Vision, Challenges and Ambitions

Integration Prospects for a Better Future


The Second GCC-British Economic Forum took place on 21st July 2016 in the elegant setting of Lancaster House, London, with some 250 delegates from the Gulf countries, Britain and around the world in attendance.  The high-level forum, organised by the Arab British Chamber of Commerce, was widely hailed as a success by participants. The day-long event provided a unique platform for British and Gulf decision makers to discuss common challenges and topical issues such as the economic vision of the GCC countries and the UK’s decision to withdraw from the European Union.  The international conference was an opportunity to identify new areas of cooperation and to develop joint strategies for productive engagement. 


Formally opening the Forum, Dr Afnan Al-Shuaiby, Secretary General & CEO, ABCC, expressed gratitude to all the supporters, sponsors and partners who had contributed to making the event possible. The 2nd GCC-Britain Economic Forum built on the success of the 1st GCC-Britain Economic Forum which was held in December 2014. The Chamber’s main commercial partner, PepsiCo, was warmly thanked for its generosity and vital contribution. His Royal Highness, The Duke of York and His Excellency Dr Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, were the opening keynote speakers. They were followed by H E Dr Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi, Minister of Commerce and Investment, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and H E Mr Zayed Rashid Al Zayani, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Kingdom of Bahrain. The final keynote speaker was the Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP, the newly appointed Secretary of State for International Trade. Rt Hon Baroness Symons, Chairman, ABCC, said that the impressive number of Gulf delegates attending the Forum was very encouraging. For his part, HRH The Duke of York praised the strong relationship between the UK and the GCC which was based on respect and cooperation.


The programme’s theme, “Vision, Challenges and Ambitions: Integration Prospects for a Better Future”, consisted of five sessions to address urgent topics such as economic reform, social and economic development, entrepreneurship, the role of public-private partnerships and the implications of “Brexit”. The timeliness and relevance of the programme was widely remarked upon.


The Forum’s speakers were drawn from the UK and the Gulf to pool their knowledge and expertise. The sessions were moderated and chaired by senior members of the House of Lords, namely the Rt Hon Baroness Morris of Bolton OBE, the Rt Hon the Lord Howell of Guildford, the Rt Hon the Lord King of Bridgwater, Lord Clement-Jones CBE and Rt Hon the Lord West of Spithead, who had all previously served as government ministers. The high-level speakers who participated in the five sessions came from business, law, banking, the universities and the media.


The Forum was attended by many Arab Ambassadors, senior business executives and many of the Chamber’s corporate members. The event attracted strong delegations from across the GCC. There was sufficient time allocated in the programme for networking and a real interest in the topics under discussion which was reflected in the lively exchange of ideas between the audience and speakers. In organising the Forum, the Chamber was fulfilling its strategic role in encouraging closer ties and cooperation between the UK and the Arab countries. The Chamber was widely praised for its successful organisation of the Forum.


>> Take a look at the Photo Gallery for the 2nd GCC-British Economic Forum


Take a look at our previous forum that took place at the Landmark on 4th of December 2014 View Gallery and Report Summary









Download the Official Forum Programme


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HRH The Duke of York, KG



H.E. Dr Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani

Secretary General, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)


H.E. Dr Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi

Minister of Commerce and Investment, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia



H.E. Mr Zayed Rashid Al Zayani

Minister of Industry Commerce & Tourism, Kingdom of Bahrain


  The Rt. Hon Dr Liam Fox MP

Secretary of State for International Trade, United Kingdom


The Rt. Hon. Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

Chairman, Arab-British Chamber of Commerce


Dr. Afnan Al-Shuaiby
Secretary General & CEO, Arab-British Chamber of Commerce




Session Chairs


- Session 1 -

- Economic reform the driver in building strong and balanced economy and sustainable development -

Session Chair: The Baroness Morris of Bolton OBE



- Session 2 -

- Social and Economic Development for the future -

Session Chair: The Rt Hon. the Lord Howell of Guildford



  - Session 3 -

- Youth Entrepreneurship, Innovation, as engines of economic growth and employment -

Session Chair: The Rt Hon. the Lord King of Bridgwater CH



- Session 4 -

- The role of (PPP) Public Private Partnerships in securing investment and the future -

Session Chair: The Lord Clement-Jones CBE


- Session 5 -

- “Brexit” what it means and how it will impact the GCC -

Session Chair: The Rt Hon. the Lord West of Spithead GCB DSC





Session Speakers

 (In Alphabetical Order)


H.E. Dr Abdullah El-Kuwaiz

  Chairman of Acwa Power's Advisory Board


H.E. Abdulrahman Rashed Al Rashed

Managing Partner, Rashed Abdul Rahman Al Rashed & Sons Group


H.E. Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Sayed

Founder & CEO, Sharq Capital



James Sproule

Chief Economist and Director of Policy, Institute of Directors (IoD)


Jan Toporowski

Professor of Economics and Finance, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London



 H.E. Khalid Rashid Al Zayani OBE

Honorary Chairman, Alzayani Investments Group of Companies



 Lubna Qassim

Group Chief General Counsel and Company Secretary, Emirates NBD (PJSC)



H.E. Marwan Al Sarkal

CEO, Sharjah Investment And Development Authority (Shurooq)



Nick Prior

Partner, Head of Global Infrastructure & Capital Projects, Deloitte



Oliver Cornock

Managing Editor, Middle East, Oxford Business Group



Philip Wood CBE, QC (hon)
Special Global Counsel & Lawyer, Allen & Overy


Rania Rizk

Senior Vice President & General Counsel, PepsiCo, Asia, Middle East & North Africa



Professor Richard Murphy

Professor of Practice in International Political Economy, City University

Director, Tax Research LLP



Rupert Gather

Executive Chairman, InvestUK


Tony Smith  

 Head of Legal Department, Altra Capital Ltd 



Vicky Pryce

Chief Economic Adviser, CEBR, Former Joint Head, Government Economic Service (GES)


Professor William Scott-Jackson

Chairman, Oxford Strategic Consulting 


H.E. Dr Yahya A. Alyahya

Executive Director, Gulf International Bank





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