Synergy of economies [Archives:2005/907/Viewpoint]

December 29 2005

The recent Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in Abu Dhabi proved a success by all standards. Not only did it reflect much greater harmony between the six partner countries, it also concluded with practical steps forward. It is true that each of those countries are economically well off, but the synergy resulting from the cooperation between all of them together would prove tremendous. I wouldn't be surprised in hearing that the common currency project is up and running by 2010 as planned. Almost all of the barriers standing against such progress, such as Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's struggle with the WTO, have been eliminated. Although politically speaking the GCC countries may not have the same stance relating to certain issues of the region, and even worldwide and in some issues they seem to be going haphazard, yet the economic harmony seems promising.

Having such a strong economic power in the region sounds good. It would automatically enhance the economy of weaker countries in the region, such as Yemen. This is a natural consequence because it would be important for the Gulf countries to have stable neighbours. Otherwise the Yemeni people who are suffering from many economic problems would consequently unload their burden in their neighbours land, one way or the other. However, the commitment displayed by the GCC countries to enhancing Yemen's economic is unwavering. Something that all the Yemeni people, especially the private sector duly appreciate. This is the very reason the Asian South-South cooperations and the D-8 Countries Cooperation exist. Economically powerful Asian countries realised that their strength is incomplete until the countries of the region are doing relatively if not equally well. This is why, for example, during the 1998 Asian crises, the region worked together and prioritized aid from and to the Asian countries rather than from the west or other international monetary institutions such as the World Bank.

It took more than a decade since the establishment of the Council in 1981 for the gulf countries to come around their differences and stand on common grounds. However, the way from this point onwards can only be forward. The only fear is that this collation would be influenced by political disturbances. For example, the dispute that took place between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia earlier this year when the former joined the U.S.A without consulting with the other GCC countries, an issue that led to internal friction in the union for sometime. This means that the GCC countries should make it a point to stand together and stick to their union in spite of political or cultural differences. In all cases the GCC countries have a very good chance at succeeding at doing so, because of the similarities in orientation and cultural backgrounds. Good luck for the coming plans of the GCC, and let us hope this is a real “quantum leap” like never before.