As the Chairman of ICC-WCF, how are mitigating uncertainty and finding new opportunities for business continuity?
The world is in the midst of challenging times as COVID-19 disrupts lives, societies and businesses globally. During times of uncertainty, the priority of the ICC-WCF is to ensure the smooth continuity of work, and to mitigate any negative impact on the business sector through open dialogue with both the public and private sectors. As the representative of 45 million companies, one billion employees, in more than 100 countries, the ICC-WCF plays a critical part in mobilizing efforts to support chambers globally. Our role is to assure chambers worldwide that we are here to support them in finding innovative solutions for business continuity. This involves fostering awareness of their function in ensuring businesses adhere to the guidelines set out by their respective governments.
How do you assess the country's response to the pandemic, and what has been Dubai Chamber's role?
The UAE has employed a successful strategy in introducing comprehensive testing while protecting business continuity. Analysis of global pandemic data conducted by Deep Knowledge Group, a consortium of commercial and non-profit organizations, placed the UAE among the top five countries for testing and within the top 10 for treatment efficiency, which is judged on a country's ability to monitor the spread of the virus, treat patients, and develop, test and deploy potential vaccines and treatments. Beyond its borders, the UAE has launched an international 'air bridge' in partnership with the UN World Food Programme, designed to deliver essential health and humanitarian supplies to nations in need. The partnership will supply items to more than 100 countries in the months ahead. Closer to home, the UAE responded swiftly to unprecedented changes in the world of work. Dubai Chamber underwent a full smart transformation, with 100% remote working introduced in March and 100% of its services made available online, providing a seamless transition to digital business and ensuring no interruption to service for members. Expanding on its smart transformation, Dubai Chamber also launched a series of webinars to disseminate information to members.
How is Dubai Chamber working to facilitate high levels of public-private sector collaboration?
Internationally, Dubai Chamber is working closely with the authorities in the 10 countries in which it has a presence to implement global best practice, minimize the risk of transmission, and ensure business continuity with stakeholders. Dubai Chamber remains committed to activating PPPs during this time to respond to global challenges. In early May, it organized a virtual meeting of 30 business-community representatives, chaired by HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed, which included open discussion about the challenges and effects of COVID-19 on the business sector and wider economy. Private-sector representatives affirmed their confidence in the government measures that have proven effective in containing the virus, mitigating its spread and protecting lives, while preserving the economy. In addition, a March meeting with business groups and councils resulted in an economic incentive package that reflects the UAE's commitment to the interests of investors. An additional economic stimulus package will be implemented to improve competitiveness in the private sector. Combined, these measures communicate a strong message to the private sector: we stand by the interests of investors—and will work to grow their investments, provide a secure environment conducive to growth, and remain alongside them in the face of global challenges. Let us be optimistic about the future. Let us take this opportunity to thank our courageous and dedicated health professionals. Let us look out for one another. By pulling together and proceeding with unity, we will emerge stronger.