INVESTMENT SYMPOSIUM DRAWS FOREIGN INTEREST INCLUDING DELEGATION FROM UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Canada, and Alberta in particular, were highly touted during a symposium in Calgary on Wednesday designed to attract foreign investment in energy and other industry.
“We had high potential investors here and they were in a number of sectors,” said Mary Moran, CEO of Calgary Economic Development. “Clean tech and renewables, oil and gas and petrochemicals, agriculture, agro business and also tourism and the hotel industry, we always get great leads out of those opportunities at investment symposium and we expect to get greater ones.”
According to Moran, the symposium attracted roughly 100 investors, representing 60 countries, including a delegation from the United Arab Emirates.
“From the UAE’s perspective, they invest about half of their investment in Canada right into Alberta and into the energy industry which is about $15 billion over the last 15 years,” said Moran. “We’re trying to expand that and, with the talent that we have here, try to work with them on projects that we can lend our talent to.”
“They’re a global energy centre, as are we, and I think there’s a lot of shared goals and visions on what the energy industry needs to become including reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
Mustafa Sahin, president and executive director of the Canada-UAE Business Council (CUBC), says uncertainty within the framework of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has Canada actively pursuing avenues to diversify its trade and Canada’s largest export market in the Middle East is the UAE at $2 billion.
Sahin says the symposium is an opportunity to foster and develop growth in the relationship between the UAE and Canada.
“The UAE, at present, has almost $30 billion invested into Canada already but half of that is actually into Alberta, about $15 billion, so there’s significant investment already,” explained Sahin. “The theme of the symposium is building on success so we wanted to build on the success that’s already here in Alberta.”
Moran says the symposium was buoyed by the recent remarks of Suhail Al Mazrouei, the president of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the UAE’s Minister of Energy, during his time in Calgary.
“To hear from the president of OPEC and (for) the investors to hear the confidence in the energy industry and the confidence in the energy in Alberta was really helped,” said Moran.
Mazrouei also implored Alberta to promote its technological advancements to the world in an effort to lure additional business during his interview with BNN Bloomberg’s Tara Weber.
Marg McCuaig-Boyd, Alberta’s Minister of Energy, says the province has had a really good start in its campaigns to raise awareness to the importance of Alberta’s oil and gas sector but agrees with Mazrouei’s take.
“I think he’s right. We can always do more,” said McCuaig-Boyd during the Stampede Week Energy Open House event in Calgary on Wednesday. “Honestly, we could be the energy leader of the world, not just Canada or North America.”
McCuaig-Boyd says there is reason for optimism given the progress in the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
“I think (Mazrouei) would agree with me that we see a lot of potential in the next 12 months here.”
Francois-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s Minister for International Trade, visited Dubai in March, when he said he’d discussed creating a hangar dedicated to Canadian firms with DP World to improve supply times to customers in the region. “The way to do that is obviously to stock some of the products here in Dubai,” he said.