The Abu Dhabi Investment Forum in Paris, organized by Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development with the participation of over 200 businessmen and investors, was successfully concluded yesterday in the French capital. The six-panel discussion forum enabled senior officials from a number of government departments, institutions and authorities in Abu Dhabi to address and highlight investment opportunities offered by the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in the sectors of industry, education, energy, business and finance, oil and gas, logistics, transport, tourism and other areas.During the panel discussion devoted to reviewing investment opportunities in industry in Abu Dhabi HE Mohamed Hassan Al Qamzi, CEO of the Higher Corporation for Specialized Economic Zones (ZonesCorp) stressed the importance of investment forums, which Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development organizes, as ideal platforms to meet with major international companies and showcase the investment opportunities offered by the Emirate, which has become an attractive investment destination for investors from around the world. Al Qamzi said that ZonesCorp was keen to highlight, in the investment forum in France, the opportunities and facilities offered to investors in an attractive environment with advanced infrastructure and best international standards for businessmen, and the provision of facilities and services at competitive prices, along with highlighting the new investment zones and areas developed by ZonesCorp such as the Motor City, Workers Residential Citites.Commenting on the participation of Emal in the Abu Dhabi investment forum in Paris, Saeed Fadhel Al Mazrooei Emal's President and CEO said that Emal company currently contributes 0.4 % of the UAE's GDP as the company constitutes an essential component in implementation of the leadership's vision to diversify the national economy and strengthen the stance and position of Abu Dhabi as a global destination for investment and business. Al Mazrooei said Emal is proud to raise the motto made in Abu Dhabi and to utilize the distinguished UAE expertise and innovations, emphasizing the company's intention to increase it's the annual output from 800,000 to 1.3 million tons of aluminum per year by 2014, to become an international and influential name in world aluminum industry. Al Mzrooei added that the European market in 2011 imported about 217 thousand, equivalent to 23% of Emal's total products including 28 thousand tons exported to France which jumped to 48 thousand tons in 2012. These exports are expected to increase to 35% percent in 2013.Al Mazrooei said that Emal products are exported to 36 countries worldwide including the United States, Japan, Europe and the Middle East. He disclosed that Emal entered into contracts with a number of French companies including ACL Corporation $ 200 million contract. Emal cooperation with Les TOM French Company for gas emissions processing units includes two phases the first valued at $130 million and the second $90 million.Al Mazrooei said that between 2009 and 2012 Emal production marked 800,000 tons per year of aluminum, noting that the company's strategy aims at producing 1.4 million tons per year, stressing that the company's products, are highly regarded for quality, UAE expertise, international standards, and produced with world class techniques in collaboration with Dubal .According to Al Mazrouei, the Emirates Aluminum smelter, Emal, with its advanced technologies and friendly environment, offers the finest aluminum products for its clients in various countries of the world. It is distinguished by stable production and distribution operations to the highest standards of quality, precision and commitment. He explained that the smelter which is located at Taweelah in Abu Dhabi is currently using the production cell technology DX innovative locally to produce 800,000 tons of aluminum per year.Emal's President and CEO Al Mazrooei, stressed that the smelter works to increase its total annual production to 1.3 million tons upon completion of phase II of the project by the end of 2014 and the adoption of the new generation of production cell technology DX + with the addition of 444 new production cells, to becomes the largest single aluminum smelter in the world.Emal's President said that after the completion of the first phase of $5.7 billion and the starting of the construction of the second phase which will cost $4.5 billion, Emal will became one of the largest factories which will contribute to the diversification of the national economy, away from the oil and gas sector. Emal now has more than 150 customers around the world, with high quality ISO 9001certified products.Eng. Suhail Al Ameri, CEO, and Senaat, during the meeting said: Senaat is a key contributor to the industrial sector in Abu Dhabi. It invested more than AED16 billion in the development of this sector since 2004, and its plans constitute a major part of the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, which aims at enhancing the contribution of the industrial sector to the diversification of the Emirate's economy away from hydrocarbons.
Eng. Al Ameri added; In Senaat, we reaffirm our openness to potential opportunities with our French partners in the Abu Dhabi Investment Forum in Paris, where we seek to establish global partnerships, in pursuit of our developmental aspirations. We have already entered in many successful joint ventures with French specialized companies, including the joint venture between one of our subsidiaries operating in oil and gas services, the National Petroleum Construction Company and French Technip Group.During the panel session devoted to highlighting investment opportunities in the infrastructure sector, H.E. Falah AL Ahbabi , UPC Director General emphasized that within its efforts to ensure long term comprehensive and sustainable urban development ,UPC had launched during the period (2007- 2012) three major regional framework action plans to support the development of three main areas in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi: the Capital Plan 2030 covering the capital of the Emirate, Al Ain Plan 2030 for the Eastern Region and the Western Region Plan 2030 .AL Ahbabi said that last month the Council submitted the fourth and plan, the marine and coastal framework plan, known as the Marine Plan 2030 which complemented the three plans. The Marine Plan was prepared to help achieve the objectives set by the Abu Dhabi Vision 2030, and redirect sustainable development initiatives and public and private investment towards the marine and coastal range of Abu Dhabi, while working to harness the opportunities provided by the sheltered waters and diverse ecosystems in the Emirate in recreational activities and encourage eco-tourism.Al Ahbabi said that the framework action plans prepared by Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council ,focus on current and future growth sectors identified by the Abu Dhabi economic diversification strategy, noting that Abu Dhabi has demonstrated its ability to avoid the negative effects of the recent financial crisis, due to successful sequence of the development stages.Al added highlighted the effects of the sequential guidelines on vital urban projects which took into account the long-term development goals, by segmenting long-term plans into phases, which catered for transforming plans from theory to practice, pointing out that one of the most immediate benefits of effective urban planning, is to increase the confidence and transparency for investors; with clear prospects and credit which accurately pave the way towards achieving the 2030 vision.During the discussion of the logistics services sector opportunities ,His Excellency Dr. Nasser Saif Al Mansoori, CEO of Etihad Rail said: Our participation in this forum is a reflection of the Etihad Rail dedicated efforts to enhance cooperation with European companies, including French firms. The forum offers an opportunity to highlight the various benefits the Etihad Rail project, which is expected to contribute to a paradigm shift in the transportation sector and change the map of local and regional transport, connecting to key ports and neighboring countries. The forum provides direct communication between Etihad Rail and French companies, facilitating knowledge transfer particularly with firms in transport and infrastructure sectors.”Al Mansoori, stressed the importance of this event, which would open the prospects for investment between France and the Emirate of Abu Dhabi; and serves to strengthen the strategic partnership between the two countries in various sectors of development, noting that the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is currently experiencing a comprehensive economic development supported by growth in many sectors such as industry, energy, infrastructure and trade, which make Abu Dhabi an attractive environment for European investments in general and the French in particular.Mohammed Al Bulooki, the Chief Commercial Officer of ADAC said: ADAC today presented to the French business community its airport group projects. The projects were related to the construction of the new Midfield Terminal Building as well as future commercial and operations services which Abu Dhabi Airports Company will provide. The French aviation airport sector is very experienced and ADAC would always welcome partnerships that will improve efficiency, services and in all airports it operates.” The Director General of Abu Dhabi Water Electricity Authority (ADWEA). H.E. Abdulla Saif Al Nuaimi said during the energy sector discussions that ADEWA had entered into cooperation contracts with French companies in power generation, and supply of equipments, noting that the size of the cooperation in this area is approximately $1billion, covering long-term power generation and water desalination contracts. Al Nuaimi revealed that ADEWA will soon announce the awarding of the port project to the selected companies, including French companies as well.On his part, Mohamed Ibrahim Al Hammadi Chief Executive Officer of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation
Said that the aim of participating in Abu Dhabi Investment Forum is to strengthen relations with France in terms of investment opportunities, access to various technologies and cutting-edge projects, as well as highlighting the advanced projects carried out by the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the investment climate and legislation in the Emirate.Al Hammadi said that the emerging nuclear energy sector will provide significant opportunities for long-term cooperation between Abu Dhabi and France. He added that the UAE peaceful nuclear program will generate opportunities for cooperation between local companies and leading French companies in key sectors and areas such as education, safety, engineering and operations and other services; which would help in developing the nuclear sector.H.E Jasim Thabet, Chief Executive Officer,Tabreed said: Abu Dhabi is set to drive strong economic and demographic growth in the coming years, due to its solid policies and decision making. As large scale urban development increases, so will the demand for energy, especially for cooling. Given this picture of the future, a cooling infrastructure, such as district cooling is highly needed to efficiently and reliably meet this increased demand in a sustainable way.During the same meeting, Mr. Carl Sheldon, Member of the Board CEO, of Abu Dhabi National Energy Company TAQA said that the Abu Dhabi Investment Forum provided an ideal platform to meet French business partners, stressing that the UAE enjoys a lot of investment opportunities, especially in the field of energy.Mr. Sheldon, explained that TAQA has branches in 11 countries around the world, along with the UAE and conducts projects and investments in oil and gas and power generation, in many countries including India, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iraq, Ghana, Morocco and the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Canada, Turkey and the United States. TAQA is also the largest investor from UAE in 5 of these countries namely, Ghana, Morocco, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Canada. He noted that the size of the investments of TAQA in these countries amount to $32 billion. TAQA enjoys cooperative relations with some French companies such as Alstom, for generating turbines for some terminals, as well as EDF which owns a stake in five stations in Abu Dhabi. TAQA has also purchased a 50% share of EDF Company in wind stations in the United States.
For his part, the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) CEO, Rashed Al Baloushi said at the event:”We are very happy to be here in this forum. ADX persistently seeks to enhance its potentials, in order to be able to meet the needs of both our stakeholders and our investors.” “The last few months were good for us and for our stakeholders. On one hand ADX listed companies paid AED 17 Billion in cash dividends for their shareholders for the fiscal year 2012. On the other hand, our general index has increased with a gain of 33.5 per cent, which makes ADX the second best-performing market worldwide this year, in US dollar terms, as of yesterday afternoon.” Rashed Al Baloushi said.
The Chief Executive of ADX said that the Abu Dhabi exchange underwent significant development through applying Delivery Versus Payment (DVP) model back in the year 2011 and then again through further continuing the process of enhancing (DVP) model in the last few months by applying Buyer Cash Compensation (BCC) settlement procedure. Al Baloushi concluded: To create real value through innovation in today's economic climate is a real challenge - for any organization. We look forward to further collaborations with all of our stakeholders to drive our development process forward.
Dr. Masood Badri, Head of Research and Planning, Abu Dhabi Education Council said during his participation in discussion sessions for education sector, that the main challenges facing the education system in Abu Dhabi as identified by the Council, constituted the main drive to tailor an effective and ambitious strategic plan, based on providing guidance and support for the development of the system of school education, in the Emirate to achieve prosperity, progress and prestigious positions with regard to the application of the knowledge economy at the international level.Dr Masood noted that the Council, in the context of its quest towards the achievement of the objectives of its plan, has launched and implemented a number of ambitious initiatives in the sectors of higher education and technical and vocational education, saying council benefited from analysis as a tool for evaluating the education system, and used it in the preparation and development of strategies for the paradigm shift in this system, to enhance its competitiveness at the international level.Dr Masood said that the strategic plan has been development for education after a thorough analysis of work environment culture, leadership and management structures, staff, programs and the group of services provided, together with synergies and resources available.At the same session, Prof. Eric Fouache, Vice-Chancellor of Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi expressed his happiness for the invitation extended by Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development to participate in the sponsorship and support of the first version of Abu Dhabi investment Forum in Paris. Prof. Fouache stressed the importance of this event for the Sorbonne University which aims at bridging the gap between the University and the social and economic arena, and ensuring that graduates comprehend the vocational education in particular.Prof. Fouache added that the University was working with Abu Dhabi Council for Education to provide programs that fit perfectly the market requirements, and achieve the goals of the 2030 Vision, to create a knowledge-based economy and move away from dependence on oil and gas, saying the University of Sorbonne Abu Dhabi, supports U.A.E. nationals and encourages students to expand their horizons and incorporate the French experience by adopting and the French curricula.Prof. Fouache said that Sorbonne University-Abu Dhabi seeks to strengthen business and integrate cultures to lay long -lasting solid relations between Abu Dhabi and Paris, along with strengthening innovation capacity and ties between the two countries.For his part, HE Fahad Saeed Al Raqabani, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development, said that the importance of Abu Dhabi investment forum lies in highlighting developments in the business community in Abu Dhabi before French counterparts, and showcasing investment opportunities of the Emirate, noting that the UAE enjoys deeply rooted historic featured in many fields.Al Raqabani said that the Forum will contribute to highlighting the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, in front of the French business community. He noted the great interest expressed by the Forum's audience and participant. Al Raqabani laude the forum and meetings with businessmen from the two sides , as valuable tools for reviewing and evaluating and showcasing the various projects, which will contribute to offering visions, ideas and solutions that lead to the success of such projects in driving development and growth in the two countries.Her Excellency Huda Al Matroushi, Abu Dhabi Chamber Board Member, said that the Forum constituted an ideal platform for highlighting the role of the Chamber, its services and facilities that contribute to support investors and the opportunities offered by the young UAE entrepreneurs to establish small and medium-sized enterprises, which would help them enter and access the French market; and build successful investment partnerships.Al Matroushi said that Abu Dhabi Investment Forum would help exchange expertise and experiences with the French market; and provide opportunities to explore modern and sophisticated marketing strategies, noting that the Abu Dhabi Chamber, comprises the umbrella for all investors, and helps tapping future projects and getting consultancy and feasibility studies. The Chamber would also help French entrepreneurs to contact their counterparts in the State.Al Matrooshi noted that Abu Dhabi Chamber and the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development play a strategic role in international forums, to promote the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and highlight the great business and investment opportunities in the non-oil areas. Al Matrooshi said that the Abu Dhabi Businesswomen Council houses 12.000 licensed businesswoman in various business activities.Ali Taleb Al Jaberi who lectures at the University of Paris-Sorbonne on entrepreneurship, stressed the importance of the Forum in promoting the investment climate in Abu Dhabi and its role in providing great opportunities in various fields, noting that the Forum promotes the transparency, which distinguishes the business community in Abu Dhabi; and also enhances competitiveness in the long term among French companies.