The 4th Annual UAE Global Investment Forum 2011 organized by the Department of Economic Development in Abu Dhabi started today in the Emirates palace with the participation of more than 400 people from 30 countries from around the world.HE Mohammed Omar Abdullah, Undersecretary of the Department of Economic Development in an opening speech marking the launching of the 4th UAE Global Investment Forum Investment; said that the forum has become a standard ideal platform for national, regional and international business community to exchange ideas and views on international investment opportunity in general, and UAE prospects in particular; and means of tapping and utilizing such investment potential and possibilities, confirmed year after year by the growing local and federal participation in the activities of the Forum and the keenness of decision makers to render all support.HE added: We may all agree that the 4th Annual UAE Global Investment Forum comes in light of the intricate circumstances of the Middle East, which experiences a wave of political unrest that adds to the complexity of the investment scene regionally and internationally.The Undersecretary of the Department of the Economic Development, added, Despite the preliminary opinions about the prospects of investment in the region, a careful reading of the national and regional investment opportunities reveals a better future and wider investment horizons in the international arena in general and the UAE in particular.H.E added, The close review of the international investment map, in the light of current international reports, reveals cautious revival of foreign direct investments, and in spite of the relatively low level of performance last year compared to 2009, it is still generally better than it was before 2008. The international investment map unveils a distinct diversity in the nature of the risks faced by foreign direct investment from one region to another. These vary from the sluggish economic recovery in some areas, to the crisis of sovereign debt in other areas, and the adversity of the instability of exchange rates; risks also embrace the recent, new waves of political unrest. However; these crises in entirety pose real challenges to investment expansions plans.According to the Prospects for FDI -2011, report released recently by the Foundation Financial Times”, the total number of foreign direct investment projects for the year 2010 is about 12.074 projects, with total investment of 748 billion dollars, with total number of more than 2 million jobs. The report shows that Asia - Pacific region ranked first globally in terms of areas most attractive to foreign investors in 2010.It should be noted that the report cited a significant increase in the share of manufacturing sectors as attractive areas to foreign investors; where the rate of growth of FDI projects, in manufacturing sectors around the world, amounted to 20% in 2010, which indicates the changing pattern of investment flows for the benefit of the sectors most stable, at the expense of the sectors most vulnerable to fluctuations, such as the real estate sector which witnessed a decline in the value of foreign direct investment by approximately 50%.
In the same context, Western Europe was able to maintain its ranking, as the most commonly generating foreign direct investment region in the world, with a proportion of acquisition which amounted to about 44% of the total FDI projects cited by report in 2010; while the Middle East has witnessed a continued decline in its contribution to the generating of foreign direct investment. Companies in the region recorded a decline of 15% over last year although the situation now, is better than the previous rate of the sharp decline recorded in 2009.The five major countries most attractive for FDI are the United States of America, China, United Kingdom, India and Germany. These countries combined, formed a rate of acquisition of approximately 36% of the total foreign direct investment, according to the report. It should be noted that the city of Singapore topped the list of cities most attractive for foreign direct investment worldwide in 2010 and for the second year in a row. Amid the unrest and political chaos in the Middle East and North Africa, the United Arab Emirates provides a unique model of political and economic stability in the region; which enhances its chances for attracting more investments during the next stage, Mohamed Omar Abdulla was coated as saying. He also added, This comes in conjunction with packages of incentive, favorable procedures and sound economic legislation to stimulate the investment environment. In the forefront comes a new law on foreign investment and another for the Protection of Competition in addition to amendments to laws on the protection of intellectual property and patents and industrial designs.
The Undersecretary of Department of Economic Development said thatin a move which depicts the determination of the UAE leadership to and enhance and spur the investment environment to attract more capital investments, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, may God protect Him, ordered the allocation of AED 5.7 billion for infrastructure projects in the Northern Emirates, which marked a real addition to the investment stimulus packages in the UAE.
Mohamed Omar Abdulla added that in United Arab Emirates, despite the current circumstances, we would not be overly optimistic if we revealed our hope and quest to acquire a leading position for our country, as the most attractive destination for FDI in the Middle East during the current year. This dedication came to emphasize the status achieved by the UAE during the past two years.
According to the report referred to earlier, the number of FDI projects attracted by UAE during the past year amounted to more than 279 projects, double the projects magnetized by UAE's closest rivals. FDI projects totaled $10 billion. At the global level, the UAE has maintained unique presence among the ten countries most acquiring of foreign investment projects, worldwide during last year
The results of the report of the Foundation Financial Times”, about the prospects for FDI -2011, revealed that the Emirate of Abu Dhabi ranked second globally in terms of the city's most attractive to foreign direct investment projects in the Middle East, during the last year, with 68 projects of total of investments of 2.7 billion U.S. dollars, and a total of 5289 job opportunities. On the other hand, the Confidence in Business Climate index, issued by the Department of Economic Development, , revealed that during the first quarter of this year, optimism was high among businessmen and investors about the future conditions of the business environment in the Emirate.
His Excellency the Undersecretary said that the economy of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi also exemplifies a unique model capable of efficiently dealing with economic crises. He added that recent global crises, was a real test for the soundness and strength of the economy of the Emirate, and its ability to cope with all international and regional economic variables. The crisis also revealed and established the extent of the economy's integration into the global economic system; and the degree of openness of the Emirate to global markets.
He said in this context that the global financial crisis, had undoubtedly reflected, that the booming development at all levels in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi throughout the past few years, is not a coincidence or a temporary effort, but is the product of visionary sound and thoughtful planning, supported by the attentive follow-up of the leadership of the Emirate.
HE the Undersecretary said that The Emirate of Abu Dhabi is following the path of the road map drawn by the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, which aims at releasing the hidden potential in the economy; and stressing openness to foreign investment, through the adoption of sound policies and legislation to stimulate development and investment in all fields. The growth of economic activities of non-oil by more than 6% in 2009, in addition to the considerable decline in oil prices, have led to increase the contribution of non-oil GDP to more than 50% of total GDP of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in 2009, noting that Economic Vision 2030” was planned to reach that figure by the year 2015. This confirms the validity of the balanced approach followed by the emirate, which is based on the expansion and diversification of the domestic production base and sources of income.
In accordance with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and Chairman of the Executive Council, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is aiming to be within the best five governments in the world. The economy of the emirate is witnessing extensive development effort, reforms and modernization that aim at turning the local business environment into a best favored destination and haven for investments.
His Excellency the Undersecretary, stated that in the context of the pivotal role assigned to the Department of Economic Development in Abu Dhabi, as one of the most important poles of the leadership of the sustainable development process in the emirate; and in order to formulate the tasks laid down by the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, and achieve the goals of the economic vision, the Department of Economic Development, had recently established the “Competitiveness Office of Abu Dhabi” in order to enhance the competitiveness of the business environment in the Emirate, contribute to keeping up with global best practices and enable the private sector to overcome difficulties facing the flow of foreign investments.
At the end of his speech, Mohammed Omar Abdullah, the Undersecretary of the Department of Economic Development expressed his sincere wishes for a successful 4th “UAE Global Investment Forum, fruitful and effective participation for all, and rewarding exchange of experiences and views, hoping that participants would develop a common understanding about the nature of the current investment scene, and formulate sound recommendations.
The first session of the Forum reviewed the global focus on emerging markets; and the resulting change in economic forces and global trade, in view of the major challenges facing these markets, amongst which are the current political changes and unrest in the Middle East; and the government reforms and their economic impacts on the countries of the region and the investors.Speakers in this session were, His Excellency Mohammed Omar Abdullah, the Undersecretary of the Department of Economic Development in Abu Dhabi, Mr. Ala’a Eraiqat, Chief Executive Officer, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Ajit Ranade, Chief Economist, Aditya Birla Group, Dr. Florence Eid, Chief Executive Officer Arabia Monitor and Rainer Schwarz, Head of Middle East, Banco Itau Unibanco S.A.
His Excellency Mohammed Hassan Al Qamzi CEO of the Higher Corporation for Specialized Economic Zones (ZonesCorp) addressed the Forum, and participants with focus on investment opportunities for the industrial sector in Abu Dhabi.The second session of the Forum tackled economic diversification in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi; and its role in promoting investments, in accordance with objectives set by the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, with emphasis of infrastructure, major industrial projects and the development of legislation and related laws.Speakers in the second session were, H.E. Mohammed H. Al Qamzi, Chief Executive Officer, ZonesCorp,
Mr. Mohamed Abdulla Al Azdi Chief Executive Officer Abu Dhabi National Chemicals Company, (ChemaWEyaat), and Eng Suhail bin Mubarak Al Ameri, Director General, General Holding Corporation and Greg Sweeting, General Counsel of the Commission twofour54.Prior to third session discussions, Mr. Manuel Rensink, Executive Director – Head of MENA, MSCI, highlighted the emerging markets and the risks of investing in the Middle East.
The third session of the Forum focused on the UAE financial sector prospects, with emphasis on global financial markets recovery; and the extent of revival in view of the state of stability in some markets, which still pose significant risk to banks and investors. The possibility that banks in the UAE support projects to development the financial sector in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, was discussed in addition to identifying the best opportunities for international investors as well as reviewing stock markets and their role in raising confidence among investors. The Third session of the Forum, was addressed by Mr. Mahmood Al Aradi, Senior General Manager, Financial Markets, National Bank of Abu Dhabi , Mr. Orhan Osmansoy, Chief Executive Officer, The National Investor, Patrick Daniels, Partner and Director of Business Development, Rubens Geller Rudman Rudman Dowd LLP., Kevin Taylor, Executive Vice President, Group Treasurer, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and Rashid Al Balushi, Executive Vice President and Director of Operations of Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange
Before the commencement of the fourth and last Session of the UAE Global Investment Forum, Mr. Tariq meeting was heldTarik Mohamed Yousef, Dean of the Dubai School of Government, met with the audience where he shed light on the issue of political reform and economic development with a new vision for the Middle East.The fourth session was devoted to the topic investments in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi ... the opportunities and challenges, where light was shed on the success of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in attracting foreign investments, and how Abu Dhabi could face the wave of political changes sweeping the Middle East, which affect the way investors perceive the region; as well as the steps that could be taken; and the recommendation with a view to ensure turning Abu Dhabi into attractive destination for international investment.In this session, speakers were, Mr. Ahmed Abu Ghida Acting Director of Planning in the Department of Economic Development in Abu Dhabi, Mr. Matthew de Klerk, First Director of AT Kearney Middle East and Wissam Moukahal, Partner, Audit, Deloitte Touche, M.E.