By Aarti Nagrah / Gulf Business
A series of seven joint initiatives have been announced by the executive committee of the Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council, which held its first meeting in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
The initiatives, which cover a range of sectors such as cryptocurrency, civil aviation and customs, aim to strengthen economic, social and military integration between the two countries.
The committee is headed by the UAE’s Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future and Saudi’s Mohammed bin Mazyad Altwaijri, minister of Economy and Planning.
They announced that the seven new measures cover integration in the fields of services and financial markets, tourism, aviation, entrepreneurship, customs and security, official news agency WAM reported.
The committee is tasked with ensuring the implementation of the joint initiatives.
The Saudi-Emirati council held its first meeting in Jeddah in June last year, where they signed a partnership for economic, developmental and military integration through 44 strategic projects.
The seven new initiatives announced include:
1. Saudi-Emirati pilot cryptocurrency
The cross-border digital currency, launched at the meeting, will be “strictly targeted” for banks during an experimental phase with the aim of better understanding the implications of blockchain technology and facilitating cross-border payments, WAM reported.
The virtual currency relies on the use of a distributed database between the central banks and the participating banks from both sides. It seeks to “safeguard customer interests, set technology standards and assess cybersecurity risks”, the report said.
The project will also determine the impact of a central currency on monetary policies.
2. Easy flow of traffic at entry ports
This initiative facilitates the easy flow of traffic at the entry ports between Saudi Arabia and the UAE and at customs outlets through the adoption of the fast track system within the network of “authorised economic operators”. A total of 41 companies from Saudi and 40 from the UAE have been listed in the network.
The initiative aims to improve operations between customs and commercial establishments, and facilitate trade between the two countries, the report said.
3. Joint platform to support SMEs
The countries will establish a joint platform that will allow registered SMEs to benefit from the government procurement allocations from both the countries and compete on federal government procurements.
4. Financial awareness programme for children
The programme teach children aged between seven and 18 years old about the basics of finance.
The programme will “enable them to simulate the business world to learn about saving and smart spending, as well as understand the culture of entrepreneurship through customised training courses”, WAM reported.
5. Joint exercise to test the supply security system
The joint training exercise will test the countries’ supply chain security system during a crisis or natural disaster, and identify the points of improvement and develop a plan accordingly, the report stated.
This will help create direct communication between the relevant units in both countries during emergency times, and promote the sharing of expertise, knowledge and experience.
6. Ensure disabled-friendly airports
The initiative seeks to enhance the experience of travellers from the People of Determination category by
This initiative will seek to ensure the compliance of disabled-friendly airports in both countries. It will also standardise travel procedures and regulations for accompanying members, WAM reported.
Airport crew will also be trained to ensure that ‘people of determination’ are guaranteed all their rights, the report added.
7. Common market for civil aviation
The common market will aim to achieve integration and cooperation in the civil aviation sector in vital areas including air navigation, safety and security, and investigation of air accidents.
“The common aviation market is considered to be an advanced stage of economic integration”, the report said.