Essa Kazim, the governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre, is looking forward to a new decade of expansion at the emirate’s financial hub.
Speaking on the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the DIFC, Mr Kazim welcomed the prospect of competition with the Abu Dhabi Global Market, and said the UAE would benefit from the presence of two financial centres.
“Dubai is used to competition, and in the UAE we have had two ports and two airports for a long time, to positive effect for both.
The financial sector is another element of that. We are true believers in open markets and facing competition,” said Mr Kazim.
“With regards to Abu Dhabi, I believe the pie is going to grow bigger in financial services globally. As we grow scale there is room for more than one financial centre in the UAE. It may be that Dubai and Abu Dhabi decide to specialise in certain sectors of the financial business.”
The DIFC is home to 1,113 registered companies and has a workforce of 17,000, and the financial sector’s contribution to Dubai’s GDP has risen to more than 12 per cent in 2013, from 5.5 per cent in 2004.
“Over the last 10 years Dubai has emerged as the key hub for commerce in the region, and the DIFC as the preferred destination for business,” he added.
Mr Kazim said that the challenges of the past decade consisted of “building a track record and framework for regulators and the DIFC Courts, and in managing the volatility of the global business cycle”.
He added: “Our success will be measured over the next 10 years. In particular, we will aim to take advantage of the DIFC’s position as a natural hub on the trade between Asia and Africa. That’s where the growth is.”