The role of Dubai, and the UAE in general, in facilitating global trade and channeling investment into potential markets were highlighted at a meeting at The House of Commons in London recently, which was organised by the Diplomat Business Club with the support of the Dubai Investment Development agency (Dubai FDI), an agency of the Department of Economic Development (DED).
Over 80 senior decision-makers from the UK, comprising parliamentarians and business leaders, attended the event, which was the first of its kind focusing on Dubai, along with officials from DED and Dubai FDI. The Right Honourable Andrew Rosindell MP, Chair of the Diplomat Business Club, in his opening address expressed deep appreciation for Dubai FDI supporting the Club and reiterated that the UK was keen to further develop the excellent relationships with global partners into new promising business and investment opportunities.
Dubai FDI supported the initiative as part of its strategic support to value networks operating out of Dubai to promote co-operation and create opportunities for growth, partnerships and innovation.
“The world as we see now has vast and varied opportunities to expand the historic trade relations between the UAE and the United Kingdom over a broad economic and cultural canvas. Dubai particularly has been a preferred destination for British expats and expertise, and now the emirate promises exceptional opportunities for enterprises and their innovations to grow beyond borders,” Ali Ibrahim, Deputy Director General of DED said.
Referring to the strength of the British expatriate and business community in Dubai and their lead role in the infrastructure and services sectors in the emirate, Ibrahim said the UK has substantial advantages as a priority country in advancing Dubai’s relations with Europe.
Dubai is home to a sizeable majority of the 240,000 British expatriates living in the UAE and the city is also the main gateway for British tourists to the UAE, whose numbers exceed one million annually. Trade between Dubai and the UK was worth AED 29.7 billion in 2015 and the first six months of 2016 alone accounted for AED 13.3 billion of bilateral trade exchanges amidst a global slowdown.
“Dubai is opening up a whole new world of opportunities for world-class expertise, entrepreneurial excellence and innovation. The Dubai Plan 2021 envisions the city as a pivotal hub in the global economy and a city of happy, creative and empowered people. It’s an overarching strategy to which is integrated a number of initiatives, including the Expo 2020, and a stated goal to be the smartest city in the world in the next two years,” Ibrahim added.
Strategic projects that are transforming the business landscape in Dubai, including initiatives aimed to facilitate doing business and seamlessly connect trade, evoked remarkable interest during the launch event and led to a broad consensus that forums like the Diplomat Business Club should be leveraged for closer networking and partnerships.
“An ambitious Future Foresight agenda has firmly put Dubai on the threshold of a new era of public-private participation through government accelerators and innovation programmes that address our development and sustainability challenges to shape a better future for humanity,” Fahad Al Gergawi, CEO of Dubai FDI said while addressing the event.
Al Gergawi added that Dubai contributes to the world as a vibrant and dynamic city of the future, as gateway to a region that is home to two thirds of the world population and a pivotal hub in the global economy across supply and value chains.
“As we move forward, especially in the run-up to the Expo 2020 Dubai, Dubai FDI is leading a global effort supported by the Department of Economic Development and in partnership with international organisations to harness new models for the flow of financial and intellectual capital in support of the Sustainable Development Goals agenda. We believe that sustainable investment presents great opportunities for investors and we look forward to drive investments in social, digital and hard infrastructure projects, especially in the Middle East,” said Al Gergawi.
The launch was also followed by a network meeting next day between Dubai FDI and leading companies interested in moving to Dubai. The companies were briefed on the support provided by Dubai FDI and its partner network in starting up in the emirate and establishing connections with various enablers and markets.
“Forums like the Diplomat Business Club that foster dialogue, goodwill and friendship to facilitate business and trade relations, have contributed greatly to the success of the UAE and Dubai over the years. I’m confident that the launch of the Diplomat Business Club in London will create new opportunities for co-operation and inspire the future partnerships needed to progress our societies and economies towards peace and prosperity,” concluded Al Gergawi.