Investment in Syria growing

A UN investigation into Syrian involvement in the murder of a former Lebanese leader has not hurt foreign investment in Syria, which is surging due to strong support from Gulf nations.

Al-Dardari says there has been strong investment from the Gulf
Al-Dardari says there has been strong investment from the Gulf

Abd Allah al-Dardari, Syria’s deputy prime minister, who is also in charge of economic affairs, said that foreign investment reached $1.8 billion by the end of last month, up from $720 million for all of last year.

 

Total private investment from all sources rose to $6 billion in the first 10 months of the year, up from $4 billion last year, he said.

 

“We have noticed an outpouring of Arab investment, especially from the Gulf, into Syria,” al-Dardari told reporters on Monday.

 

“Arab investors would like to see Syria strong and flourishing in the face of external pressure.”

 

Billion dollar projects

 

The government recently announced projects totalling $5 billion involving Gulf companies, and expects another $1 billion worth of new Arab investment before the year-end, he said.

 

“Until now, we haven’t seen any negative impact of the UN investigations and the political environment surrounding Syria on foreign investment in the country,” al-Dardari said.

 

Syria has come under pressure following a UN investigation 

Syria has come under pressure
following a UN investigation 

Syria has come under international pressure after UN investigations into the death of Rafiq al-Hariri, the former Lebanese Prime Minister who was killed with 20 other people in a truck bombing in Beirut on 14 February.

 

Last month, UN investigators issued an interim report that said Syrian intelligence played a role in the murder, and criticised Syria for hindering the interviewing of witnesses. The Syrian government has maintained its innocence.

 

Reforms

 

Al-Dardari said Syria had embarked on a new phase of economic reforms and liberalisation, with plans for eight more industrial parks, new airports, infrastructure and technology projects.

 

“2005 is the turning point for private investment … after decades of centrally clamped economy with public-sector dominated activities,” he said.

 

The government projects that the economy will grow an average of 5% annually and accelerate to a 7% to 8% growth rate from 2010 to 2015, he said.

 

Syria is also exploring plans to set up a hub in Malaysia to tap the Southeast Asian market, especially in the Islamic halal food market such as meat and dairy products, he said.

 

Earlier, al-Dardari and Muyhiddin Yassin, Malaysia‘s Agriculture Minister, witnessed the signing of an agreement on agriculture co-operation.

Source : News Agencies

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