In presence of 500 key executives from more than 30 countries, H.E. Mohammed Omar Abdullah, Undersecretary of the Department of Economic Development inaugurated today The 3rd Annual UAE Global Investment Forum.
Organized by the Department of Economic Development – Abu Dhabi and Institutional Investor Conferences, the forum that started today at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi promises a dynamic debate on real opportunities and challenges of the investment environment in the UAE.
In his keynote speech, H.E. Mr. Mohammed Omar Abdullah, Undersecretary of the Department of Economic Development said that: “Restoring balanced growth in the global economy must be a policy priority for all nations. In this regard, the UAE has taken important steps, to deal with opportunities and challenges in this changing and challenging environment”, praising the UAE wise Leadership, in particular His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, for reacting swiftly and decisively with a series of policy measures to guarantee the economic and financial stability of the Federation.He noted that the steps taken by the UAE government will improve the overall economic competitiveness of the Federation for this generation and the next. “the concerned entities have worked on amending the laws, streamlining regulations, removing bureaucratic impediments, and modernizing the institutions to create a more investor and business friendly climate. These changes will enable the UAE to compete on a global scale”.In spite of the economic crisis , the UAE has improved its position in a number of international rankings such as being one of the Top 10 economic Reformers in the “World Bank/IFC report 2009” , the Second most attractive Arab country in the “FDI report 2009”, being ranked 23 in the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 2009-2010 - Ranked 33 in the World Bank “Ease of Doing Business Report 2010”, up from 47 last year - Ranked 20, and first Arab country, for financial development in the “World Economic Forum report 2009”He talked about the efforts done by the UAE federal authorities in coordination with local governments to establish the UAE among the most attractive destinations for foreign capital, and to this end we are pursuing several initiatives. For example, the Foreign Investment Law prepared by the Ministry of Economy ,The new Company Law expected this year, as well as the Uniform Commercial Register, which will improve the legislative framework and offer the first integrated database for commercial activities in the UAE.In line with the Policy agenda and its 5-year strategic Plan, the Department of Economic Development in Abu Dhabi is working to establish a dedicated Investment Promotion Agency, charged with developing a network of centers dedicated to serving the needs of international investors.He saw that attracting more companies to the UAE means more skills and experience for the UAE, higher standards of products and services for consumers, more job opportunities for nationals and residents, and increased competitiveness of our economy as in the vision of our wise leadership.Speaking at the inaugural session were Harvey Shapiro, Senior Advisor, Institutional Investor Conferences and Lord Patten of Barnes, Chancellor, University of Oxford and Former Governor of Hong Kong and Member of the European Commission, External Relations, and Michael Tomalin, Chief Executive, National Bank of Abu Dhabi.Chaired by Oliver Cornock, Group Editor – Gulf, Oxford Business Group, the first panel discussion was a dynamic debate on the outlook for the UAE economy, as the panelists H.E Fahad Al Raqbani, Deputy Director General, Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development, H.E. Mohammed Omar Abdullah, Undersecretary, Department of Economic Development – Abu Dhabi, Dr. Nasser Saidi, Chief Economist, DIFC Authority, H.E. Mohammed H. Al Qamzi, Chief Executive Officer, ZonesCorp discussed to what extent will the UAE continue to be affected by the global financial crisis? How is the government stimulating the economy? How will Dubai meet its debt obligations? What will be the key drivers of economic growth in the year ahead? What role are foreign investors expected to play in the development and growth of the economy? How can investors make the most of the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 plan?
Harvey Shapiro, Senior Advisor at Institutional Investor Conferences, chaired the second panel discussion , which included Eng. Jamal Salem Al Dhaheri, CEO, Abu Dhabi Basic Industries Corporation, Mohamed Al Azdi, Chief Executive Officer, ChemaWEyaat, Dr. Ahmad Khayyat, Chief Executive Officer, Exeed Industries, Suhail Mubarak Al Ameri, Director General, General Holding Corporation. They discussed The increasingly important role of the industrial sector in the growth of Abu Dhabi’s economy, as being a central component of the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 plan. They answered How is the government supporting industrial projects in Abu Dhabi? Is Abu Dhabi’s industrial sector very different from other industrial hubs in the region? What are the challenges and opportunities facing investors? How can investors capitalize?
An Outlook for the Global Capital Markets was the subject on an interview with Lord Skidelsky, Emeritus Professor of Political Economy, University of Warwick.
Capital Markets: Prospects and Challenges, was the third panel discussion, focusing on the challenges faced by UAE’s capital markets because of the global financial crisis.The panel was chaired by Harvey Shapiro, Senior Advisor at Institutional Investor Conferences, and consisted of Rashed al Baloushi, Deputy Chief Executive at Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, Patrick Daniels, Director of Business Development at Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman Robbins, Robert Mohamed, Co-Head Investment Banking at the National Bank of Abu Dhabi.
The panelists defined the key challenges and prospects facing Abu Dhabi’s banks, and how will the global financial markets impact the UAE in the year ahead, in addition to bond markets forecast after the record bond issuance from Abu Dhabi in 2009. They tried to answer about the real value of equity markets and if they were really undervalued?
The last panel answered questions related to Abu Dhabi’s infrastructure and transport sectors, and whether their development plans have been affected by the financial crisis affected, what is the government doing to encourage investments into these sectors, how can investors access opportunities, what are the key risks and rewards and what are the projects to look out for in the year ahead.It was chaired by Oliver Cornock, Gulf Group Editor for Oxford Business Group, and consisted of Haytham Haidar, Chief Development Officer, Abu Dhabi Airports Company, H.E. Abdulla Saif Al Nuaimi, Director of Privatization, Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA), Mr. Nasir Hasan, Senior Vice President, Invest AD-UBS Infrastructure Investment and Gordon Turley, Director, Mott MacDonald
Key decision makers from leading UAE companies, government representative and policy makers further discussed the outcome of the forum at the reception hosted by Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, which was an opportunity to wrap up discussions on macro-economic outlook for the UAE, the prospects for the current and future drivers of economic growth, the role of capital markets in the coming years as well the support of infrastructure development to economic growth.Each year the Forum brings together international, regional and domestic investors with industry leaders, financial intermediaries and high-profile government officials.