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 Secretary General Khouja as key note speaker
at the Austrian Parliament, 5 December 2011


Great potential for Arab-European relations

On 5 December 2011, the Secretary General of the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce Dipl.¬Eng. Mouddar KHOUJA was invited to give a key note speech at the Austrian Parliament during Meeting of the Committee on Energy, Environment and Water of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean (EUROMED).

The Meeting, organised by Prof. Stefan SCHENNACH, the Head of Parliamentary Assembly and Delegate of the Austrian Federal Council, was convened at Austrian Parliament in Vienna under participation of 39 international delegates from European and Mediterranean countries. During the one-day meeting program, the participants were discussing a broad range of topics covering issues of environment, energy and water supply as well as green technology and waste management.


The Secretary General of the AACC, Dipl.-Eng. Mouddar KHOUJA gave his key note speech about “Euro-Arab & Arab-Arab Relations” during the session focused on the reduction of barriers in international cooperation in the areas of mobility, energy, communication and transport networks.

In his expert presentation, he presented to the interested audience areas of opportunities in the cooperation between Europe and the Arab countries, e.g. in agriculture and food industries, irrigation, transportation, IT and telecom, education, health services, manufacturing, oil and petro-chemical industries, banking and tourism, and named recent strategic developments - for example the GAFTA agreement - as a potential step to a future Arab Common Market. A particular focus of the presentation was drawn on the great challenges of Arab-Arab economic relations, as well as the considerable economic potential between the Arab countries and Europe promoted and supported by different agreements such as the MEDA I & II and the EIB financial initiatives, or other multilateral or bilateral agreements.

The Secretary General supported his presentation with current facts, figures and numbers on trade volume, financial contracts and energy capacities installed in the Arab countries and concluded his speech with an outlook on the potentials and challenges between European-Arab Economic relations, where he pointed – among other topics - on the necessity of the implementation of EUROMED initiatives to bring partnerships into business, and the urge for more transparency for the national investment funds. 





AACC participation at
Experts’ Group Meeting & Round Table
organized by the Arab Program Unit of the UNIDO,
Vienna, 24/29 November 2011


The Arab Program of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization "UNIDO" held a Round Table Forum for a group of experts under the title of “Youth Participation in the Overall Economic Development in the Arab Region” on November 24/29, 2011. The participants surveyed the challenges facing Arab youth, the opportunities, and the role that can be played by the UN agency in opening up a promising future to Arab manpower.

The Secretary General of the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce, Engineer Mouddar Khouja, pointed out in his presentation, the economic situation in the Arab countries, noting that one of the most important reasons that led to the outbreak of the recent revolutions was the deteriorating economic situation suffered by the people in the rebellious states. Khouja cited the economic state in Egypt, quoting the results of a recent poll conducted by the Institute of GFK (a German market research institute), that the economic problems came in second place among the causes of the youth revolution against the Egyptian regime in the past. Only 24% of the participants in the survey said that the cause was the economic situation, whereas administrative corruption occupied place one. Khouja pointed out that the economic situation presented itself again strongly after the revolution. According to the survey, it was only after the onset of the revolution that the number of those who believed that the economic problems were the cause went up to 43%, and those who believed that administrative corruption was the cause went down to 8%, thus bringing all down to the economic difficulties and their reflection on all the walks of life. The 43% of the participants set safety and security on Egypt’s streets as their first priority, then the improvement of the economic situation and the reduction of unemployment. 57% believe that the economic boom will come in the period of 1 to 5 years.


The Secretary General of the Austro Arab Chamber of Commerce presented some reasons that induce the high rate of unemployment in the Arab countries such as the population growth that is disproportional to the economic growth. He said that the population in the Arab world is doubling every three decades, while the doubling of population in Western countries occurs every 114 years. He went on saying that the existing gap between the private sector and education in all its sectors, and the lack of partnership or coordination between the private economic institutions and the education authorities is another reason for the explosion of unemployment in the Arab countries. In addition to the failure of developmental programs that take care of social affairs inside the Arab societies and the concomitant growth of the economy that is not suitable.

Khouja referred to the contradictions in the job markets of a number of Arab countries where the need and hiring of foreign crafts is increasing and at the same time the rate of unemployment on the local basis, too. As an example he mentioned the Sultanate of Oman and Bahrain where the rate of unemployment reached 15% and in Saudi Arabia 10%. In Libya, before the revolution, the rate of unemployment was 30%. Khouja lead this problem back to the alienation of education and vocational training of the countries from the needs of the countries for economic development. Education in the Arab countries is going in one direction whereas development is going in the opposite direction. This is what leads to what is known as “structural unemployment”. The responsibility in this, according to Khouja, goes back to the failure of the legislature in many a country in molding legal structures that enhance investment and the generation of major projects in the private sector in addition to the bureaucratic measures in dealing with these projects.

Proposing suggestions for the solution of this problem the Secretary General called upon the Arab countries to follow the example of other countries that were able to master unemployment and reduce the rate to 3.9% (as in Austria) the real rate being 6.9%. He said that Austria had the lowest rate of unemployment in Europe where the average is 9.7%. He also pointed out that Austria depends on social partnership to guarantee the issuance of legislations that ensure social harmony. He elaborated on this point explaining that this partnership is based on the following: the legislator asks for the advice of the competent ministries in labor, economics and social affairs in addition to the NGOs such as the economic chambers, the federal economic chambers, the general unions and the representatives of civil servants. Not a single law that deals with labor or social issues is passed without being discussed into the smallest detail by these groups mentioned earlier. This eventually leads to the passing of laws that serve the needs of the labor market and the outcome is a balance between employers and employees.
Khouja recommended that businessmen and owners of economic institutions find a kind of common cooperation basis to support and promote educational and vocational training, especially in larger companies. The companies should become a part of the educational system and play a greater role. He noted that the educational system in Austria is based on the regular schools and other professional and specialized higher institutes and universities; and although this same system exists in many Arab countries, it is either weak or far from the labor market and its requirements.

Khouja urged that there is a dire need for a practical experience represented by the managers of companies and economic institutions. This experience has to be integrated in the educational system and in order to provide the functional and applied side to the students so as to enhance their practical development alongside with the theoretical part of education.

Khouja elaborated, furthermore, that the establishment of economic units based on scientific foundations to keep pace with the actual requirements of the labor market and to develop the system of personnel management by creating units for the development of scientific and technical innovations and the development of procurement mechanisms, in order to complete the sustainable value added chain, of would be one practical solution.
Khouja provided the example of creative Arab projects; the Qatari Silatech foundation. This foundation works on creating job and innovation opportunities by operating through its several institutions to facilitate work and projects for the Arab youth in offering and concentrating strategically on training according to the needs of the market.
Finally, Khouja pointed out an idea of Counselor Nabil Kuzbari, the Arab President of the Austro Arab Chamber of Commerce that he had in the nineties: the establishment of an Arab “Supermarket” called “Our Goods” that sells Arab products in the Arab countries. This would open many job opportunities and for investment and inter- trade exchange between these countries.



SG KHOUJA presents
the “International Economic Informational Platform” (IEIP)
to the Federation of GCC Chambers (FGCCC) in Doha, Qatar,
21 November 2011

The idea of the “International Economic Informational Platform” is welcome

The idea of the “International Economic Informational Platform”, initiated and proposed by the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce was widely welcomed by the Federation of Chambers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) during a workshop hosted by it in the Qatari capital Doha on November 21, 2011. Eng. Mouddar KHOUJA, the Secretary General of the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce (AACC) briefed the members on the details of this database.

SG KHOUJA had travelled to Doha upon an invitation from the Federation of GCC Chambers to participate in a workshop on the exchange of experiences among the member chambers. Here, Mr. KHOUJA presented a paper titled “The International Economic Informational Platform (IEIP)” to be used as an international economic information database for the Gulf Chambers and the Joint-Arab Chambers. He pointed out the importance of the existence of an information and data base at the disposal of all the Arab and Joint Chambers that wish to achieve the utmost degree of communication between them. It will also facilitate work for businessmen and investors in the Arab and Western countries due to the vast information base that this platform has regarding the interests of those involved in trade and economy. Mr. Khouja presented the quality standards of the project and the schedule of its implementation.

The Secretaries General welcomed the idea of the project and recommended to take the necessary concrete steps for its implementation.

The project was also presented in detail to the Federation's Secretariat, and it was decided to form a committee of specialists in the field of information for follow-up and coordination with the Secretary General of the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce for completion of the final features in order to launch this project.

On another note, this visit to Qatar comprised a visit of the Secretary-General Mr. KHOUJA to the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Khalid AL-ATTIYAH, along with Dr. Wolfgang PENZIAS, the Austrian Commercial Counselor to a number of Gulf states, where they discussed the preparations of the upcoming visit of the Federal President of Austria, H.E. Dr. Heinz FISCHER to Qatar in December 2011. Dr. Fischer will be accompanied by a high-ranking economic delegation that the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce had coordinated together with the Society for Austro-Arab Relations and the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber. During this meeting the anticipated initial opening of the Austrian Embassy in Doha, and the Office of the Austrian Trade Commission there were discussed.

The visit also included several meetings with a number of officials at the economic institutions in Qatar; some of these had been organized by Dr. PENZIAS. Mr. KHOUJA met with the Assistant Director General of QATAR STEEL, as well as the Director General of QATAR HOLDING and the Director General of the INTERNATIONAL FAIRS & PROMOTIONS QATAR (IFP Qatar), Mr. George AYACHE, who invited the Secretary General Mr. KHOUJA to participate in an exhibition that is to take place in Doha under the auspices of the Qatari Prime Minister in September 2012.

During these visits, SG KHOUJA availed himself of the opportunity to praise the existing cooperation between the Federal Austrian Economic Chamber - and in particular the Commercial Counselor Dr. Wolfgang PENZIAS and his deputy Mr. Gerd BOMMER – and the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce.


SG Khouja participates in Austrian
delegation to Iraq, 15-17 November 2011

From the right: Dr. Michael SPINDELEGGER, Austrian Vice-Chancellor and Minister European and International Affairs – Sen. Dr. Richard SCHENZ, President AACC and Vice-President Austrian Federal Economic Chamber – H.E. Mr. Hoshyar ZEBARI, Foreign Minister Iraq

New prospects for economic relations between Austria and Iraq

During the visit by an Austrian high-level delegation of political and economic representatives to the Republic of Iraq from 15 until 16 November 2011, the signing of a number of economic agreements, which promise to open new windows of relations between the two countries in both economy and trade, was agreed after an absence of economic exchange of delegations between the two sides for almost a decade.

The delegation, headed by the Austrian Federal Vice-President and Foreign Minister Dr. Michael SPINDELEGGER, comprised of senior political and economic participants, including representatives of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber and the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce, and resulted in an agreement to sign six contracts for economic cooperation worth up to USD 60 million.

In this context, the President of the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce and Vice-President of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, Senator Dr. Richard SCHENZ, stressed on the interest paid by Austrian investors and companies to enter the promising Iraqi market, ranking among third place after the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

During the Austrian-Iraqi Joint Economic Forum, which was held in cooperation with the National Investment Commission in the capital Baghdad, Dr. SCHENZ emphasized the fact that Austria was in the vanguard of European countries that had established economic ties with in 1955, when Iraq witnessed the opening of the first commercial representation of Austria there.

The visit of the high-level Austrian delegation, which also included investors and representatives of major Austrian companies, came after an interruption of exchange of economic and trade delegations between the two countries for some ten years.

The Secretary General of the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce, Eng. Mouddar KHOUJA, was also part of the Austrian delegation; in his interviews and statements to a number of print and audio-visual Iraqi media, he stressed on the importance of such visits in general and this visit in particular to support and strengthen economic relations, which will be accompanied by an increase in the volume of trade exchange between the two countries during the coming years.


Dr. Richard SCHENZ, President AACC (left) and Dipl-Ing. Mouddar KHOUJA, Secretary General AACC participating the Iraqi-Austrian Economic Forum

SG KHOUJA praised the guarantees provided from the Iraqi side, which would lead to motivate Austrian companies to enter strongly into the Iraqi market and to complete projects that contribute to the reconstruction of Iraq. In this context, KHOUJA draw the attention on the Austrian companies participating in the delegation, which are looking forward to the implementation of projects in several fields, especially projects on infrastructure, telecommunications, water treatment, recycling of garbage, oil, and agriculture.

During his stay in Baghdad, SG KHOUJA also met with a number of officials from the Federation of Iraqi Chambers of Commerce, the Baghdad Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Arab Union for Leather Industries.

The city of Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, was the second stop of the Austrian delegation's visit, where a large number of Austrian and Iraqi economists participated again in another economic conference.

In Erbil, SG KHOUJA met the Member of the Board of Naynawa Province and Advisor to the President of the Kurdistan region for Economic Affairs, Sheikh Ismail BARZANJI; they discussed ways to support and promote the entry of Austrian companies and investments to the region, particularly in the areas of building materials and the cable industry, sanitation and recycling of garbage.

Sheikh Ismail BARZANJI, Advisor to the President of the Kurdistan region for Economic Affairs (right) meeting with Dipl.-Ing. Mouddar KHOUJA, Secretary General AACC

It is noteworthy that the volume of economic cooperation between Austria and Iraq amounted to some EUR 250 million in 2011; likewise, the rates of Austrian exports to Iraq increased by 170% in the same year.

Following are recent news from selected Arab countries:


Investment in infrastructure and industry boosting GDP up to 4%
Global Arab Network - In a tumultuous year for several North African countries, increased revenue from hydrocarbons exports and substantial financial reserves sheltered Algeria from much of the region’s uncertainty. GDP expanded by 2.9% in 2011 on the back of rising global oil prices, which fuelled ambitious public investment in infrastructure and local industry. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts GDP will continue to expand by 3.3% in 2012 and up to 4% in 2013, Global Arab Network reports according to OBG.

The government’s focus in 2011 was to leverage rising hydrocarbons revenue to diversify the economy and improve living standards. The 2009-14 investment plan includes €222bn aimed at encouraging local business development, including support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), transportation and water infrastructure improvements, as well as education and housing projects.

The government revised the 2011 budget in May, increasing public spending by 25% from AD6.6trn (€64bn) to AD8.3trn (€80.5bn) to provide additional support for SMEs and training programmes aimed at reducing youth unemployment. The new spending also includes subsidies on basic goods such as sugar, cooking oil and wheat, designed to ease consumer tension. Inflation has picked up in recent years from 4.9% in 2008 to a peak of 5.7% in 2009. While consumer inflation held steady at 3.9% in 2010-11, rising food prices sparked street protests in January last year.

In light of the Arab Spring, the government is making an effort to ensure food security and boost citizens’ purchasing power. In addition to subsidies, Algeria also imported a record 6.35m tonnes of wheat between January and October 2011, up 40% from the same period in 2010. With sustained high levels of government spending, inflation remains a potential risk in 2012. IMF estimates in September put inflation at 4.3% for 2012.

Source: Global Arab Network


Regaining Momentum – Looking to Better Times

Global Arab Network - Looking to better times in 2012 after a challenging 12 months that saw Bahrain’s economy lose some of its momentum, the Kingdom is seeing signs that several key sectors are moving quickly to recover lost ground in the New Year.

For Bahrain, 2011 will likely be remembered for the protests that broke out in mid-February and resurfaced at times throughout the year. The demonstrations weakened business sentiment and investor confidence, both crucial to the island Kingdom’s economic success. The government has launched a package of reforms and increased spending on housing and social measures in response.

While final figures have yet to be compiled, Bahrain’s economic performance may fall short of expectations held at the beginning of 2011, when hopes were that GDP would top the 4% increase from the previous year.

Though some of the momentum lost in the early months of 2011 was regained, with GDP increasing by 2.4% year-on-year in the third quarter (well up on the 1.1% posted in the second three-month term), Bahrain’s economy will likely post modest growth for 2011 overall, having contracted by 1.3% in the opening quarter of the year, at the height of the protests. In late November, the Ministry of Finance predicted GDP would expand by between 1.6 and 1.7% in 2011, building to 4.5% in 2012.

Other state officials are even more confident that this year will see a strong performance, with the heads of the Economic Development Board and the Bahrain Development Bank both predicting GDP will expand by 5% in 2012. While not all analysts are as upbeat over prospects for the Kingdom’s economy in 2012, most do expect a return to solid growth, as long as oil prices remain steady.

Bahrain’s push is being helped by oil’s strong performance, with international prices hovering around the $100 per barrel mark as 2011 ended, up some 8% from trading prices at the beginning of last year. Better still, after years of gradual production decline, the Kingdom is again raising output, thanks to enhanced extraction methods and a stepping up of the programme to drill new wells.

According Abdul Hussain bin Ali Mirza, the minister of energy, at the end of December, production hit 271,300 barrels per day (bpd) in November, well in excess of projected flow. With this increased output set to flow into 2012, Bahrain will be better placed to fund planned capital works projects and social development schemes.

The government’s cause will also be helped by low inflation. Throughout 2011, inflation remained in check, coming in at less than 1% for much of the year – less than half the 2010 total – though it peaked at 0.9% in October. While consumer inflation may edge up in 2012, partly as a result of wage increases and higher payments to families granted by the state, it is expected that any rise in the cost of living will be moderate in 2012.

Indicators that the economy is gaining momentum include bank lending again on the up, helping to support local businesses and boost growth. Lending increased by 12.9% over the first 10 months of 2011, after rising by a modest 3.5% between January and June.


Political and economic reforms to restore business confidence

Global Arab Network - Political and economic reforms promised for 2012 are expected to improve Jordan’s business environment and restore confidence after a challenging year.

Jordan will enter the new year with a new government and a new economic plan, though the administration of Prime Minister Awn Khasawneh, which won a vote of confidence in early December, will have to confront many of the same issues faced by its predecessors. Khasawneh replaced Marouf Al Bakhit, who had his mandate revoked by King Abdullah II in mid-October after failing to fast track social, political and economic reforms, Global Arab Network reports according to OBG.

In the incoming cabinet’s policy statement, Khasawneh said his administration was committed to establishing fiscal stability through cutting the budget deficit and public debt, stimulating investment, boosting employment opportunities by replacing guest workers with Jordanian nationals, and supporting the production and service sectors.

Along with political reforms to strengthen democracy at all levels, the prime minister told local media that tackling corruption, as well as redressing economic and social inequality, would be a major priority.

However, with a near record fiscal deficit, the government has limited resources to fund economic stimulus packages. This will be made more challenging by the recent decision by Standard & Poor’s (S&P) to lower the country’s long-term local currency sovereign debt rating from BB+ to BB.

In a statement issued in late November, the ratings agency said it based its shift on the threat of external shocks from commodity price inflation and the fallout from regional instability, which has resulted in slower economic growth and larger fiscal deficits.

Source: Global Arab Network



Government spending $ 70 billion


Global Arab Network - Kuwait can look back on 2011 as a year characterised by higher than expected oil revenues and developmental progress despite domestic political wrangling and turmoil in the global market, Global Arab Network reports according to OBG.

As OPEC’s third largest producer, pumping around 2.9m barrels of oil per day, Kuwait benefitted from rising demand bolstered by the loss of Libyan exports to conflict as well as global supply concerns. Crude oil prices increased 10% in 2011 after climbing 15% in 2010, with Brent-oil futures for February settling at $108.09 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange in the same month.

Confidence in oil prices was reflected in an exceptional budget for 2011-12, announced in January of last year, with projected spending of KD19.4bn ($69.5bn), a 19% jump from the previous year. Though seen as ambitious, last month monitoring firms reported that a budget surplus in the first six months of the 2011-12 fiscal year would reach at least KD8.9bn ($31.9bn). The 2011-12 budget was based on a conservative oil price of $60 per barrel.
One focus has been so-called mega-projects, on which the government has planned an outlay of KD37bn ($132.6bn) by 2014. Kuwait’s Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC) in June approved two long-stalled oil initiatives worth more than KD8bn ($28.7bn). The newspaper Al Jarida said the SPC approved the building of a new refinery and the upgrading of two of three existing refineries to raise output and produce cleaner products

In November, the Ministry of Public Works confirmed that another 300 projects were under way at an annual cost of KD500m ($1.8bn), as part of the State Development Strategy, according to the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA). In an interview with KUNA, Fadhel Safar, the minister of public works and the minister of state for municipal affairs, explained that planned initiatives included “several mega and vital projects, such as construction of a passenger terminal at the airport, securing treated water for diverse usage, Mubarak Al Kabeer Port and developing the islands of Boubyan and Failaka”.

However, market research firms have stressed the need to tackle the debts of investment companies to get vast infrastructure development plans back on track. Bloomberg reported in December that about 10% of bank lending in Kuwait is to investment companies, some of which have defaulted since the onset of the global financial crisis, hampering the $125bn development plan.


Source: Global Arab Network



Morocco’s economy - Further healthy expansion in 2012

(Global Arab Network) - Morocco’s economy continued to perform strongly in the third quarter of 2011, with GDP growth slightly lower than in previous quarters but still strongly outpacing its European neighbours to the north. Inflation was also down on recent months to very low levels, Global Arab Network reports according to OBG.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has forecast further healthy expansion in 2012, saying that average GDP growth could reach as much as 6% in the medium term. The leading party in the country’s new coalition government, the Justice and Development Party (PJD), is targeting 7% growth. Challenges for 2012 include tackling the country’s rising subsidy bill and fiscal deficit (which the PJD hopes to do in part by widening the tax base) and keeping growth on track in the face of economic problems in the EU, Morocco’s largest trading partner.

The Moroccan High Planning Commission estimates economic growth in the third quarter of 2011 stood at 4.1%, slightly below the first and second quarters when growth stood at 4.9% and 4.2%, respectively. The fall in growth reflected a comparative slowdown in the non-agricultural economy, which the commission estimated to have fallen from an expansion of 4.7% in the first quarter to 4.2% in the second and third quarters, and in the mining and tourism industries in particular.

There are also signs of a second consecutive quarterly contraction in the construction and public works sector, though based on survey results the High Planning Commission expects a steady end to the year for the industry. Moroccan GDP growth in 2011, which the IMF expects to be among the region’s highest at 4.5-5%, was helped by plentiful rainfall that boosted the 2010-11 agricultural season. The Moroccan Finance Ministry also expects GDP growth for 2011 as a whole to be roughly 5%.

Tackling the deficit is a top priority for Morocco’s new government, formed in the wake of the PJD’s election victory on November 25. Abdelilah Benkirane, the new prime minister, said shortly after the elections that the PJD intended to adopt the budget being worked on by the outgoing administration, albeit with several changes. The party aims to eventually increase average annual GDP growth to 7%, lower the national unemployment rate by 2% and reduce the budget deficit to 3% of GDP. In order to achieve the latter target, the party aims to reform the country’s subsidy system and to widen the tax base by, for example, raising taxes on luxury goods and empty properties.

Source: Global Arab Network



Increased investor interest in the coming years

(Global Arab Network) - With forecasts predicting solid economic growth and a political system that remained stable in spite of unrest rocking much of the Middle East, Oman looks set to see increased investor interest in the coming years, Global Arab Network reports according to OBG.

GDP reached OR22.2bn ($57.67bn) in 2010, amounting to a 23.44% increase over the 2009 figure. This was particularly encouraging going into 2011, showing the Sultanate had recovered from the 22.6% year-on-year loss it suffered in 2009. The trend is set to continue, with forecasts from October predicting 5.6% growth for 2011.

The Sultanate has also been successful in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) in recent years. According to the Omani government’s “Foreign Investment Report 2005-09”, FDI increased from OR1.59bn ($4.13bn) in 2005 to OR5.06bn ($13.14bn) in 2009, the latest year for which government information is available.

Oman’s economy has long been dependent on hydrocarbons, and activities in that sector accounted for 46.45% of GDP in 2010. However, economic diversification was the focus in 2011. The government has acknowledged the need to continue moving towards a knowledge-based, service-oriented economy.
Further successes were seen in the banking sector, with Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said issuing a decree in early May allowing for the establishment of Islamic financial institutions in the country. As the Sultanate had been the only Gulf country without Islamic banks, many financial institutions were eagerly awaiting the chance to offer sharia-compliant services.

With OR150m ($388.6m) in capital, Bank Nizwa will be Oman’s first fully fledged Islamic bank, expected to open in early 2012. Additionally, Bank Al Izz, which is currently a lender under formation, was awarded a licence in August to operate as an Islamic bank. Ali Hamdan Al Raisi, the vice-president of the central bank, told Reuters that month it could be several years until the bank becomes operational.

Further expansion is forecast in other sectors, with tourism a particular area of focus. Revenue in the sector is expected to increase by more than 70% over the coming decade, to $7.5bn, up from an expected $4.4bn in 2011, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.

With Muscat chosen as the Arab Tourism Capital for 2012 by the Arab Tourism Ministers Council, it is likely the sector will show a further revenue boost in the coming year, particularly given its relative stability in a time of regional unrest.

Source: Global Arab Network



Qatar booming: Economy growing at break-neck speed

(Global Arab Network) - Having ended 2011 on a high, with its economy growing at break-neck speed, inflation under control and a stepped-up programme of infrastructure investments being rolled out, Qatar is well placed to continue similar growth this year. Yet with the spectre of recession hanging heavy in the air in Europe, and a scaling back of expectations in some major Asian economies, the country may find that in 2012 many of its achievements are consolidated rather than eclipsed, Global Arab Network reports according to OBG.

Final figures have yet to be collated, but by any standards 2011 was a stellar year for the Qatari economy, with GDP rising by between 15% and 19%, according to various estimates, with even the low end of the scale being a faster rate than any other country in the world.

However, a recent report released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that, while the outlook for the country’s economy is positive, the real GDP growth rate is projected to moderate to 6% this year, a third of what the fund estimated the 2011 rate to be.

This slowdown is not a result of any structural weaknesses in the Qatari economy, the IMF said in its report issued in mid-December, but was instead due to the country having completed its latest cycle on expansion for its hydrocarbons industry, which has now reached the production levels set for it under Doha’s long-term economic development plans.

Importantly, for the government’s programme to diversify the economy away from a dependence on energy, the outlook for the oil and gas sector is increasingly positive. While the hydrocarbons component of the economy will expand, with growth estimated at around 3% next year, the non-hydrocarbons sector is forecast to grow by up to 9%.

Much of this predicted growth is set to come from investments in infrastructure and social services facilities, with plans having been announced that up to $150bn will be spent on such developments in the next five years or so. While some of this money will be directed towards the requirements of hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup, a large slice will be allocated to strengthen Qatar’s transport and logistics backbone. These investments will be a driving force for the economy for some years to come.

Source: Global Arab Network



Three new mobile operators entering Saudi Arabia

(Global Arab Network) - Saudi Arabia’s telecommunications sector is to get a major shake up this year, with up to three new mobile operators entering the mobile phone segment, though the route they will be taking will be very different from that followed by the three existing service providers, Global Arab Network reports according to OBG.

On December 7, a spokesman for the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) – which serves as the Kingdom’s telecommunications regulator – told the Reuters news agency that three mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) licences would be issued in 2012.

The move heralds a different approach for the Saudi telecoms industry, one that is seen as marking a new era in competitiveness and maturity instead of the sector’s focus being on rolling out infrastructure. Under the MVNO model, operators lease excess network capacity from existing telecoms service providers, rather than investing in their own dedicated infrastructure.
Generally, MVNO operators target specific niches of a wider market, rather than seeking to carve out a large segment of the whole. While the model has been in use for some time in other parts of the world, notably in Europe, to date Oman is the only Gulf state that has licensed MVNOs in operation.

Source: Global Arab Network




Cautious optimism – Tunisia moving towards period of recovery

Global Arab Network - In spite of the economic turbulence brought about by Tunisia’s dramatic political transition earlier this year, there is growing room for cautious optimism that 2012 will bring a period of recovery for its somewhat shaken economy, Global Arab Network reports according to OBG.

The first month of the revolution is said to have cost the Tunisian economy more than $2bn, and in the following months, uncertainty dominated the country’s business environment. Foreign capital inflows dropped and visitor numbers fell precipitously. However, with an improved political outlook thanks to successful elections in October, interest in the country is growing again.

More crucially, Tunisia’s single-biggest trade and investment partner, the European Union, is also looking to provide increased funds to help underwrite the country’s medium and long-term growth prospects. As part of the Deauville partnership with the country, the European Investment Bank (EIB) committed a €140m loan promoting economic development in the country. The funds will go towards financing a large-scale industrial project by the Tunisian Chemicals Group in the phosphates industry, which makes up more than 2.6% of the country’s GDP, providing valuable additional export revenues.

As a result, thanks in large part to the improvement of inbound capital and additional financing, the World Bank expects the pace of economic activity in Tunisia to quicken, rising to 5% in 2013. The country’s 2012 economic draft budget predicts investment will increase by 18.4%, with the creation of 75,000 new jobs. The budget also identifies industry and construction as growing sectors. The Central Bank of Tunisia predicts a 4.5% growth rate for 2012, up from 1% in 2011.

It is possible, however, that another facet of Europe will do more to affect Tunisia’s economy as some concern had been expressed over potential fall-out from the economic crisis there. Exports to Europe provide Tunisia with 20% of its workforce – almost 320,000 jobs, and EU trading partners make up 80% of Tunisian foreign exchange, so the implications for the Tunisian economy are clear.

Indeed, lower growth prospects in the country’s main trading partner has already resulted in less demand for Tunisian products, according to local media. Growth rates for Tunisian exports to EU countries fell from 20.9% in the first half of 2011 to 15% in October 2011.

The past year has not been an easy one for Tunisia. However, with the elections having passed smoothly, and steadily increasing interest from investors, the focus can now be shifted to the implementation of a new and promising economic programme for 2012.(OBG)

Source: Global Arab Network



4% growth for many key sectors in Dubai

Global Arab Network - For Dubai, 2011 was a year of consolidation, with solid growth for many key economic sectors, the debt load of some of the emirate’s leading corporations sharply reduced and confidence growing apace , though concerns linger over how renewed economic slowdown elsewhere will impact the emirate, Global Arab Network reports according to OBG.

Though year-end figures have yet to be released, Dubai’s economy is expected to have posted growth of 4% or more for 2011, according to a recent report by the Saudi American Bank Group, mainly on the back of a strong performances by the trade and services sectors.

Over the past 12 months, leading corporate bodies, such as Dubai World, restructured their debts and worked towards trading their way out of difficulties lingering from the real estate market’s plunge in 2009. Though still carrying a debt burden (some estimates put the amount to be repaid in 2012 at more than $14bn), analysts believe the majority of this load will be met through internal cash resources and refinancing bonds held by local banks.

Though it has further diversified and strengthened its economy by rationalising investments, Dubai is still susceptible to any global downturn, as was the case in 2008 and 2009. With the financial, tourism and trade sectors among the emirate’s leading GDP contributors, a renewed bout of recession in Europe and elsewhere would undoubtedly have an impact on the local economy, though a greater resilience developed in recent years should help Dubai ride out any storms.

Indeed, despite the concerns over the global economy, Dubai appears to be looking at the New Year with confidence, with the government set to step up investments aimed at bolstering growth. Under the 2012 budget, approved by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in late December, 41% of all state expenditures will be directed towards infrastructure, transportation and economic development projects, with a further 29% to be spent on health care, education, housing and culture.

Source: Global Arab Network


The AACC is honoured to welcome its NEW MEMBERS from December 2011 until January 2012:

Chalabi Architekten & Partner ZT GmbH

Chalabi Architects develop site- and client specific solutions for design tasks encompassing all scales from furniture, interior and stage design, residential, public, mixed use and health care buildings as well as urban design and planning.The practice excels at the conceptual level, and carries out the detailing and completion of every project in association with a network of renowned engineering consultants. Chalabi Architects is a multi-lingual and international office which operates on a global level.

Chalabi Architekten & Partner ZT GmbH
A: Lindengasse 4/12, 1070 Vienna - AUSTRIA
T: +43 1 532 79 52-0 | F: +43 1 922 95 19
E: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it | W: www.chalabi.at 

PC Electric GesmbH

The PCE group is specialized in the production of industrial plugs and sockets, schuko socket outlets and switches and can offer a complete range of distribution boxes in rubber, metallic and thermoplastic.

PC Electric GesmbH
A: Diesseits 145, 4973 St. Martin im Innkreis - AUSTRIA
T: +43 (0) 7751 61 22 0 | F: +43 (0) 7751 69 69
E: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it | W: www.pcelectric.at

Wehdorn Architekten, Ziviltechniker GmbH

The Wehdorn Architects’ portfolio combines theoretical and practical work and focuses on the field of urban development (in particular in the preservation of old town centres), architecture and monument preservation. Other important facets are the secular use of historic church buildings and the field of membrane construction. Wehdorn Architects have made a major contribution to the interdisciplinary relationship between old and new in architecture, examples being revitalization projects such as the Hofburg and the Gasometers in Vienna or the Admont Monastery museums.

Wehdorn Architekten, Ziviltechniker GmbH
A: Schlossgasse 20, 1050 Vienna - AUSTRIA
T: +43 (1) 5440644 | F: +43 (1) 5444650
E: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  | W: www.wehdorn.at 

The AACC is pleased to circulate the following announcements
by its esteemed cooperation partners and members (English/German)


Neueste Informationen zu Emirates Flügen und Angeboten finden Sie hier.

Elisabeth Schmon
Sales Coordinator

Mahlerstrasse 12/6  | 1010 Vienna - Austria
Tel: +43 1 532 60 28-107 | Fax: +43 1 533 68 87
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   | www.emirates.at

Emirates goes double daily !
Ab sofort 13 Flüge pro Woche von Wien nach Dubai !


Gourmet Consult:

Gourmet Consult offers exquisite culinary services! For more information kindly see the folder and visit the website: www.egourmetshop.eu

GourmetConsult-consulting & trade GmbH
kantgasse 3/2, a-1010 vienna, austria
tel +43 1 523 07 87 - 27, fax +43 1 526 65 10,
email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it | www.egourmetshop.eu 


► N.A.B. GmbH

Die Firma "N.A.B. GmbH - Non alcoholic beverage" sucht Verstärkung für das Backoffice. Bei Interesse lesen Sie bitte die folgende Stellenausschreibung

Stefan Schuster
N.A.B. GmbH - Non alcoholic beverage
Gewerbepark 8 | A-4861 Schörfling am Attersee
Tel: +43 (0) 7662 22 803| Mobil: +43 (0) 676 466 11 18 | Fax: +43 (0) 7662 22 804
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it | http://www.halal-gold.com



Pressemitteilung "Mach mal BLAU mit Sitte Vienna" hier.

Marion Herz‐Degenkolb
Tel.: 0664‐9181356 | www.sittevienna.com

تحديات الاقتصاد البيني العربي والعربي الأوروبي

مداخلة الخوجه في الملتقى

بدعوة من البروفيسور شتيفان شيناخ عضو البرلمان النمساوي ورئيس لجنة اتحاد البرلمانيين من أجل المتوسط للطاقة والبيئة والمياه، وبحضور برلمانيين من المغرب والجزائر ولبنان وفلسطين وتركيا وإيطاليا والبرتغال والسويد وأيسلندا وألمانيا وفرنسا والمجر وبلغاريا ولاتفيا واستونيا والبرلمان الأوروبي ، شارك المهندس مضر الخوجه في ملتقى أقامه البرلمان النمساوي يوم 5 ديسمبر 2011، بعنوان "تقليل العراقيل بين الشمال والجنوب، والجنوب والجنوب". واستعرض المشاركون في الملتقى قضايا إمدادات الطاقة وحماية البيئة والمياه، بالإضافة إلى التكنولوجيا الخضراء وإدارة النفايات.

وتحدث الخوجه في كلمته عن التحديات التي تواجه التبادل الاقتصادي البيني العربي، والعربي الأوروبي، مشيرا إلى أن المنطقة العربية عامرة بالفرص في كافة المجالات، تدعمها العديد من المقومات؛ والتي من بينها اتفاقية جافتا الموقعة بين 17 دولة عربية في عام 1997 بغرض إنشاء سوق عربية مشتركة لمواجهة التكتلات العالمية.

جانب من الحضور في ملتقى البرلمان النمساوي

وعدد الخوجه المجالات التي يمكن من خلالها تحقيق المنفعة المشتركة للجانبين العربي والأوروبي، وذلك من خلال الاستثمارات الغربية في الدول العربية في مجالات الزراعة والصناعات الغذائية، والنقل وتكنولوجيا المعلومات والاتصالات، والتعليم والخدمات الصحية، والنفط والصناعات البتروكيماوية، والبنوك والسياحة.
وشدد الأمين العام لغرفة التجارة العربية النمساوية على الأهمية التي تنطوي عليها الاتفاقيات الثنائية والمشتركة بين الجانبين العربي والأوروبي في المجال الاقتصادي والتبادل التجاري، مشيرا إلى أنها تمنح إمكانات اقتصادية كبيرة بين العرب والأوروبيين.

واستعرض الخوجه بالأرقام، أحجام التبادل التجاري العربي البيني، وبين الدول العربية وأوروبا، لافتا إلى ضرورة تنفيذ المبادرات الأورومتوسطية لتحقيق شراكات في الأعمال التجارية بين الدول العربية والأوروبية، ومشيرا كذلك إلى ضرورة وجود المزيد من الشفافية في صناديق الاستثمار الوطنية.

الخوجه : مقترحات عملية لتقليص معدلات البطالة العربية

أقام البرنامج العربي في منظمة الأمم المتحدة للتنمية الصناعية "يونيدو" يوم 24 نوفمبر 2011 ملتقى لمجموعة الخبراء تحت عنوان: مشاركة الشباب في التنمية الاقتصادية الشاملة في المنطقة العربية، واستعرض المشاركون في الملتقى التحديات التي تواجه الشباب العربي والفرص الماثلة أمامه، والدور الذي يمكن أن تقوم به المنظمة الأممية في فتح آفاق مستقبلية واعدة أمام القوة البشرية العربية.

جانب من ندوة منظمة التنمية الصناعية (يونيدو): دور الشباب العربي في التنمية الاقتصادية

واستعرض الأمين العام لغرفة التجارة العربية النمساوية، المهندس مضر الخوجه، في مداخلته خلال الملتقى الأوضاع الاقتصادية في الدول العربية، مشيرا إلى أن أحد أهم الأسباب التي أدت إلى اندلاع الثورات العربية هي الحالة الاقتصادية المتردية التي عانت منها الشعوب في الدول الثائرة.
واستدل الخوجه بالأوضاع الاقتصادية في مصر، مشيرا إلى أن نتائج استطلاع حديث للرأي أجراه معهد GFK، وهو أكبر مؤسسة متخصصة في رصد اتجاهات الرأي العام، أوضحت أن المشاكل الاقتصادية جاءت في المرتبة الثانية ضمن أسباب ثورة الشباب على النظام المصري السابق. وأشار الاستطلاع إلى أن نسبة 24% من المشاركين في الاستطلاع أعربت عن الرأي بأن الأسباب الاقتصادية كانت وراء قيام الثورة، بينما حل الفساد الإداري في المرتبة الأولى.
ولفت الخوجه إلى أن الأوضاع الاقتصادية طرحت نفسها بقوة مجددا بعد الثورة، بحسب استطلاع الرأي الذي أشار إلى أن نسبة من يرون المشكلات الاقتصادية من أهم أسباب الثورة ارتفعت بعد اندلاعها لتصل إلى 43%، بينما تراجعت نسبة المرجحين للفساد في الدولة 8%، أي أن أهم مشكلة تواجه المجتمع المصري هي الصعوبات الاقتصادية وانعكاساتها على شتى مناحي الحياة. كما أشارت نسبة 42% من المشاركين في الاستطلاع إلى أن من أولويات العمل في الشارع المصري بعد إعادة الأمن، هو تحسين الأوضاع الاقتصادية وتقليص نسبة البطالة، بينما أعربت نسبة 75% من المصريين عن الاعتقاد بأن إنعاش الأوضاع الاقتصادية سيتحقق في فترة تتراوح بين سنة وخمس سنوات.

واستعرض الأمين العام لغرفة التجارة العربية النمساوية بعض أسباب ارتفاع معدلات البطالة في الدول العربية، مشيرا إلى أن النمو السكاني غير المتناسب مع النمو الاقتصادي، هو أحد أهم هذه الأسباب. وألمح إلى أن عدد السكان في الوطن العربي يتضاعف كل ثلاثة عقود، بينما يتضاعف عدد السكان في الدول الغربية كل 114 سنة.
وذهب الخوجه إلى أن الفجوة القائمة بين القطاع الخاص والتعليم على اختلاف صوره، وعدم وجود شراكة أو تنسيق بين المؤسسات الاقتصادية الخاصة والسلطات المعنية بالشأن التعليمي، يمثلان سببا آخر لتنامي البطالة في الدول العربية، وذلك إلى جانب إخفاق برامج التنمية في العناية بالشأن الاجتماعي داخل المجتمعات العربية، وما يصاحب ذلك من نمو غير مناسب للاقتصاد.

المهندس مضر الخوجه يتحدث في الندوة

ونوّه الخوجه بحالة التناقض الموجودة بسوق العمل في العديد من الدول العربية؛ حيث تتنامى معدلات الاستعانة بالأيدي العاملة الأجنبية، في الوقت التي تتزايد فيه نسبة البطالة بين مواطني هذه الدول. وضرب مثالا على ذلك، بسلطنة عمان التي تبلغ معدلات البطالة فيها 15% وفي البحرين 15% وفي السعودية نحو 10%، وفي ليبيا قبل الثورة؛ حيث بلغت نسبة البطالة فيها 30%.
واعتبر الخوجه أن المشكلة الفعلية تكمن ابتعاد التعليم والتعليم الموجه والتأهيل المهني عن سبل التطور الاقتصادي؛ حيث يسير التعليم في الدول العربية باتجاه، بينما تتخذ التنمية مسارا آخر، وهو ما يؤدي بالتالي إلى نشوء ما يعرف بالبطالة الهيكلية structural Unemployment . وأرجع الخوجه سبب ذلك إلى إخفاق المشرع في كثير من الدول في إعداد أطر قانونية تسهل عملية الاستثمار وإقامة المشروعات الكبرى في القطاع الخاص، علاوة على البيروقراطية في التعامل مع المشروعات الاقتصادية.

وفي معرض تقديمه لمقترحات من شأنها أن تسهم في حل أزمة البطالة العربية، دعا الخوجه إلى الاسترشاد بخبرات الدول التي تمكنت من تقليص معدلات البطالة، مشيرا في هذا الصدد إلى أن دولة النمسا تسجل أقل معدلات للبطالة في أوروبا بنسبة 3.9% (وبنسبة حقيقية تبلغ 6.9%) في العام الجاري، علما بأن متوسط نسبة البطالة في أوروبا يبلغ 9.7%.
وأشار الخوجه إلى أن النمسا تعتمد الشراكة الاجتماعية لضمان صدور تشريعات تعمل على تحقيق التناغم الاجتماعي. وأوضح أن هذه الشراكة تتمثل في قيام المشرع باستشارة الوزارات المختصة بشؤون العمل والاقتصاد والشؤون الاجتماعية، وكذلك المنظمات غير الحكومية مثل الغرف الاقتصادية، والغرفة الاقتصادية الاتحادية والنقابات العمالية وممثلي الموظفين الحكوميين. ولا يتم إصدار قانون متعلق بشؤون العمل أو الحياة الاقتصادية عامة إلا وتتم مناقشته باستفاضة بين هذه التكتلات، وهو ما يؤدي في النهاية إلى إصدار قوانين تلبي احتياجات سوق العمل وتحدث توازن بين أرباب الأعمال والعاملين.

وأوصى الخوجه بضرورة أن تعمل طبقة رجال الأعمال وأصحاب المؤسسات الاقتصادية على إيجاد تعاون وشراكة في المجال التعليمي والتدريب المهني، وخاصة الشركات الكبرى التي يجب أن تكون جزءا من المنظومة التعليمية ولها دور فاعل فيها. وأشار إلى أن منظومة التعليم في النمسا تقوم على أساس مدارس عادية وأخرى مهنية ومعاهد عليا متخصصة وجامعات، ورغم أن هذا النظام موجود في العديد من الدول العربية ولكنه إما ضعيف وإما بعيد عن سوق العمل ومتطلباته.
وحث الخوجه على ضرورة وجود خبرات عملية ممثلة في مديري الشركات والمؤسسات الاقتصادية، ضمن منظومة التعليم، وذلك لتوفير الجانب العملي التطبيقي وتنميته لدى الطلاب جنبا إلى جنب مع الجانب النظري.

ودعا الخوجه إلى إقامة وحدات اقتصادية وفق أسس علمية تواكب المتطلبات الفعلية لسوق العمل، بالإضافة إلى تطوير منظومة إدارة شؤون الأفراد، وكذلك خلق وحدات للتطوير العلمي والابتكارات التقنية وتطوير آليات الشراء، وذلك لتكتمل سلسلة القيمة المضافة المستدامة sustainable value added chain.

وساق الخوجه مثالا على المشروعات الخلاقة في الوطن العربي، والتي تعمل على توفير فرص العمل والابتكار ، والمتمثل في مؤسسة صلتك القطرية، التي تعمل من خلال مؤسساتها المتعددة على تمكين الشباب العربي من الحصول على فرص عمل وتيسير الطريق أمامهم لإقامة المشاريع، وذلك عن طريق أنظمة وإستراتيجيات مؤثرة تركز على التدريب وفق احتياجات السوق.
كما لفت الخوجه إلى الفكرة التي عرضها المستشار نبيل الكزبري، الرئيس العربي لغرفة التجارة العربية النمساوية، في سنوات التسعينيات، والمتمثلة في إنشاء "سوبر ماركت" عربي يحمل اسم "بضائعنا"، ويعنى ببيع البضائع العربية داخل الدول العربية، وهو ما يوفر فرص عمل كبيرة ويفتح آفاقا متعددة للاستثمار والتصنيع والتبادل التجاري البيني في الدول العربية.

ترحيب خليجي بفكرة مشروع بنك المعلومات الاقتصادي الدولي

لاقت فكرة مشروع بنك المعلومات الاقتصادي الدولي، التي بادرت غرفة التجارة العربية النمساوية باقتراحها، ترحيبا واسع النطاق لدى اتحاد غرف دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي، الذي اطلع أعضاؤه على عرض تفصيلي لها من الأمين العام للغرفة المهندس مضر الخوجه، خلال ورشة عمل أقامها الاتحاد في العاصمة القطرية الدوحة يوم 21 نوفمبر 2011.

ورشة عمل اتحاد غرف دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي - الدوحة

وكان الأمين العام لغرفة التجارة العربية النمساوية قد توجه إلى الدوحة، تلبية لدعوة موجهة من اتحاد غرف دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي، للمشاركة في ورشة عمل حول تبادل الخبرات والتجارب بين الغرف الأعضاء؛ حيث قدّم الخوجه ورقة عمل بعنوان (بنك المعلومات الاقتصادي الدولي) كمنصة معلوماتية اقتصادية دولية لغرف الخليج العربي، والغرف العربية المشتركة، موضحا أهمية وجود قاعدة معلوماتية تكون تحت تصرف جميع الغرف الاقتصادية العربية والعربية المشتركة، الراغبة بتحقيق أكبر قدر من التواصل فيما بينها، والتيسير على رجال الأعمال والمستثمرين في الدول العربية والدول الغربية، لما تتضمنه هذه المنصة من معلومات واسعة النطاق حول اهتمامات المعنيين بالشأن الاقتصادي والتجاري. وبيّن الخوجه معايير الجودة للمشروع، وعرض الجدول الزمني المطلوب لتنفيذه.

وقد رحب الأمناء العامون والمدراء في الغرف التجارية التابعة لدول مجلس التعاون الخليجي بفكرة المشروع، وأوصوا باتخاذ خطوات فعلية على سبيل تنفيذه. وقد طرح المشروع على أمانة الاتحاد، وتقرر تشكيل لجنة من المتخصصين في مجال المعلوماتية للمتابعة والتنسيق مع الأمين العام لغرفة التجارة العربية النمساوية للانتهاء من الملامح الأخيرة لانطلاق هذا المشروع.

الخوجه يعرض فكرة بنك المعلومات الاقتصادي الدولي

وعلى صعيد آخر، تضمنت زيارة قطر، استقبال وزير الدولة للشؤون الخارجية، الدكتور خالد العطية، للأمين العام؛ وبحضور الدكتور فولفجانج بنسياس، المستشار التجاري النمساوي لدى عدد من الدول الخليجية؛ حيث تمت مناقشة التحضيرات للزيارة المرتقبة التي يقوم بها الرئيس النمساوي الدكتور هانز فيشر لقطر خلال شهر سبتمبر المقبل، ويصحبه وفد اقتصادي نمساوي رفيع المستوى، نسّقت له غرفة التجارة العربية النمساوية بالتعاون مع جمعية الصداقة العربية النمساوية. كما نطرق اللقاء إلى الافتتاح المبدئي المرتقب للسفارة النمساوية في الدوحة، ومكتب المفوضية التجارية النمساوية هناك.

وشملت زيارة الخوجه لقطر، لقاءات مع عدد من المسؤولين بمؤسسات اقتصادية قطرية، تم بعضها بالتنسيق مع الدكتور بنسياس؛ حيث التقى مساعد المدير العام لشركة قطر للفولاذ، وكذلك مدير الاستثمارات في شركة قطر القابضة، ومدير عام الشركة الدولية لتنظيم المعارض، السيد جورج عياش، الذي وجه الدعوة للخوجه للمشاركة في معرض يقام في الدوحة تحت رعاية رئيس مجلس الوزراء القطري خلال شهر سبتمبر 2012.
وأشاد الخوجه بالتعاون القائم مع الغرفة الاقتصادية النمساوية، وخاصة المستشارين التجاري الدكتور فولفجانج بنسياس، ونائبه السيد جيرد بومير.

آفاق جديدة للعلاقات الاقتصادية بين النمسا والعراق

نائب المستشار النمساوي، وزير الخارجية ميشائيل شبيندليجر يلقي كلمة خلال المنتدى الاقتصادي العراقي النمساوي، بحضور وزير الخارجية العراقي هوشيار زيباري، ونائب رئيس الغرفة الاقتصادية النمساوية، دكتور ريتشارد شينتس

في زيارة قام بها وفد سياسي اقتصادي نمساوي رفيع المستوى إلى دولة العراق، تم الاتفاق على توقيع عدد من الاتفاقيات الاقتصادية، وهو ما يبشر بفتح آفاق جديدة من العلاقات بين البلدين على المستويين الاقتصادي والتجاري، بعد غياب تبادل الوفود الاقتصادية بين الجانبين لمدة عشر سنوات.
فقد أسفرت الزيارة التي قام بها نائب رئيس الحكومة النمساوية، وزير الخارجية ميشائيل شبيندليجر إلى دولة العراق يوم 15 نوفمبر 2011، على رأس وفد سياسي اقتصادي رفيع، ضم ممثلين عن الغرفة الاقتصادية النمساوية وغرفة التجارة العربية النمساوية، عن التوصل إلى اتفاق لتوقيع ست اتفاقيات تعاون اقتصادي بقيمة تصل إلى 60 مليون دولار.
وفي هذا الإطار، أكد نائب رئيس الغرفة الاقتصادية النمساوية، دكتور ريتشارد شينتس على الاهتمام الذي يوليه المستثمرون النمساويون والشركات النمساوية لدخول السوق العراقية الواعدة، والتي تأتي في المرتبة الثالثة بعد كل من المملكة العربية السعودية ودولة الإمارات العربية.

ولفت شينتس خلال المنتدى الاقتصادي العراقي النمساوي المشترك، والذي أقيم بالتعاون مع هيئة الاستثمار الوطنية في العاصمة بغداد، إلى أن النمسا كانت في طليعة الدول الأوروبية التي أقامت علاقات اقتصادية مع العراق؛ حيث شهد عام 1955 افتتاح أول ممثلية تجارية للنمسا هناك.
وتأتي زيارة الوفد النمساوي رفيع المستوى، والذي ضم مستثمرين وممثلي شركات نمساوية كبرى، بعد انقطاع تبادل الوفود الاقتصادية والتجارية بين البلدين لمدة عشر سنوات.

مؤتمر صحفي مشترك لنائب المستشار النمساوي (يسارا)، نائب رئيس الغرفة الاقتصادية النمساوية

وكان أمين عام غرفة التجارة العربية النمساوية، المهندس مضر الخوجه ضمن الوفد النمساوي؛ حيث أدلى بتصريحات لعدد من وسائل الإعلام العراقية المقروءة والمرئية والمسموعة، أكد فيها على أهمية هذه الزيارة ومثيلاتها، على طريق دعم العلاقات الاقتصادية وتعزيزها على الوجه الذي يصاحبه زيادة في حجم التبادل التجاري بين البلدين خلال الأعوام المقبلة.
وأشاد الخوجه بما يقدمه الجانب العراقي من ضمانات، من شأنها أن تؤدي إلى تحفيز الشركات النمساوية على الدخول بقوة إلى السوق العراقية، وإنجاز مشاريع تسهم في إعادة إعمار العراق. وأشار بهذا الصدد إلى أن الشركات النمساوية المشاركة ضمن الوفد تتطلع إلى تنفيذ مشاريع في مجالات عدة، وعلى رأسها مشاريع البنى التحتية، والاتصالات، ومعالجة المياه، وتدوير القمامة، والبترول، والزراعة.

الأمين العام مضر الخوجه يدلي بتصريحات صحفية على هامش المنتدى الاقتصادي العراقي النمساوي

والتقى الخوجه في العاصمة بغداد بعدد من المسؤولين في اتحاد الغرف التجارية العراقية، وغرفة تجارة بغداد، وكذلك الاتحاد العربي للصناعات الجلدية.
وكانت مدينة أربيل عاصمة إقليم كردستان العراق، المحطة الثانية من زيارة الوفد النمساوي؛ حيث أقيم مؤتمر اقتصادي ضم عددا كبيرا من الاقتصاديين النمساويين والعراقيين. والتقى الخوجه هناك عضو مجلس محافظة نينوى، الشيخ إسماعيل البرزنجي مستشار رئيس إقليم كردستان للشؤون الاقتصادية؛ حيث تم مناقشة سبل دعم وتعزيز دخول الشركات والاستثمارات النمساوية إلى الإقليم، وبخاصة في مجالات مواد البناء وصناعة الكابلات، والصرف الصحي وتدوير القمامة.
ويشار إلى أن حجم التعاون الاقتصادي بين البلدين بلغ نحو 250 مليون يورو في عام 2011. وارتفعت معدلات التصدير النمساوية إلى العراق بنسبة 170 %.

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