ABU DHABI // Australia’s special representative to the G20 group of industrialised countries has visited the UAE to learn about its challenges and lessons learnt from the global financial crisis.
Daniel Sloper said the UAE experience could help to advise countries in the G20, for which Australia holds the presidency, on steps needed to ensure successful and sustainable economies.
“The experience here since the global financial crisis gives the UAE a particular perspective of some of the challenges we’re undertaking in the G20, so I’m here to listen,” said Mr Sloper, who finished his two-day visit on Wednesday.
“I’d like to learn from their experience in addressing economic challenges in the region, and I’d like to hear whether the agenda of the G20 is coherent, and if it addresses some of the same challenges they faced.
“The G20 is not a representative body and it takes actions that impact on all, so we want to make sure we listen to the ideas of others but also confirm that what we’re doing will benefit a wider group of countries.”
This year’s summit will be in Brisbane on November 15 and 16.
Australia’s G20 presidency gives it a chance to influence the global economic agenda and engage with major world economies.
“My role means I am obliged to engage with those outside the G20, both regional and international organisations, and member states,” Mr Sloper said.
“I also met the Islamic Development Bank, the GCC and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Saudi Arabia, as well as the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the UAE.
“We have a very strong bilateral relationship with the UAE and we’d like to take that further.”
This year’s G20 Summit will focus on jobs growth, building global resilience and addressing problems of governance.
“We’re trying to reach civil society, think tanks, government officials, academia and sometimes businesses too,” said Mr Sloper.
“We saw significant issues in our economies, not only in the UAE but globally – rapid drops in growth, loss of income and jobs – and some of these challenges are continuing.
“That’s why our leaders in the G20 are focusing on trying to address growth in jobs, as we see that as a pathway to a sustainable future.”
Mr Sloper said the UAE had managed to return to growth rapidly after the crisis.
“And that’s an unusual story, I think,” he said. “Many countries are still struggling to lift their economic growth to levels similar to what we saw before the crisis.
“I learnt more about the steps and actions the Government took in response to the global financial crisis.
“I was told about the broader open policy in support of trade of services and goods, and how the UAE engages with its region and the world, as well as the efforts to increase employment, stimulate the economy and diversify.
“It’s a recognition of the importance of development and the UAE has had a very positive experience subsequent to the crisis.”
Mr Sloper finished his visit with a lecture at the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday night.
“The talk includes impediments to investment in infrastructure, a common challenge here and in other countries,” he said. “It also touches on steps we can take to facilitate trade domestically, employment policies, focus on development, energy and anti-corruption.”
He said the UAE’s story was a rich one. Ambitious targets were set for the G20 countries.
“We can learn from the experiences from others and their perspectives on the world as well as find out what the priorities are for them for their region.
“A focus on a sustainable and balanced growth with jobs is important and that’s something that will take more than one year, but we have to hold our ideas and to hear other countries’ constructive criticism,” Mr Sloper said.