Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Once Again, Do Not Waste an opportunity! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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We will never be bored of the same repetitive talk concerning the huge money surpluses of the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) simply because the nations that allow for such profitable opportunities to slip away are those who waste their own futures. In order to invest these giant monetary surpluses into the future, a rational, patriotic and accountable perception is required.

In the 1970”s, the GCC states had succeeded to build a formidable infrastructure of roads and ports effectively employing the rise in oil prices. The states are now faced with a rare opportunity to use the current surpluses to their advantage by avoiding superficial non-developmental projects, reducing armament, and establishing productive economic projects that may constitute a source of income and a method of eradicating unemployment.

The successful Kuwaiti establishment of the Investment Bureau in London in the 1960”s started with no more than 200 million pounds sterling, and has become a large financial institution that owns approximately 100 billion US Dollars in the form of real estate investments, industrial investments, shares, and bonds. Another important success has been that of Saudi Arabia in the industrial sector. In Saudi Arabia, there is a strong presence of giant institutions such as SABIC and the huge industrial complexes of Al-Jubayl and Yanbu. The Qatari investment experience in gas fields began as a brave adventure but ended as a huge developmental project causing major changes in society and the economy especially in the fields of investment and education. There is also the experience of Dubai which is by all means worth studying.

The only way to liberate the GCC states from being subject to the mercy of oil as the sole source of income (and an unpredictable source it remains), is to make use of the surpluses to create productive societies and to revolutionize education and training.

What takes place today may not be repeated in terms of the surge in oil process. In addition, many questions remain unanswered concerning the strategic oil fields, their sustainability and possible alternatives. The crucial matter that remains is that the rational members of these countries must collectively think of ways to make the most of the opportunity of the rise in oil prices. It is important to consider the future and our future generations, and to reject such consumptive and parochial thinking.