Abu Dhabi offers a progressive and ambitious government, a technological and innovation infrastructure platform, and private sector-enabled economic development, top officials and investors said during an event in the UAE Capital.
Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa Al Hammadi, chairman, Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, welcomed the investors from all over the world by promising “ease of doing business, creating the right ecosystem to work and offering affordability to live here”.
During the opening day of the two-day Fintech Abu Dhabi Festival, Al Hammadi said that the Abu Dhabi Government has been able to transform challenges into opportunities, and introduced investor-friendly policy reforms to match the international standards.
“When we started listening about fees for the ease of doing business, the Government in Abu Dhabi slashed our licensing fees by 90 per cent, reduced our business opening requirement by 70 per cent, we changed some of the laws that make foreign owners eligible to own 100 per cent of their businesses off-shore and on-shore. It is very important to keep an eye and listening ear to all our investors.”
Kevin O’Leary, chairman, O’Shares Investment, noted that Abu Dhabi can become a global centre of finance.
“The next level of finance is not going to be tied to geography but policy. So, when we think about what this place can become or is becoming, it could lead in global centralised finance.”
O’Leary stressed on creating more awareness among the global investors on the opportunities offered in the UAE.
“Once we understand the policy, the capital will flow. This gem of a country, is in a region that is known to be unstable, people don’t understand it. When you come and see it, you realise that this place is like Switzerland but nobody knows. What I have seen here so far, this is good.”
Highlighting the successful initiatives taken by the authorities in Abu Dhabi, Mohamed Alabbar, founder, managing director and CEO, Emaar Properties, pointed out that his e-commerce platform Noon.com would not have been realised without the investment from Abu Dhabi.
“Noon was a startup, now it is five years old. Funding is a serious issue in the region. If it wasn’t for the sovereign fund from Abu Dhabi, I don’t think there would be a Noon today. So, you need somebody who believes in a mission, willing to fund, and willing to go the long term. So, today you got a global champion, a regional champion, Noon, but if it wasn’t for the funding from the Abu Dhabi authorities, I don’t think there would be a successful tech platform, that really battles the big boys and beats them every single morning,” Alabbar said.
Abu Dhabi Global Market’s (ADGM) flagship Fintech Abu Dhabi Festival has more than 200 speakers, 80 sessions and 40 hours of content shaping the global fintech landscape. — firstname.lastname@example.org