Stockholm (NordSIP) Denmark Environment and Food Minister Esben Lunde Larsen (V) led a delegation of 40 Danish business leaders to the United Arab Emirates last week to ascertain investment and export opportunities in the desert country. Joining them were Dansk Industri (Confederation of Danish Industry), State of Green and Økologisk Landsforening (the national ecological association).
Despite a growing population and a healthy tourist industry concentrated in Dubai, the UAE remains among the ten poorest countries in the world, with non-existent ground water and a 12 per cent increase in food requirements annually. The Emirates are in the process of launching a considerable investment in water technology, improved waste management and renewable energy.
The average citizen in the UAE consumes over twice as much water as the global average. 95 per cent is currently produced by desalinising seawater, an energy-intensive and expensive process. In addition, there is still a relative loss of water when it is brought to consumers, estimated at somewhere between 8 and 30 per cent, according to the Emirate.
“If there is anything Denmark can deliver, it is efficient, cost-saving water solutions and the newest environmental technologies,” Larsen said.
Danish exports to the UAE amounted to DKK 3.2 billion in 2016. According to Dansk Industri, Danish export growth to the Emirates will be around three per cent annually over the next five years.
“The United Arab Emirates has the objective of becoming a model for the rest of the world in terms of sustainability and low energy consumption,” Larsen said. “We can deliver a large part of the technology and knowledge they need to improve their water consumption and waste management. Simultaneously, there is an increasing need to import food for the growing population.”
“This is an option Danish companies must seize. We can deliver everything from ecological chocolate to dairy products on a large scale… Many companies already have one foot firmly planted in the UAE. Now we must plant the second foot to that they can share in the growing demand for Danish environmental technology and food,” Lunde said.
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