UN summit will focus on industry

AL AIN // The head of the United Nation’s Industrial Development Organisation (Unido) said yesterday that the recent turmoil in China’s financial markets and the slump in oil prices should not affect the agenda for next year’s manufacturing and industrialisation summit in Abu Dhabi.

Unido’s director general, Li Yong, together with Saeed Al Mansoori, UAE’s economy minister, were kicking off a “roadshow” yesterday in Al Ain to promote next year’s jointly sponsored Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit, the first of which will be held in Abu Dhabi.

A tour of major cities in the United States, UK, Germany and China is planned to push the summit’s agenda of fostering industrialisation in developing countries, and especially partnerships between the public and private sectors.

The promotion effort comes, however, after the recent shake-up in China that has seen the biggest devaluation of its currency in decades, and a sharp slowing in expected economic growth, especially in its manufacturing sector.

World markets have been highly volatile in recent weeks after Chinese equities fell dramatically. Commodities have been especially hard hit, including oil prices which fell to their lowest levels since early 2009 before recovering some lost ground in the biggest one-day rally since the 1990s. Continued volatility is expected.

The developments in China have been brewing for some time, and their impact on world trade patterns likely will be weighing on the minds of manufacturing executives attending next year’s summit, Mr Li conceded.

“I believe companies coming here [for next year’s summit] likely will be touching upon trade and global market issues,” he said. “But we want to mainly focus on the agenda of inclusive and sustainable industrial development.”

The UAE’s economy minister, Mr Al Mansoori, agreed the intention of the summit is to bring together top private sector manufacturing executives with public sector bureaucrats, as well as academics and financiers, to find viable projects in the developing world that will help germinate innovation through manufacturing.

The event yesterday was held at Strata’s manufacturing facility near Al Ain International Airport to underline the type of development the summit is to promote.

Strata, part of Mubadala, is an aerospace design and manufacturing outfit that was formed five years ago and is a major supplier to, among others, Boeing. While it doesn’t report financial results separately, its chief executive, Badr Al Olama, said the company is expected to be breaking even by 2017.

Also attending the Al Ain roadshow launch was Alpha Condé, president of uinea, who signed a deal with Unido to promote industrial research in the West African republic.

“Developing economies have to have the courage to move away from what they know and grasp the opportunity to develop something new. By being in this aerospace factory today I can say that the UAE has been rewarded for its courage,” Mr Condé said.


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