Vimala Vasan

Abu Dhabi, Dec. 7

MEMBERS of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI), the apex business regulatory authority of the oil rich emirate of Abu Dhabi, has elected a prominent Abu Dhabi-based NRI businessman to its board of directors. Mr Yousuf Ali M.A., Managing Director of the EMKE Group, retail giants of West Asia, has won the first ever election held on the December 5.

ADCCI, with over 50,000 members, plays a major role in the business decision-making process and its role will be very crucial as the country is witnessing a booming economic growth fuelled by high oil revenues.

This election is seen as a trend-setting step by the authorities, as foreigners were allowed to contest and vote for the first time in this part of the world. Fifteen businessmen from countries such as Canada, Ireland, Egypt, Lebanon, Pakistan and Bangladesh contested in the election.

Mr Ali got the highest vote, and his margin of lead was almost double that of the nearest candidate. In all, 15 members were elected, including 13 UAE nationals; another six will be directly nominated by the President of UAE's decree.

Commenting after the results were announced, Mr Ali said, "I see this move to allow expatriates into the governing body of ADCCI as a very welcome step by the authorities. I see this as a gesture of appreciation from the government for the contributions of the foreign business community towards the economic growth of UAE, especially Abu Dhabi."

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 8, 2005)
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