow down in globalization was a temporary phenomenon and expressed interest in enhancing trade operations with each other, as well as other developed and emerging countries across the globe.