Banks thrive as Abu Dhabi grows
Abu Dhabi’s banks are growing faster than those in Dubai due to the economic growth being witnessed in the capital, a top banker has said.
Michael Tomalin, chief executive officer of the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), also said that the UAE’s banking sector is well-capitalised and cap-able of withstanding any further financial turmoil. “Banks in Abu Dhabi are growing faster than their counterparts in Dubai due to the economic growth and investments as well as open economic strategies in Abu Dhabi,” said Tomalin, speaking at the fifth UAE Global Investment Forum in Abu Dhabi.
“Banks in the UAE are better capitalised compared to those in the United States and other developed countries. The banking sector remains resilient to shocks, thanks to substantial liquidity and capital buffers,” he said. “The balance sheets of UAE banks increased by 3.5 percent in 2011 and the UAE has the largest banking sector in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region,” he added.
Speaking at the same event, Mohammad Omar Abdullah, Under-secretary of the Department of Econ-omic Development, said Abu Dhabi wants to see foreign direct investment increase to 23 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030.
Abdullah said that the UAE economy was in a very strong position and steady economic growth over the past two years should result in similar positive growth this year.
“Growth has to be driven by non-oil exports to reduce GDP volatility through diversification and this will see Abu Dhabi become an attractive investment destination,” he continued, adding that “the UAE’s real non-oil GDP growth is projected to further strengthen to 3.5 percent in 2012.”
Mazen Skaf, managing director of the Strategic Decisions Group, told Gulf News that the UAE government should proceed further with financing projects in order to complete them and thus create further investment opportunities.