Bangalore, Aug 23: Investors and entrepreneurs from 23 Arab states plan to build an exclusive investment region near Bangalore with world class facilities for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) in diverse sectors of the economy.
“We plan to build an Arab Investment Region (AIR) in about 400 acres of land near National Highway seven (NH7) and closer to the Bangalore international airport at Devanahalli as investors and entrepreneurs from Arab states are keen to set up MSMEs for exports,” Indo-Arab Chamber of Commerce (IACC) chairman S. Krishna Kumar said Friday on the margins of a trade meet here.
The IACC will soon approach the Karnataka government for regulatory approvals to build the region with an integrated township and an ecosystem that will also facilitate local investors to set up MSMEs that will export primarily to Arab states.
“If the state government is unable to provide land for the region, we will purchase it (land) from private parties at market rate and request the government to provide connectivity, power, water and other facilities to ensure faster turnaround of products for exports,” Kumar, who was a former central minister, said.
Earlier, about 40 delegates from the Arab states, participating in the day-long conference on ‘Transcending Arabian Borders’ (TAB 2013), organised by the IACC, expressed willingness to invest in the region.
“The Arab investors and entrepreneurs are interested in setting up MSMEs, which ill cater to their respective states in diverse sectors spanning information and communication technology (ICT), biotechnology, agriculture, civil engineering, pharma, power, manufacturing and food-processing,” Kumar asserted.
Though there is no dearth of funds in the petro-rich Arab states, absence of agro-climatic conditions, lack of natural resources, shortage of skilled manpower and want of domain expertise in the new sectors of the economy have put paid to their efforts to become self-sufficient in foodgrains production, manufacturing and services.
“Over the years, India has been participating in the economic development of the Arab world by supplying manpower, increasing trade and making a breakthrough in construction and project exports,” IACC executive director Asif Iqbal said.
MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region director general Shahran Bin Ahmed said Al Bariz Trading firm from Abu Dhabi would set up a joint venture with the Imen Agro Production Agency to grow food crops in India for consumption in the Arab world.
“As we do not have agriculture production on the scale it is here (India), we are entering into a tie-up with Imen Agro to cultivate food products under captive farming and develop nurseries that can be replanted in our country to grow similar crops in controlled weather conditions,” Ahmed told IANS at the conference.
With offices in Dubai and Muscat in Oman, the IACC has about 330 members, including 130 from Arab states, who jointly generate about Rs.100 crore trade comprising merchandise, engineering goods and services.
The participating Arab and African states include Bahrain, Brunei, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and UAE.
“Our Indian members and entrepreneurs, especially in the MSME sector can also explore investing in the Arab world through the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), as the sector plays a vital role in improving the quality of life in both societies,” Iqbal observed.
Union Minister of State for SMEs K.H. Muniyappa inaugurated the conference.