The 28th Annual Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference hosted by the National Council on US-Arab Relations (NCUSAR) with the theme “Treading a Tightrope: How Best to Balance and Advance the Multifaceted Arab-U.S. Relationship?” was held in Washington DC, USA, on 23-24 October 2019.
NCUSAR is an American non-profit, non-governmental, educational organization dedicated to improving American knowledge and understanding of the Arab world, and this conference is the largest annual gathering in the country dedicated to studying, understanding, and promoting relationships between the two regions This year’s conference brought together leading personalities, professional speakers, and members of academia, the government and the private sector, such as Prince Turki Bin Faisal Al Saud, General David Howell Petraeus, Thomas Friedman and others.
One of the agenda sessions was “Business, Investment, and Developmental Dynamics in Arabia and the Gulf”, which featured a panel of distinguished speakers. During this session, Dr. Turki Faisal Al Rasheed gave a presentation entitled “Economic Diversification in the GCC”, highlighting the importance of agriculture to enhance security, alleviate poverty and promote economic growth. He further emphasized that lack of good governance in a country would result in a situation that could create disturbance, as is happening now in Lebanon and Iraq. The importance of stakeholder participation and the creation of employment, housing, medical and food security to achieve sustainable development are some of the tools required to create a diversified economy.
During the presentation, Dr. Al Rasheed told the audience that Gulf countries could better manage different transformation plans for economic diversification when they make use of Strategic Thinking, Long-term Strategic Visions and Plans and, finally, Strategic Capabilities. Dr. Al Rasheed concluded by saying that GCC countries must reduce their dependence on oil by investing in national human resources, building up non-oil sectors and creating a knowledge economy for the future.
The conference was the latest in a long line of similar events aimed at enhancing relations between the two regions, strengthening and expanding economic, political, commercial and other ties, increasing joint ventures, and deepening a mutual understanding of each other’s objectives and concerns. It is hoped that these events will contribute to strengthening the stability of the Arab region and the world.