Word on the web: Evolution in the Emirates

The UAE is developing its position as a global financial hub, co-operating and partnering with markets worldwide, and investing in innovative local businesses

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has long been an important player in the global trading industry, boasting robust foreign direct investment attraction policies, and its international appeal is only growing stronger. 

Belfast-based trading and investment company OCO Global recently announced its purchase of the British Business Centre from British Business Group (BBG), UAE, which will allow the firm to help UK organisations enter the Middle Eastern marketplace, writes the Belfast Telegraph’s Margaret Canning. 

CEO Mark O’Connell, who is quoted in the article, notes that the deal is a strong move considering “the context of changes in economic policy in the Middle East”. A number of countries in the region are advancing their economic development policies in order to boost investment, lessen their dependency on the petrochemical sector, and provide more international career opportunities for young people. 

Despite new research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) showing that access to the EU single market is the top priority for 63% of small UK businesses, other markets will also remain important in a post-Brexit era. The Keep trade easy: what small firms want from Brexit report further reveals that 27% of exporting small firms would be deterred from trading with the EU should any tariff, high or low, be introduced.

According to O’Connell, the Gulf market will be a desirable one for UK firms going forward: “In the wake of Brexit, we anticipate an uptick in British firms taking an interest in the region to diversify their geographical spread and take advantage of the buoyant and growing demands.” The comments followed UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s announcement that Article 50 would be triggered on 29 March, beginning the two-year negotiation period before the UK leaves the EU.

Belfast Telegraph article
Forming partnershipsThe UAE marketplace is attracting similar attention from the east, with industry leaders agreeing to strengthen bilateral trade and investment with India during the second India-UAE conference on globalisation, held on 20 March 2017 in Dubai. Navdeep Singh Suri, India's ambassador to the UAE, highlighted the “frequent interactions” between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, which are indicative of “far-reaching developments in the relationship between the two countries”, says The Economic Times
The amount that the UAE Ministry of Finance is investing to support innovative local small and medium-sized businesses

More than 20 agreements have been signed between the two parties over the past two years, in areas including “renewable energy, defence production, joint military exercises, maritime security, counter-terrorism, space technologies, cyber security, agriculture and human traffic prevention”, with the UAE also committing to an investment of $75bn in Indian infrastructure.

The Emirates is now India’s largest trading partner in West Asia, prompting the decision for the two nations to form a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. During the event in Dubai, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the UAE’s Cabinet Member and Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, “expressed optimism about the growth of trade and investment between India and the UAE, and favoured greater international co-operation and exchange to help the global economy”, writes The Economic Times.

The Economic Times article
Funding innovationIn addition to trading partnerships, the UAE is also investing in innovation to encourage growth. The UAE Ministry of Finance has set up the £500m Mohammed bin Rashid Innovation Fund to support local small and medium-sized businesses through suitable financing solutions, which will help to diversify the economy and reduce dependence on overseas imports, says Bdaily’s Jamie Hardesty. According to the ministry, the fund is designed to support the National Innovation Strategy, as well as the UAE’s goal to be amongst the ten most innovative countries globally by 2021. In order to achieve this, the Government has established an Advisory & Decision Committee to provide appropriate guidance for the fund.

“The UAE is very committed to its long-term strategic goal of creating a diversified world class economy, and there is a huge drive towards providing innovators and businesses across the area with the infrastructure required to achieve it,” says Dr Yvonne Gale, CEO of Newcastle-based NEL Fund Manager, and one of the 11 experts sourced for the advisory panel by consultancy firm PwC. According to Gale, who is quoted by Hardesty, there are a number of parallels between the aims of the fund and the work of UK fund managers, such as NEL, with regard to the use of financial instruments to encourage growth and entrepreneurialism.

And the provision of accurate advice, it seems, is being taken very seriously. “A great deal of value is being placed by the UAE Government on the advice that the committee will provide in support of its decision-making processes, and its members have a wide variety of high-level academic and business experience on which to draw,” says Gale. 

Measures such as these are helping the UAE, and the Middle Eastern marketplace as a whole, to initiate wide-scale growth, putting it in good stead to compete on the global financial stage going forward. 

Bdaily article

Seen a blog, news story or discussion online that you think might interest CISI members? Email rosalie.starling@wardour.co.uk.
Published: 24 Mar 2017
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