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Interview: Paul Gheorghiu, GRIC’ Chairman about the strategic partnership with the UAE



Paul Gheorghiu, Chairman of The Gulf-Romania Investment Council offered an interview to Adevarul newspaper in which he detailed the key points of the MoU signed between GRIC and the UAE International Investors Council. He also highlighted the main advantages that Romania and Romanian companies can leverage to attract significant investments from UAE investment groups.


Below is the interview from Adevarul newspaper:


Adevărul: In November, a memorandum of cooperation was signed for the first time in Abu Dhabi between the Romanian Gulf Investment Council and investor groups from the United Arab Emirates. What are the main objectives of this memorandum and to whom is it addressed?


Paul Gheorghiu: The purpose of the Memorandum is to establish a practical framework for the development of stronger business relations between GRIC members and the UAE. Two central elements that we have agreed with our partners relate to the focus on facilitating foreign investment in our country's business ecosystem and accelerating the internationalization of Romanian companies. GRIC acts as a guide in aligning the business interests of Romanian companies with those of the UAE, facilitating business cooperation for any Romanian company ready to capitalize on the great development potential the UAE has to offer.


Our partners, the UAE International Investors Council, bring together under their umbrella groups of highly relevant companies developing multi-billion dollar businesses. Basically, through the memorandum we signed, Romanian companies are brought to the table for concrete business discussions with investment funds and formidable business groups such as Mubadala, ADNOC, Dubai Investments, Majid Al Futtaim, ADIA, ADQ, Emirati Investment Authority and Sharhaj Asset Management, etc.


In addition to the main elements of the memorandum, facilitating foreign investment and accelerating the internationalisation of companies, we value the transfer of know-how that UAE companies can achieve. The UAE is a model of best practice, with perhaps one of the fastest growing economies in the world in a short period of time. They have created a new model of development and are taking important steps in the transition from an oil-based economy to a complex and diversified economic system with a special focus on new technologies. More specifically, in the field of technology, the UAE has already started implementing the process to propel it among the global leaders in technology, according to the country's strategy for the next 50 years. In energy, the UAE has been working hard to diversify its energy sources, investing significantly and intelligently in the energy of the future, including nuclear and renewable energy.


What are the main advantages that Romania and Romanian companies can leverage to attract significant investments from UAE investment groups?

Romania's economic characteristics, its membership of the European Union and its strategic geographical position are the general elements that place Romania in a position to carry out large-scale projects with UAE partners.

I will detail each aspect in turn. Romania is one of the largest economies in the European Union, ranking 8th in terms of PPP GDP, surpassing countries such as Belgium, Ireland, Sweden, Portugal. Moreover, Romania's membership of the European Union and its economic, legislative and cultural alignment with this area gives any investor access to the largest common economic market in the world and to a region that is favourable for developing business. From a logistics perspective, Romania is positioned as one of the main gateways to Europe. In terms of air transport, Romania is the first point of entry into the EU for flights from the UAE. From a shipping perspective, the port of Constanta offers very easy access to Eastern Europe, which is currently Europe's "industrial workshop".


I will also briefly mention the two sectors that were the subject of our recent summit in Abu Dhabi: technology and energy.

As far as tech is concerned, Romania has attracted the attention of the Emirates because of its innovation capacity in the IT field. Romanian companies stood out for the top technological products launched on the market. The problem in scaling up these companies has been the lack of adequate funding and international marketing capabilities. The UAE can help overcome both of these impediments. Financing opportunities in the UAE market are far superior to those in Romania, while in terms of marketing capacity, the UAE is an international benchmark of best practice.


About energy, Romania is the only EU member country that manages to cover its gas consumption needs almost exclusively from domestic sources. We also have a number of discovered but as yet untapped deposits. Moreover, our country has one of the highest shares of renewable energy sources in the total energy mix, and the potential for further development is huge given international trends to support the development of such projects.


Which fields have the greatest potential for such investments?

I would not isolate individual domains to exemplify Romania's potential. Our country's economy has reached a level of complexity that allows for investment potential in almost every sector. The wider opportunity, in my opinion, lies in the potential for Join Venture time projects between national champions who have demonstrated their ability to conquer the domestic market and relevant partners in the UAE who can contribute financially and with expertise to internationalise these national champions and turn them into regional and international champions. We have the business intelligence to be able to do this, we have the products and services at international standards that can penetrate the global market, we also have the competitive advantages generated by our country's strategic positioning and competitive human resource.


What is the objective of the business summit organised by The Gulf-Romania Investment Council in Abu Dhabi on 10-11 November? With what intentions did Romanian companies participate?

RO-UAE Tech & Energy Summit, the event organized by The Gulf-Romania Investment Council, aimed to be a platform that facilitates dialogue between Romanian and UAE companies and the construction of concrete avenues of collaboration that will ultimately generate tangible and consistent results in the business environment of the two sectors.

Representatives of Romanian companies, who attended the event in Abu Dhabi, expressed their interest in meeting the right investors, who deeply understand their product or service and who want to contribute to the internationalization of their company and facilitate access to the market in the Emirate or the GCC region.

For their part, the United Arab Emirates, through the voice of representatives of investment funds and several major companies, confirm their increased interest in investing in Romania. RO-UAE Tech & Energy Summit, the event organized by The Gulf-Romania Investment Council, aimed to be a platform that facilitates dialogue between Romanian and UAE companies and the construction of concrete avenues of collaboration that will ultimately generate tangible and consistent results in the business environment of the two sectors.

Representatives of Romanian companies, who attended the event in Abu Dhabi, expressed their interest in meeting the right investors, who deeply understand their product or service and who want to contribute to the internationalization of their company and facilitate access to the market in the UAE or the GCC region.

For their part, the United Arab Emirates, through the voice of representatives of investment funds and several major companies, confirm their increased interest in investing in Romania.


Why did you organize this event now?

Traditionally, Romania and the UAE have had very good relations at the strategic and political level, which have recently been strengthened through a series of high-level visits, culminating in the meeting of the Prime Minister of Romania with the President of the UAE in June this year. This friendly approach at governmental level gives us entrepreneurs a solid foundation on which to build, in the desire to make the strategic partnership between the two countries a reality and by developing concrete business opportunities. This is also the aim of the GRIC.


What's next?

We plan to closely monitor the status of project development. We are at the stage of collecting feedback from the event and have developed a map of companies and projects, both in Romania and the Emirates, so that we can facilitate and streamline the collaboration process going forward.

At the same time, we are already working on the same objectives for other sectors, such as agriculture, food service, environment, logistics, tourism, real estate.


https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-gulf-romania-investment-council/?viewAsMember=true

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