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GCC currency would give states the power to chart their own course

It is high time for the GCC countries to fully assume the helm, namely at the economic level (File/AFP)
It is high time for the GCC countries to fully assume the helm, namely at the economic level (File/AFP)
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26 May 2023 10:05:07 GMT9
26 May 2023 10:05:07 GMT9

In today’s interdependent global economy, the strength of financial currencies and unilateral decisions made by certain countries has a significant impact on the entire world. The dominance of the US dollar in the exchange market often jeopardizes other countries. I wonder, has the time not come to establish independent monetary policies?

Most of the time, our economies are closely linked, in a negative way, to a country that charts the economic and financial path of the whole world based on its own interests and unilateral decisions. This dependency is harmful because of the Federal Reserve’s policies and how it deals with crises. The world’s countries are forced to catch up with the Federal Reserve and follow the same monetary policy with prior knowledge of the damage it may cause to their economies, especially recently after inflation rates rose to about 5 percent in the US. The US central bank raised interest rates 10 times in 14 months, taking them to their highest levels in nearly 20 years, according to the BBC.

On the other hand, the GCC states have proven their supremacy and economic and political sway at the global level, in addition to their strategic position as a geographic focal point. These countries are major players in the economic and political fields on the global scene, whether through the oil trade that rules over the global market or the non-oil trade exchanges that exceeded, for example, 281 billion dirhams ($76 billion) between the UAE and the group of Gulf states in 2022, an increase of 14 percent compared to 2021, according to UAE newspaper Al-Bayan.

Based on these facts, it is high time for the GCC countries to fully assume the helm, namely at the economic level, by establishing a common currency. The Egyptian Arab Republic and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan can be invited to join. Such a step would reduce dependency and ensure more independence in shaping monetary policies, in addition to enhancing economic stability and consolidating regional integration. It would also consolidate the position of the UAE and Saudi Arabia as global leaders, thanks to their infrastructure, which has solid economic, social and political foundations.

Our economies are closely linked, in a negative way, to a country that charts the economic and financial path of the whole world

Khalaf Ahmad Al-Habtoor

It should be noted that such a model is not a product of the imagination. There are successful examples, such as the BRICS alliance (made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), which seeks to establish its own currency to shield member states from the fluctuations and influence of the American dollar and to give them more control over their economies and monetary policies. As Alexander Babakov, deputy chairman of Russia’s State Duma, put it, the unified BRICS currency will be developed strategically and will not be pegged to the US dollar or the Euro — and the member nations plan to back their currency with gold and rare metals.

In Europe, the Euro emerged as a solid and successful way to get rid of the dollar’s dominance. The eurozone (comprising 19 member states of the EU) has adopted the Euro as a common currency. The Euro gives these countries greater autonomy and enhanced domestic control over economic factors. Despite occasional economic challenges and disparities within the eurozone, the Euro stands as a viable alternative to the dollar, offering the potential for successfully breaking free from the dollar’s hegemony.

The experience of economic interdependence among GCC states is one of the most critical and realistic models in the global order so far. We must strive to free ourselves from the shackles and fluctuations of the dollar. We shall have the sole right to decide on our fate and the fate of our economies. Politics defines the economy; they are mutually interdependent. In light of the current events in the world, the global economic situation — namely the monetary policies and economic independence of states — must be revisited.

Thanks to their economic acumen and geopolitical significance, the GCC states have the potential to lead the way toward the development of a common currency in collaboration with Egypt and Jordan. This would enable them to formulate and implement monetary policies and would provide them with the flexibility to respond more effectively to domestic and global economic conditions. It would consolidate the sense of collective identity and unity among the GCC states and symbolize a common vision and shared objectives, facilitating smooth trade and investment flows among countries, encouraging cross-border economic activities and promoting close cooperation in fiscal policy.

A common currency not pegged to the dollar would indicate the GCC’s commitment to economic independence and self-reliance. And it would send a strong message to the international community that the GCC countries can chart their own economic path and reduce their dependence on external factors.

  • Khalaf Ahmad Al-Habtoor is a prominent UAE businessman and public figure. He is renowned for his views on international political affairs, his philanthropic activity, and his efforts to promote peace. He has long acted as an unofficial ambassador for his country abroad.
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