Oliver Oehms, CEO of the German Emirati Joint Council for Industry & Commerce (AHK)
Oliver Oehms, CEO of the German Emirati Joint Council for Industry & Commerce (AHK) Image Credit: Supplied

What are the key responsibilities and duties of the German Emirati Joint Council for Industry & Commerce (AHK)?

AHK is an official bilateral business organisation that builds bridges between Emirati and German companies. We currently represent close to 500 corporate members as a private, not-for-profit organisation. Being equipped with a mandate from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, we work in close cooperation with the German diplomatic missions here in the UAE. We not only nurture and support the local Emirati-German business community but we also advise newcomers on the respective markets how and where to start. In this regard we cooperate closely with a multitude of local stakeholders, for instance free zones but also Dubai FDI or ADIO. Good friends and partners!

How would you describe Germany’s relationship with the UAE in the context of industry and commerce and what are the key sectors of mutual interest?

The engagement of German Industry and German entrepreneurs here in the UAE dates back to its early days, and it is all-embracing. German firms supported the physical development of the young country in the seventies, and now we witness start-ups and young founders exploring the fantastic platform the UAE has been able to create in the last 50 years.

Now, the UAE is home to a significant ecosystem of German firms, ranging across all sectors, industries as well as services. I like to refer to the German tax accountant, the German-owned car workshop and the German physiotherapist, which all call the UAE home. There are many medium-sized to large German industrial champions that serve a large and growing region from the UAE, with significant and extremely talented international teams.

How has the UAE leaderships’ support for cultivating ties helped German industry in the country develop in the recent past?

Our outreach from the UAE leadership has been just marvelous recently. We see a great deal of openness within the Government, not least triggered by the successful visit of H.H. Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan to Berlin in mid-2019. As AHK, we enjoy the patronage of H.E. Ahmed Al-Sayegh, Minister of State, who has been an important caretaker of bilateral business relations, complementing the engagement of our bilateral Board of Directors, under the leadership of our longstanding President, Honorable Saeed Al-Faheem.

How would you describe German cooperation with the UAE during the pandemic and how has that helped both countries to continue to achieve success?

For our member companies it has been extremely important that the UAE did its utmost to return to normal business conventions as soon as it was deemed possible. By doing so, the UAE set a worldwide example of excellent public management. Also, looking into the large community of German business representatives and their families, opening up schools and nurseries was a strong sign that made us feel safe, always welcome and at home. Hardly anyone left the UAE in a difficult 2020, and this tells a lot.

What should we look forward to with AHK’s and Germany’s participation in EXPO 2020 Dubai?

First of all, Germany is the only country featuring two pavilions at EXPO 2020, as next to the breathtaking federal pavilion Campus Germany, the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg will have its own house. And even more – SAP and Siemens are premier partners of EXPO and hence will operate their own platforms at the Expo site.

Many public and private organisations and institutions are preparing for visits during the next six months. In many, if not all, AHK is involved as the official partner of the two German pavilions. This means a lot of work for us, but having seen the two German flagship buildings emerge and grow, we are getting very excited. I can promise that Germany will not disappoint anyone!”