UAE-Lithuania Business Forum highlights economic opportunities for both countries
November 2nd 2021, Dubai, UAE: The UAE-Lithuania Business Forum brought together influential figures from the Baltic nation and the leaders of Dubai’s leading economic hubs for an exchange of ideas on potential opportunities between the two countries.
Following a breakfast networking session, keynote presentations were delivered by Jurate Ramoskiene, Charge d’Affaires at the Embassy of Lithuania; Saud Abu Alshawareb, Managing Director of Dubai Industrial City; Daina Klepone, Managing Director of Enterprise Lithuania; Marwan Abdulaziz Janahi, Managing Director of Dubai Science Park (DSP); and Sarunas Celiesius, Director of Litfood.
During her keynote address, Ramoskiene said, “Two years after establishing our embassy, despite the exceptional global conditions, we know that we have a lot of friends in the UAE, and we continue to strengthen our bilateral relations.”
“We see huge opportunities for our two regional hubs – the UAE as a regional hub for the Middle East that is well known for logistics, applied technology and innovation, and Lithuania as a gateway to Europe for the Middle East. It’s our wish that we join hands, given our strategic locations and make this happen.”
Abu Alshawareb highlighted Dubai Industrial City’s strengths as a leading regional manufacturing ecosystem and how it is positioned to help the emirate achieve Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030. He shared information about hub’s advantages for manufacturers across a range of sectors.
The supply chain disruption caused by the pandemic has re-emphasized the importance of food security globally. It’s why our visionary leadership initiated strategic diversification programs and prioritized manufacturing including F&B. Dubai Industrial City is working to attract F&B companies to the district, which has more than 23.5 million sq. ft. of land dedicated to the sector. Notable Dubai Industrial City F&B partners include Al Barakah, the world’s largest dates factory; Asmak, the region’s largest seafood processing and logistics facility; and Anorka Food Industries, which manufactures and exports ‘Made in UAE’ coffee beverages to a number of international markets, including Canada.
Sarunas Celiesius, Director of Litfood, emphasized that the situation of future agricultural challenges for both Lithuania and UAE are different considering geographical location and the factors that are determined by this. Nevertheless, global challenges are the same to all of us, therefore both countries can join forces in the field of R&D in search of innovative and sustainable food industry solutions. Speaking about the Lithuanian agri-food sector, S. Celiesius highlighted that Lithuania traditionally holds a strong and very much competitive position in the production of food products, with a focus on organic production and sustainable farming, national heritage combined with the innovations at the same time. „The main driving force for our exporters is willingness to find expanding markets with the growing demand of high-quality food products, where the standards of safety and quality is a priority and deservedly appreciated. Today we export our agricultural products to as many as 154 countries, which reflects that they are well known all around the world We all see this potential in the UAE and broader Gulf region, therefore we always have big interest from our businesses to participate in Gulfood exibition and in events related to the access of this market.”
Abu Alshawareb cited fourth industrial revolution technologies such as AI, IoT and robotics as keen focus areas of investment for Dubai Industrial City partners, and said “we are looking to attract companies in these areas to the UAE, and we offer extensive support to have those companies come here.”
“The ‘Made in UAE’ label will really open doors for Lithuanian products to reach global markets. The gate for the Middle East, Africa and Asia is Dubai, and having a manufacturing facility in Dubai offers a lot of advantages, particularly the ability to export to GCC and other countries in the MENA region with no customs.”
Klepone said, “Lithuania is an open platform of innovation,” adding that her country owns 10 percent of the global scientific laser market and saw substantial growth in exports over 2020 in both life sciences (62 percent) and high-tech engineering (14 percent).
Asked about the immediate opportunities that both UAE and Lithuanian communities can leverage, she said, “I can see that there are a lot of pharmaceutical and biotech companies here, you have Thermo Fisher, which also has a big presence in Lithuania. While we have a large food sector, the future is in the growth of high technology, so I would like to see stronger cooperation in sectors such as biotech, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, photovoltaic panels and electric vehicles.”
Janahi gave the audience an overview of what Dubai Science Park, the region’s only dedicated business ecosystem to pharma, material and life sciences as well as environment and energy businesses, offers. He highlighted how the park’s business partners played an instrumental role in the UAE’s battle against the coronavirus through 2020.
Janahi said, “Similar to food security, medical security matters. Investment in healthcare, in general, is at its highest levels. There are a lot of opportunities to look at: Pharmaceutical and generic manufacturing – how can we increase our capabilities in that area? Dubai Science Park is uniquely positioned to help in those areas, not only with the private sector but also with the government.
“There are a lot of opportunities in pharmaceutical and generic medicine manufacturing,” he added, highlighting Lithuania’s life sciences strength, especially in genetics, as a potential avenue of cooperation.”