February 20, 2018

UAE Security Forum 2017: Defense Industry and Economic Diversification

UAESF 2017

The past half century has seen unprecedented modernization and growth among the oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Council countries, which today rank among the world leaders in per capita income. However, GCC leaders recognize that oil resources alone cannot sustain economic prosperity over the long term, and so are seeking to create a diversified private sector that generates income from a variety of thriving industries.

On December 6, 2017, the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington partnered with Raytheon to host the second annual UAE Security Forum. “UAESF 2017: Defense Industry and Economic Diversification” brought together private sector leaders from technology-driven industries in the United Arab Emirates, U.S. defense industry representatives, and policymakers to offer their perspectives on challenges and opportunities in Gulf countries’ efforts to wean their economies off government spending and state-controlled growth.

The forum aimed to aid in the creation of a diversified private sector in the GCC states, with the security sector at the core, and help introduce new policies that promote economic inclusion. Speakers identified sectors in which the GCC states might enhance private sector job growth and innovation in new technologies, security, and manufacturing. Additionally, they considered GCC state initiatives to foster government accountability and accessibility. Lastly, panelists suggested ways in which U.S. companies can assist in economic diversification efforts and the creation of sustainable private sector jobs.

Read Karen E. Young and Michael Elleman’s backgrounder on the current defense industry market and production capacity in the Gulf Arab states as well as Ambassador Marcelle M. Wahba’s commentary on economic transformation in the Gulf.

Click here to watch videos from UAESF 2017.