Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, has just returned from a successful visit to the United Arab Emirates. This latest visit is part of a growing programme of engagement with the region, which has seen a recent visit to Jersey by the Emirati Ambassador to the UK, as well as separate visits to the UAE by Senators Bailhache and Ozouf last year.
Senator Gorst attended meetings with government and businesses to discuss a range of issues, including financial services, international development, renewable energy and education.
One of the meetings he attended was with the Minister of Development and International Co-operation, Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi. They discussed ways of enhancing cooperation on international development and humanitarian action.
Senator Gorst said “We discussed potential cooperation opportunities and shared experiences in the field of overseas development. We could learn from the UAE’s experiences, given the excellent reputation of their aid programmes in Africa.
The Chief Minister also met the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (Climate Change) Dr Sultan Al Jaber at Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company. Dr. Al Jaber spearheaded the launch and establishment of Masdar in 2006 and continues to drive the company’s strategic direction as it takes on an increasingly prominent global role in advancing renewable energy and clean technology.
Senator Gorst highlighted Jersey's commitment to an environmentally friendly and sustainable future energy supply. He said “We discussed our shared objective of developing commercial scale renewable energy generation from our natural resources.
“I was interested to hear about the Masdar Institute’s research and development activities and I hope we can establish links in this area. I am keen to work towards developing tidal stream and solar technologies for the future.”
The delegation also met the CEO of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB), Mohammed Atta Khali Eraiqat. 13% of total bank deposits in Jersey now come from the Gulf, and following the success of a Jersey branch managed on its behalf, ADCB set up a standalone branch here earlier this year.
Senator Gorst added “The strong links that exist between Jersey and Emirati banks are particularly striking proof of the commercial worth of our relationship. Given the steady increase in deposits from the Gulf over the last couple of years, and the success of ADCB’s branch in Jersey, we expect Gulf deposits to increase.
“We want to broaden our connections by exploring opportunities both within our traditional areas of expertise, as well as branching into new and exciting initiatives.”
The delegation also toured Abu Dhabi’s flagship campus at Zayed University and held exploratory discussions regarding the possibility of Emirati students completing internships in Jersey.
Senator Gorst was accompanied by officials from the Chief Minister’s Department and the Economic Development Department, as well as representatives of Jersey Finance, which has an office in Abu Dhabi.