Conditions for investment conference [Archives:2007/1034/Opinion]

March 19 2007

Mohammed Al-Teraiqi
Glancing at the most recent statement released by Gulf Cooperation Council Secretary-General Abdurrahman Al-Atteyah, who has declared that more than a thousand investment, trade and economic firms and VIPs from GCC member states have been invited to the Investment Opportunity Exploration Conference in Yemen, compelled me to recollect my previous article, “Gulf's Yemen Amid Political Hindrance.”

In the article, I directly and indirectly affirmed the reality of mutual interest and public advantage, which are greater than partnership, and here I mean unity. Al-Atteyah described the IOEC as an important economic event and a crucial step toward developing and enhancing the Gulf-Yemeni partnership.

What a kind of partnership can we expect from investment and trade companies operating based on the rates of interest and loss, as well as expenses and revenues? What is the reality of such considerations for Yemen? If the oil industry constitutes the highest revenue for Gulf companies, do such companies take into account investment in areas of agriculture and other industries?

Anyone is bound to believe that each company or organization has its own specialization and career. Thus, I say that admitting Yemen into the Gulf bloc requires concerned authorities to bear in mind that concepts of economic jurisprudence necessitate determination in order for such partnership to succeed.

This partnership must be connected with marketing components, in addition to other considerations of the partnership parties, who, in my opinion, should hurry to link human development with the concepts and will of political unity.

The matter causes me to insist on the concept of political hindrance and qualification based on numerous considerations, most of which disappear or melt in the broader concept. This makes me recollect the establishment of a joint center in the Gulf states.

Although a human development project, it has been subjected to internal crises due to strong discussion of viewpoints and absence of a third thought included in the policy of some institutions, wherein personal interests and gains were given precedence over development concepts and human performance, thereby allowing the considerations of narrow income interests to prevail within the environment.

If the investment concepts Yemen needs today don't go beyond this frame, we'll achieve nothing except widening the gap of division. It's unwise to pursue a policy of holding the stick in the middle in order to alleviate the pressures of the people's will, who claim their simplest rights to live under the umbrella of unify and achieve the Arab dream, particularly in the Arabian Peninsula.

I don't bear in mind the idea to thwart; rather, I uphold the concept of qualification, which is based on accurate diagnosis before prescribing medicine, specifically if the matter needing qualification requires previous components, such as a comprehensive economic development vision.

I'm the first to raise my hand in support of the April conference for the sake of this partnership. While I don't hold a different viewpoint than Al-Atteyah regarding the conference's value, I do back steps of activation and cooperation toward true development, which involves both the criteria of political allegiance and historical loyalty in order for us to talk about the achievement in a real manner.

I don't hesitate to raise this question: If it has been made clear to conference participants that Yemen is a land of real investment, does this mean the next step will be declaring Yemen's entry into the GCC? You all know the answer.

From my experience, political dimensions and the fact that friendly ties are governed by external will govern the concept of development achievement. Thus, understanding the concept of joint Arab interest, represented by Yemen's admission to the Gulf bloc, necessitates a voluntary Gulf will and discussing the issue from a positive viewpoint. This is the first point for Gulf investors, who are controlled by the political will of their states.

Again, we say that Yemen is a real part of our organization (the GCC) and eligible to perform its duties in a better manner. We need to end any Yemen-Gulf relations with globalization and neutralize such procedure from our region's political and economic viewpoints.

Additionally, we must rectify our internal moves before reflecting on the external ones. Such talk is confined by artificial limits, but from an Arab perspective. It is talk about an internal affair, which requires a real vision to be presented to concerned parties in Yemeni-Gulf style.

Mohammed Al-Teraiqi is the main researcher and general supervisor of the Middle East Research Center for Human Development and Rights.

Source: Al-Thawrah daily