By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 7 May 2014:
The Middle East Association (MEA) (www.the-mea.co.uk) has been bought out from administration by British company TLC . . .[restrict]Agencies Ltd and regular visitor to Libya, Peter Meyer, has been appointed CEO. Meyer has been visiting the MENA region for the past 15 years.
The MEA has been marketing British businesses to the Middle East and North Africa for over 50 years, but the twin effect of the economic squeeze on the UK economy and the British government cutting its funding to the MEA had meant that briefly, the independent, not for profit business association was in danger going out of business.
However, going into administration did free the MEA from its lease at its old Bury Street address enabling it to seek smaller and more affordable offices, also expected to be in the St James area of central London. They will also be more slime-lined when it comes to staff, Peter Meyer explained over a coffee in Tripoli Tower with Libya Herald. This included him working for free.
The MEA with its 500 plus members had been a regular on the Libyan business delegation circuit, and Meyer, with twenty-five years experience in the banking sector, was keen to continue that tradition. But the MEA has to move with the times, and Meyer is keen to adopt a “fresh approach”, but insists that the MEA has still got an important “independent mission to play”.
“The UK is going through a recession, and exports are the obvious target”, he explains the MEA’s rationale. “North Africa is a good target, within the same time zone and about three hours’ flight away”.
“We are keen to attract more UK-wide as opposed to just a mainly London-based membership”, he admitted. “We have 12 regional centres, including Wales and Scotland, and we are keen to attract more from the engineering fields and from Aberdeen, Newcastle etc”.
“We will be reviewing all our services, he explained, including our website, which we hope would become more of a marketing tool. We plan to update the MEA’s image and better promote members”. Meyer also hopes to better connect his members with both the newly emerging private sector in Libya, as well as the traditional state-sector. He will also be targeting the strategic sector of Joint Ventures in Libya with UK companies.
Nevertheless, Meyer recognizes that most Libyan private companies are SMEs and is keen to help match make them with British counterparts.”The oil and gas sector will still be important in Libya, but there will be new sectors, such as the development of Libyan business parks where the UK can transfer top class knowhow”.
“We are also interested in doing special projects, such as Misrata as a transport hub. We can bring UK companies in this field, as well as all the usual sectors that we cover.
Meyer thinks that a delegation might be organized to visit Libya this autumn. [/restrict]