‘Dubai’s regulatory network a big plus for foreign banks’

Dubai continues to grow as a banking hub connecting Europe, Sub Saharan Africa and the Middle East and several European investors are shifting base to the UAE, thanks to its excellent regulatory standards, says a senior banker.

Jamie Simmonds, Chief Executive Officer of the Access Bank UK, a division of the Nigeria-based Access Bank told Emirates 247, that several new buying houses, traditionally from Europe, have been relocating to the Middle East and especially to Dubai and this is mainly because of the excellent regulatory network.

"One of the key reason for setting up in Dubai is due to its high regulation market. Dubai is a major regional hub for all regional banks and its gaining importance. The economic link between the UAE and Africa have only been growing over the years and we see this accelerating over the years," says Simmonds.

The UK-based representative bank which set up its office in Dubai last November has already managed to attract several key investments into Nigeria.

Commenting on the growing potential in Nigeria, he says the country has emerged as one of the fastest growing investment destinations in sub-Saharan Africa and the returns available are as good as anywhere else in the world.

"If you look at all of the forward projections, including the population growth in Africa, Nigeria is one of the countries that is growing fast. In Nigeria you already have a population of 150 million people and an abundance of natural resources," he said adding that the country has a rich eco-system, strong political confidence and a growing middle class," he adds.

With natural resources of more than $30 billion and a population growth that is set to surpass that of the United States by 2050, the country's main focus in on local manufacturing with special emphasis on infrastructure development.

"That is where we come in. Being a strong player, we can act as an experienced guide for investments that are flowing into Nigeria. Our decision to move here in itself was influenced by a lot of our customers moving into Dubai, and if you are a true relationship bank, you have to be where our customers are," he adds.

Commenting on the current economic conditions and the backdrop of low oil prices, he said, "The overall global conditions are bound to improve. If you look at the history of Dubai, it has a resilient model. Today it has emerged as a major regional and global hub," he said.

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