Anwar Gargash: coronavirus will weaken economies

UAE minister of state says region needs to find ways to bolster development model as world reels from effects of pandemic

epa08268942 United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Mohammed Gargash attends the Arab Foreign Ministers 153rd annual meeting at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, 04 March 2020. According to reports, the annual summit of Arab leaders that was scheduled for late March in Algeria was postponed over coronavirus concerns.  EPA/KHALED ELFIQI

The coronavirus pandemic will necessitate a rethink of global economic models, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said yesterday

Dr Anwar Gargash told a Beirut Institute Summit panel that the regional labour market would be affected by the pandemic.

“The region, like all regions of the world, will be financially and politically weaker and we would be wise to think about our development models,” Dr Gargash told the panel on Zoom.

He said the Gulf governments would be asking “a lot of questions about what constitutes a Gulf rentier state model”.

“We have been for many years trying to escape that model with varying degrees of success but I think this is going to accelerate the necessity for us to find something a little bit more sustainable,” Dr Gargash said.

The system across the region, which employs a large proportion of migrant labour, “will be under consideration”.

“One would have to look at it and see is this model sustainable? Should it be tweaked or not?" he said.

"It is a bit early but I think this is emerging as a major issue.

“This is a period of healing, and healing means we need to look internally and address the impact of this huge pandemic on our policies and on our relations with others."