UAE takes part in 6th Annual Arab Fiscal Forum
The meeting was held virtually, and sought to exchange experiences and discuss challenges facing decision and policy makers in the Arab region, in light of the economic and financial developments.
It also deliberated means to improve measures for recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mohamed Hadi Al Hussaini, Minister of State for Financial Affairs, in his inaugural speech at the forum, said, that in light of the mitigated repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the proactive measure taken by the wise leadership of the UAE and Expo 2020 Dubai, the UAE enters the new 50 years with new national priorities and methodology.
These are based on the ‘Principles of the 50’ and supported by a flexible federal budget that keeps pace with changes and developments, he added.
“The UAE’s efforts in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic is a model to be emulated.
These recovery efforts were accelerated by a comprehensive national response package that has reached over $90 billion to-date.
He said, “The UAE’s wide accessibility to the vaccine combined with strictly enforced social distancing measures helped prevent widespread infection and allowed us to kick start recovery efforts early-on in 2020.
The UAE is proud to have achieved a full vaccination rate of 89%.
Overall, we were able to contain the economic downturn at 6.
1% in 2020, with an immediate return to GDP growth of an expected 2.
1% in 2021, and 4.
2% in 2022.
Al Hussaini added, “As the UAE looks to the future, we believe the pace of the recovery phase can now be dictated by policymakers.
The UAE continues to enable global response efforts through the Hope Consortium, launched in 2020, to offer one of the most effective vaccine supply chains in the world, which has thus far handled over 100 million vaccine doses across 40 countries.
At the end of his speech, Al Hussaini raised two points to the IMF and the AMF; the first was the best proposed policies to address the growing concerns about inflation in the Middle East.
He noted that inflation would lead to higher food prices and disruptions in the global supply chain during the pandemic, taking into consideration the financial conditions such as the higher levels of the national debt and the potential economic and social effects of high unemployment rates.
He also raised the policy recommendations that both IMF and AMF propose to governments to preserve the wealth of the middle-class – which has been affected by the pandemic – and their disproportionate impact in increasing income inequality in the region.
The forum serves as a platform for Arab Finance Ministers to discuss governance, transparency, and the role of digitalisation in public finance, and the role of investments and public and private partnerships in the recovery.
Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, and Dr.
Abdulrahman bin Abdullah Al Hamidi, Director-General and Chairman of the Arab Monetary Fund, delivered keynote speeches during the opening session.
The Sixth Annual Arab Fiscal Forum saw the participation of Arab Ministers of Finance and Governors of Central Banks and Monetary Institutions, in the presence of the Managing Director of the IMF and a number of heads of regional and international financial institutions.