Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat – The draft Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC] single currency project – which represents the most controversial and contentious issue being discussed by the GCC – has now entered a historic phase in terms of implementation, according to reports. This comes after the GCC’s 33rd summit called for initiatives with announced deadlines to be put forward to transition towards a state of greater financial and economic integration between GCC states.
The lack of resolution regarding the single Gulf currency is one of the leading obstacles to GCC economic integration. As a result, GCC states are likely to step up their meetings over the forthcoming months with the objective of reaching an agreement to resolve the single currency issue.
Well-informed Gulf sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that resolving the single currency issue is a goal that many GCC states are seeking to achieve, adding “there will be no Gulf Union in the economic sense without a single currency. There are some obstacles that have prevented the resolution of this issue, and this is something that must be remedied in light of the recommendations of the GCC summit that is taking place in Manama over the current week.”
Commenting on the latest developments, renowned financial expert Faisal al-Oqab told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Gulf region moving to a state of union will accelerate the process of establishing a single currency. He said “in the event of the establishment of a comprehensive Gulf Union, it would be natural to see the disappearance of all obstacles that have prevented the issuance of a single currency.”
Al-Oqab expressed his hope that the GCC states would succeed in resolving the single currency issue over the forthcoming year. He added that the delay in implementing the single currency project – it was first announced nearly 8 years ago – indicates the presence of a number of problems and obstacles that must be resolved.
In the face of these developments, the final communique of the 33rd GCC summit saw the GCC leadership express their satisfaction at the significant growth witnessed by GCC states economies, in addition to what has been achieved in terms of comprehensive development in various sectors. The final communique also called on the relevant financial committees to quickly implement what was put forward in the economic agreement regarding unifying economic and monetary policies, completing Gulf Union infrastructure and ensuring the availability of job opportunities for citizens.
According to the final communique, the GCC also called for the implementation of practical programs based on announced deadlines for transition towards economic integration between GCC states.
For his part, Financial and Economic expert, Fahad Al Mashari, previously informed Asharq Al-Awsat that “those in the Gulf are looking forward to financially benefitting from this project, which will see GCC states moving from a state of cooperation to one of union” adding “perhaps one of the most prominent projects being looked forward to by those in the Gulf is the launch of a single Gulf currency.”
Al Mashari attributed the stalling of the Gulf single currency project over the past years to a number of obstacles, but confirmed that these obstacles would be swept away when the GCC moves from a state of cooperation to one of union. He called on this file to be resolved as soon as possible.
Al Mashari added “in reality, the completion of the draft Gulf Union single currency project will enhance the Gulf state’s ability to negotiate with the rest of the world, economically and commercially, whilst this will also help us compete with the European single currency.”
The Financial and Economic expert also stressed that it is in the public interest for the GCC to transition from a stage of cooperation to one of unity as quickly as possible, adding this will enhance economic growth in Gulf States.