Abu Dhabi’s Department of Economic Development (DED) held an educational workshop on Export Trade today as an initial project in its long term drive to increase the volume of exports from Abu Dhabi, one of the objectives of the Abu Dhabi Vision 2030 plan. This initial project gathered together a panel of experts in trade finance who addressed 68 delegates, representing companies with ambitions to grow their businesses through export sales. In addition to enabling the participating companies to gain expertise, the workshop identified key knowledge gaps in the marketplace today, and looked at the way that the public and private sector can cooperate to remove barriers to export.
In his keynote speech, H.E. Mohammed Omar Abdulla, Undersecretary of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development stressed that: “The diversification of our economic base is key to the achievement of the Economic Vision 2030 for Abu Dhabi, and therefore it has become a priority for the DED within its new mandate.”
He thanked the sponsors of the workshop and addressed the representatives of the private sector by telling them: “Our role in the DED is to create a business friendly environment within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and to establish the legal structure for export promotion, but it is up to you to take this opportunity, as representatives of the private sector, to play your role in full as the real driving force in making the Economic Vision 2030 a reality.”
He concluded: “Your success as companies is our success as an emirate and a nation. Now is the time for companies to build on the increase in exports we have witnessed in the past year, and we are happy to support your efforts.”
Growth of non-oil exports as a percentage of GDP is a strategically important initiative in the continuing development of Abu Dhabi as a business hub within the region, and gateway to the rest of the world.
“With a unique geographical advantage at the crossroads of a number of established trade routes, Abu Dhabi already provides world-class infrastructure and services for both intra-regional and global traders,” commented Declan Hegarty, HSBC Managing Director and Head of Business. “We share the Abu Dhabi government’s commitment to promote economic diversification through export growth in line with the Economic Vision 2030 and are actively working with the DED to develop best-practise in export finance. It is important that the business community within the emirate is enabled to maximise this economic opportunity and we are putting HSBC’s unique international expertise, local knowledge and global footprint to work alongside the Government to drive this future growth.”
The workshop encouraged discussion among attendees, led by a panel of experts from the sponsors and partners. The keynotes and sessions covered educational topics such as ‘how to’ guides on trade finance, as well as real-life case studies looking at potential business scenarios where export could be a lucrative option.
“One of the challenges that companies in the UAE face when looking at expanding their export business is the confidence to know that they are dealing with reputable companies,” commented David Venediger, Managing Director, Coface Emirates Services. “Our buyer’s database of over 50 million companies worldwide, more than 60 years experience in export support and risk management expertise provided by underwriters located worldwide, positions us as a preferred partner to support exporters and companies planning to start exporting from Abu Dhabi and the UAE. Coface shares the export support concept of the Department of Economic Development, and understands that growth through export business is inevitable to substantially support the Economic Vision 2030. Coface is proud to participate in the workshop, and to support the export promotion of the DED.”
Customers actively raised real life examples of challenges that they had faced in exporting from the UAE, which were addressed by a panel of experts, including NBAD.
“The National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) considers itself a core DNA of Abu Dhabi and is fully committed to supporting the Emirate in achieving the Abu Dhabi 2030 Vision,” said Haitham al Refaie, the Head of Commercial Banking at NBAD. “NBAD is proud to participate in this informational workshop because the Bank considers small and medium enterprises the backbone of the UAE economy. NBAD is committed to the Government’s initiatives and plans to support this vital sector and help shore up Abu Dhabi’s exports.”
The attendees, who came from a cross-section of industries as a representative sample of the Abu Dhabi economy, were invited by each of the partners, including ZonesCorp.
“As part of our policy in supporting investors operating in our ICADs, we called upon our current and potential exporters working in ZonesCorp to attend this information workshop on Export Finance through which they learn about the financing options made available to them by some of the long standing financial institutions and banks in Abu Dhabi,” commented HE Mohamed Hasan Al Qemzi, CEO, ZonesCorp.
“The workshop allowed our investors working in the export business to discuss different financial issues with the financiers, which are critical and important to exporters. Helping them take the right decisions would contribute to increasing utilization rates, sales and profitability and consequently lead to expansion requirements.”