H.E. Nasser Ahmed Alsowaidi, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, today in Paris opened the Abu Dhabi Investment Forum, in presence of a high-level Government delegation from the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and more than 200 senior French officials, businessmen and investors.H.E. Nasser Alsowaidi said in an penning speech that the Forum that represents an important platform for joint efforts aimed at the development and activation of economic and boosting investment relations, by creating strategic partnerships to benefit the two countries in many strategic fields, especially those focused on and prioritized by the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 for attaining sustainable economic development in Abu Dhabi.The Chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development noted that the keenness of the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi to further business relations with France and to attract French investments, is reflected by the presence and participation of the Government delegation to this important forum to highlighted and the investment opportunities in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi under the significant government support enjoyed by many development projects in Abu Dhabi; particularly in areas of business and finance, trade,, industry, education, energy, tourism and other sectorsAlsowaidi said that the economy of the Emirate over the past few years, has seen considerable development, marked by the implementation of major development projects in furtherance of economic diversification in the Emirate and building competitive a knowledge-based economy by focusing on the development of non-oil sectors; and pumping money to new investments, including infrastructure, industry, alternative energy, education, tourism and other areas. Alsowaidi added that the Government delegation of senior officials will review and discuss the spectrum of investment opportunities offered by development projects, which brought about a qualitative leap in a short period of time and contributed to strengthening the investment environment, turning it more attractive and inviting safe haven for foreign investments in the region.Nasser Alsowaidi said that bilateral trade between UAE and France grew by more than 13% in 2012, stating that French exports to UAE increased from $4.6 billion in 2011 to $ 4.7 billion in 2012, while UAE exports to France hiked from $1.3 billion to $2.0 billion during the same period.Alsowaidi pointed out that Abu Dhabi and France are undertaking many giant development projects, which have contributed greatly in shaping the future of economic relations between the two sides, notably the Louvre Abu Dhabi museum project, the nuclear cooperation, and the Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi among others.According to Alsowaidi France ranked second among top investors in Abu Dhabi, with investments which constituted 7.4% of total FDI in Abu Dhabi in 2009. The number of French companies in Abu Dhabi increased significantly during past years.The Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi has made vigorous efforts to strengthen the role of the private sector, through the creation of amore favorable environment and significant amendments to policies, legislation and regulations to facilitate private sector activities, as well as undertaking large-scale investment in major infrastructure projects to help set the enabling environment and opportunities in a strong and dynamic economy.H.E. Nasser Alsowaidi said that according to latest estimates the Abu Dhabi private sector's contribution to GDP in 2012 increased by 6.5% to account for 33% of the Emirate's GDP, which reflected the a growing desire among many private companies to set up new business or increase the size of their business activities in Abu Dhabi.H.E. Alsowaidi revealed that significant financial support of the Government for the implementation of a package of diversified development projects worth $ 90 billion, during the next five years (2013-2017), would provide appropriate investment opportunities for foreign investors in many sectors, including, infrastructure construction, education, health and others.H.E. Mohammad Mir Abdullah Al Raisi, the UAE Ambassador to France said at the inaugural meeting of the Forum: In UAE we look forward to further successes at the level of bilateral relations with France, in the belief that such relations are distinct and foreseeing a promising future under the partnership that was laid over the years, which have contributed to increased foreign trade and growing investment projects between the two sides.The ambassador said that the Forum, brought together Abu Dhabi and French senior officials, businessmen and investors, and reflected the openness of Abu Dhabi Government towards investment, and revealed its inviting and promising market, given the Emirate's opportunities for foreign investors and the package of development projects undertaken, and their magnitude, and value, to suit French wealth of cultures and history.His Excellency the ambassador said that economic relations between France and the UAE were long standing and deeply rooted, stating that more than 450 French companies are currently operating in UAE, and more than 18,000 French citizens reside in the State, adding that the total value of French exports to the State last year 2012 amounted to than €3.5 billion.The UAE Ambassador to France said that the UAE is stands now among the best States in the Middle East, with its rapid growth, thanks to the overall that it witnessed in all fields, which calls for the creation of strategic partnerships in many areas, with counterparts in developed countries; especially France which is one of the prominent industrialized nations in the world.The forum convened six working sessions. The first session was devoted to reviewing investment opportunities in the industrial sector, where H.E Khaled Salmeen Al Kuwari, CEO and Managing Director of Kizad, highlighted the investment opportunities offered by the industrial zone. Participants in the session were also, H.E. Mohammad Hassan Al Qemzi, Chief Executive of the Higher Corporation for Specialized Economic Zones (ZonesCorp), Saeed Fadel Al Mazrouei, CEO of Emirates Aluminum (Emal) and Jassem Busaibe, Acting CFO, General Holding Corporation (Senaat) Participants in discussion panel on energy sector water and electricity were Their is Excellencies, Abdullah Saif Al Nuaimi, Director of the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority, Mohamed Al Hammadi, CEO, Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), Bader Al Lamaki, Director, Masdar Clean Energy, Masdar, Mr. Carl Sheldon, CEO, TAQA , and Jean-François President of Innovative Energy Solutions Group.The third session addressed the Abu Dhabi investment opportunities in infrastructure and transport sector, in participation of their Excellencies Mohamed Hareb Al Yousef, Executive Director of the Department of Transport, Mohamed Al Bulooki, Chief Commercial Officer, Abu Dhabi Airports Company, Dr. Nasser Saif Al-Mansoori, CEO, Etihad Rail and Mohamed Al Khadar, Executive Director of Development Review Estidama, Urban Planning Council A session was devoted to discuss the developments in projects related to the education sector in Abu Dhabi the participants of which include Dr Masood Badri, Head of Research Office, Abu Dhabi Education Council and Pr. Eric Fouache, Vice-Chancellor, Abu Dhabi Sorbonne University of Paris A special session also highlighted and reviewed the financial sector projects implemented in Abu Dhabi, with the participation of H.E Rashed Al Baloushi, Chairman, Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX), Mr. Jacques Maire, Foreign Affairs Counselor, Executive in Financial Services Sector, Foreign Affairs Ministry-France, Mr. Fadi Halout, Country Manager – France, National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD),
And Olivier Barkil, Head of Corporate Banking, Natisix and Mr. Patrick Daniels, Partner, Director of Business Development, Robbins Geller Rudman Dowd
The Forum concluded with a meeting to discuss joint investment opportunities in oil, gas and petrochemicals. Panelists in this session included Dr. Omar Al Suwaidi, Deputy Director Strategy Coordination, ADNOC, Mr. Maurizio La Noce, CEO, Mubadala Petroleum and Arnaud Broyak Chairman P E Middle East.