North Kerala districts seek UAE ties


by Krishnan Nayar

CALICUT, India, 18th January, 2020 (WAM) – The business community in north Kerala yesterday urged the UAE to take advantage of the region’s unique advantages, which make it an ideal business partner for the Gulf region, and expand commercial ties between the two sides.

Concrete proposals to realise the untapped potential of north Kerala by entrepreneurs and government undertakings in the emirates were made during a roundtable interaction between a representative group of businessmen here and the UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, along with the UAE Ambassador to India, Dr. Ahmed Al Banna.

The interactive discourse was held under the auspices of the north Kerala chapter of the Confederation of Indian Industry, CII, on the Indian side and the Commercial Office of the UAE Embassy in New Delhi, headed by Ahmad Al Falahi, who moderated the session. North Kerala comprises four districts in the north of the state, which have large Muslim inhabitants and a history of centuries-old people-to-people links with Arab countries.

Nityanand Kamath, one of businessmen who spoke at the meeting said Calicut and its adjoining towns in north Kerala were unique in having a skilled population which spoke Arabic.

"There is no other region in India where Arabic is widely spoken," Kamath said.

"This population could do back office operations for UAE companies at very competitive rates."

Mehroof Manalody, Chairman of the north Kerala chapter of CII, said people in this region were eagerly looking forward to the opening of Expo 2020 Dubai and assured the UAE delegation of visits to the Expo in large numbers.

"Almost every home in north Kerala has someone in the Gulf. So events like Expo 2020 Dubai are closely followed here. Manalody, who has had a business association with the UAE for 16 years, is now keen to set up a centre of excellence in skilling in the UAE.

Most of the participants in the interactive session have had experience of business ties with the UAE. They used the opportunity of this face-to-face interaction with the UAE side to explore new avenues of business or deepen existing cooperation.

They praised the activities of Masdar and said they were looking for business opportunities for Kerala with the expertise and experience from the UAE in renewable energy. Dr. Al Banna said the Commercial Office of the UAE in New Delhi was open to these businessmen to explore avenues for cooperation.

The UAE Minister, members of his team and the Ambassador had a meeting with Pinarayi Vijayan, Chief Minister of Kerala and his cabinet colleague in charge of tourism, Kadakampally Surendran.

The UAE Minister and the Kerala Chief Minister recalled a statement in 2018 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, that "the people of Kerala have always been and are still part of our success story in the UAE."

WAM/Hassan Bashir