Ahmed Mohamed Al Naqbi
Emirates Development Bank (EDB), in collaboration with Make it in the Emirates initiative by the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT), has hosted EDB Connect – Dubai edition.
This is the first in a new series of forums aimed at fostering collaboration between government entities and private sector companies to drive UAE's national economic growth and diversification.
Held under the theme "Financing for Development: Enabling Dubai's D33 Ambitions", the one-day event brought together government representatives, industry stakeholders and prominent business leaders from the banking sector to discuss the latest industry trends and opportunities undertaken for sustainable economic development in Dubai.
Omar Al Suwaidi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, said: "The success of our strategic partnership can be clearly seen in the increased levels of technology adoption and industrial development we witness across the Emirates today. In terms of manufacturing, we are becoming more productive, more sustainable, and more competitive. In fact, just last year, the industrial sector contributed more than AED180 billion ($49 billion) to GDP, with industrial exports reaching AED174 billion. This remarkable growth story is something to be celebrated.”
Ahmed Mohamed Al Naqbi, Chief Executive Officer of EDB, said: "As the key financial engine for economic development and industrial advancement in the UAE, we are committed to supporting Dubai Economic Agenda’s (D33) aim of positioning the emirate as one of the top three global cities in the world.
“EDB Connect is an ongoing series that engages with key players of the economic diversification efforts in the UAE, most of which are EDB’s strategic partners who collectively contribute to inclusive and sustainable economic development in the UAE. The series will be organised regularly across the seven emirates to ensure key stakeholders from all over UAE gather to discuss this common goal.”
“The first edition of EDB Connect provided a platform for multi-stakeholder dialogue addressing challenges and strategic solutions to advance long-term sustainable transformation projects, in line with Dubai's economic ambitions. As the key financial engine for the economic diversification of the UAE, this reflects our shared mission to consolidate Dubai's position as a global business and investment hub.
“Through knowledge exchange platforms such as the EDB Connect series, we will continue to drive innovation in finance, foster partnerships and empower SMEs to collectively contribute to the UAE's sustainable development," Al Naqbi added.
Observing the vital role of industrial development in accelerating Dubai Economic Agenda (D33) goals, Al Suwaidi emphasised the importance of the ‘Make it in the Emirates’ initiative in driving national manufacturing capabilities. He requested a proactive response from private sector companies in Dubai to enable industrial growth in line with emirate's economic vision.
"Under the Make it in the Emirates campaign, the ministry is attracting local and international industrialists, innovators, and investors to the UAE to benefit from our competitive advantages and to join our industrial journey. The initiative has been well-received by the industrial community. MoIAT will continue working with its strategic partners in support of national and local economic objectives. Together, we must continue to forge the financial incentives and enablers that attract investors and empower industrialists. This collaborative approach is how we can fully realise our potential as a smart and sustainable industrial powerhouse," Al Suwaidi said in his keynote address.
EDB's CEO highlighted the key features of Dubai Economic Agenda, which aims to double the size of Dubai’s economy to AED32 trillion over the next decade, and the role of flexible financing in driving investments for sustainable growth.
"Dubai Economic Agenda includes 100 transformational projects, with the first package for the next decade including doubling the size of foreign trade to AED25 trillion and plans to connect Dubai with 400 new cities around the world through trade corridors. Today’s panels and interactive sessions offered the chance to share knowledge, create new ways of thinking and generate different approaches to creating a world-class economy," he added.
The event included three focused sessions featuring representatives from government and private businesses, free zones and banks. The first panel discussion centered around finding concrete measures to scale up financing to support sustainable development investments. Participants acknowledged the financing challenges SMEs and foreign investors face in setting up and running a business in Dubai as well as the various ways their organisations troubleshoot these issues and highlighted the importance of collaboration between entities in doing so.
The session featured key representatives from the government and private sectors including Saud Abu Alshawareb, Executive Vice President, Industrial Leasing, Tecom Group, Hamed Ahli, Head of Meydan Free Zone, Khalid Al Ali, Regional Director – Africa Global Markets Sector at Dubai Chambers and Karolos Travassaros, Transformation Advisor, EDB.
They discussed the need to promote private and public sector collaboration in governance, finance, science and technology. Solutions to improve the bankability of sustainable industrial projects to attract more investment and improve allocation of capital to finance Dubai's future development projects were also discussed.
The second panel discussion focused on the impact of public private partnerships on economic growth. Panellists discussed approaches and strategies required to ensure resources and finance under PPP models are used more efficiently. On the panel were Amal Al Ahmadi, Head of Agricultural Research Section at Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, Daniel Callaghan, Senior Vice President- Dubai Silicon Oasis Marketing and Business Growth at Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO), Hamad Al Sayegh, Head of Strategic Accounts at JAFZA and Abdalla Ahmed Al Aboodi, SVP – Project & Corporate Finance –Wholesale & Institutional Banking, EDB.
Public private partnership
Together they discussed public private partnership opportunities in areas such as sustainability, food security, artificial intelligence and biotech as well as establishing synergies in knowledge externalities with the private sector.
Another highlight of the EDB Connect – Dubai Edition was an interactive session bringing together senior leaders from leading banks and FinTech companies in Dubai to discuss the role of banks in catalysing SME's growth. Speakers included Manu Anand, Senior Vice President, Senior Product Owner –Business Banking at Mashreq Bank, Anshuman Shankar, Head of Commercial Banking at Commercial Bank of Dubai, Marwan Hachem, Founder & Group CEO at YAP, Peter Tavener, Co-founder, CFO & COO at Beehive, Bill Crawley, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, Trade Capital Partners and Shaker Zainal, Chief Business Officer at EDB.
Participants reaffirmed their resolve to continue to scale up efforts in support of SMEs and startups and discussed strategies to help SMEs overcome financing challenges and build winning business cases that attract investment.
They also highlighted their endeavours to enable a seamless onboarding process for businesses as well as their efforts in employing risk-sharing solutions to address the financing gap.
The event concluded with an appreciation award ceremony, where EDB presented its strategic partners in Dubai with trophies in recognition of their efforts towards the UAE's sustainable development and Dubai's D33 economic agenda.-- TradeArabia News Service