GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Economic diversification in the GCC with special reference to Agricultural-sector: Diversification strategies and programs.
Paper Proposal Text :
Economic Diversification: Challenges and Opportunities in the GCC - Workshop 9

Economic diversification in the GCC with special reference to Agricultural-sector: Diversification strategies and programs.
Salma Saeed Ahmed Bani, Senior Executive Program Planning, Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning, Email:

It has been seen that Gulf cooperation Council countries ‘economic diversification has affected diversification strategies and programs especially in the Agricultural-sector. The agricultural sector in GCC countries has appealed growing concern and development focus due to the uncertainty caused by the supply shocks experienced globally in the last five years for food items. Also, as a result of a combination of resource-related factors that limit production, including land scarcity, water scarcity and climate conditions, food security continues to be a challenge for the GCC with imported food accounting for 80-90% of all food consumed. Therefore, as global food prices remain potentially unstable and the ability to produce locally remains constrained by GCC’s resource endowment. Thus, in order to manage supply and price volatility in agriculture GCC governments will depend upon successful economic diversification.

GCC’s understand the importance of diversifying their economy based on the abundant hydrocarbon resources. However, evidence of diversification may vary in different sectors. With reference to food security, the GCC countries have strengthened their agro-security by the acquisition of large areas of farmland outside their own national borders and are investing heavily in major agricultural projects in Sudan, Ethiopia, Egypt, Turkey, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Philippines, and Brazil (Woertz 2013; Al Obaid 2010; Deninger et al. 2011). The challenges of climate conditions, coupled with supply and price volatility in agriculture, placed food security policy on the forefront of the national development agenda in GCC. Thus, GCC should align national initiatives to strategically address issues highlighted above since return on investment from agricultural policies are usually are subject to a time lag. As result of all above, the aim of this paper is to critically assess the current diversification strategies and programs in the Agricultural-sector in GCC and underline some key assumptions that could lead to the development of a new mode of diversification in the GCC context . The challenges of diversification in terms of strategic planning, policy-making, implementation, and global best practices on food security issue will be discussed in paper. Thus, in order to diversification to succeed , GCC countries needs to address the main challenges of legal and regulatory systems and coordination between policymaking and policy implementation.

Key words: Economic diversification; Diversification Strategies; Agricultural-sector; food security.