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“Businessmen in Saudi Arabia used to call me as NOKIA – Connecting People”– Mir Gazanfar Ali Zaki

“Mir Gazanfar Ali Zaki, General Secretary of Saudi Indian Business Network (SIBN), talks to TFT on receiving a Memento of Appreciation from H.E. Ahmad Javed, Ambassador of India, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia & Patron of SIBN and H.E. Md. Noor Rahman Sheikh, Consul General of India, Jeddah, K.S.A. & VicePatron of SIBN, under the patronage of Consulate General of India, Jeddah,for his Outstanding Contribution in organizing Trade Events, Seminars, Symposiums, Indian Food Festival, India @ 70 states programs, Trade delegations to India and Promoting Business Relations between two Countries Kingdom of Saudi Arabia & India at Elaf Galleria, Jeddah, K.S.A.”

TFT : Can you share with us your experience on receiving this honour of Outstanding Contribution for organizing trade events?

MGAZ : Being the General Secretary of SIBN, Indeed it’s been pleasure for me to receive the honour of outstanding Contribution from H.E. Ahmad Javed, Ambassador of India, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia & Patron of SIBN and H.E. Md. Noor Rahman Sheikh, Consul General of India, Jeddah, K.S.A. & Vice-Patron of SIBN, under the patronage of Consulate General of India, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for organizing Trade Events, Seminars, Symposiums, Indian Food Festivals, Incredible India, Make in India, Made in India, India @ 70 states programs, Trade delegations to India more than 30 times and Promoting Business Relations between two countries, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia & India, which I have contributed as a honorary service to my country. I feel very happy that my services are recognized.

TFT : According to you, what kind of innovative platforms can be introduced or organized considering the Indian Food Festival, meanwhile keeping in mind the exception of another food culture?

MGAZ : India and Saudi Arabia have to take initiatives in organizing various fusion food festivals, like Saudi-Indian food festival which combine both countries’ food culture and taste. On side lines of Saudi Indian Food festival, we can promote our Indian food products in Saudi Arabia and Saudi food products in India.

TFT : What do you think of the current business relations between Saudi Arabia and India and what is being done to promote it?

MGAZ : The Saudi-Indian relations has received a special thrust especially after the visit of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2016. India and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia enjoy cordial and friendly relations reflecting the centuries old economic and sociocultural ties. Saudi Arabia today is our 4th largest trade partner (after China, USA and UAE) and is a major source of energy as we import around 19% of our crude oil requirement from the Kingdom. In terms of imports by Saudi Arabia, India ranks 7th and is source of around 3.7 % of Saudi Arabia’s total imports. Private sector Indian investment in Saudi Arabia is increasing. According to the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority (SAGIA), Saudi investment in India is also growing. India and Saudi Arabia should increase trade delegations between two countries by organizing more trade fairs, seminars and more interactions between both Indian and Saudi Arabian Commerce Ministries.

TFT : When organizing trade events, which sectors are beneficial or trending or has larger scope of being a success?MGAZ -The sectors which will get benefitted by organizing trade events between the two countries are Tourism sector especially medical, education and leisure tourism, Indian food sector, leather sector, Fashion apparels, imitation Jewellery, gems and jewellery, coffee, tea, IT and Bollywood entertainment as a lot of Saudi youth started liking Bollywood movies with Arabic Subtitles which is scope of being success in Saudi Arabia.

TFT : Whatare the differences between trade shows in India and trade shows in Saudi Arabia and where & how can both the countries find a common ground and help each other to become better?

MGAZ : The trade shows in India is having more exhibitors than Saudi Arabia and there is no exhibitors’ representation from Saudi Arabia in Indian trade shows. The trade shows in Saudi Arabia is well organized with lot of exhibitors from India participating in Saudi trade shows. India should promote FDI in Saudi Trade shows and Saudi Arabia should promote SAGIA in Indian Trade shows so that both countries’ Businessmen can benefit from it by investing in each other’s country. India and Saudi Arabia can organize IndoSaudi trade Expo in India and in Saudi Arabia so that it can be a common platform for both countries to promote their trade.

TFT : Can you tell us about your experience of working as the General Secretary of SIBN?

MGAZ : My experience with Saudi Indian Business Network (SIBN) as the name implies, is a professional organization that groups’ together entrepreneurs, senior executives and professionals from Saudi Arabia and India,has been very good. Since I became the General Secretary of SIBN, I have enjoyed a lot by providing honorary services to my country with passion. Lot of Saudi Businessmen in Saudi Arabia used to call me as Nokia (Connecting the people). My special thanks for H.E. Md. Noor Rahman Sheikh, Consul General of India, Jeddah, K.S.A. & Vice-Patron of SIBN for giving me the opportunity, support and encouragement in organizing trade events and programs. As a General Secretary of SIBN here, our organization are ever ready to assist Saudi businessmen wishing to do business with India or invest in India. Consul General of India, H.E. Md. Noor Rahman Sheikh is even considering issuing a 5-year business visa to allow for free movement for Saudi businessmen to India.