The Middle East and North Africa region’s resilience to volatility and turbulence in the global banking and finance markets has positioned it as an attractive investment destination, a Dubai-based regulator said.
“This region has proved its resilience to uncertainty and volatility in the credit and financial markets of the United States and Europe,” Dr Omar bin Sulaiman, Governor of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), told chief executives at the annual meeting of the Institute of International Finance (IFF) in Dubai.
“We have been relatively unaffected by the recent crisis in America’s sub-prime mortgage market, which has affected investor confidence and resulted in a global downturn of share prices and the threat of inducing recession in the G7 with transmission effects to emerging markets. The region’s resilience and positive prospects built on sound macroeconomic conditions has encouraged institutional investors, both local and global, to turn to it for greater liquidity and portfolio diversification.”
The Mena region’s economy achieved GDP growth of 6.2 per cent between 2003 and 2007, well above its previous performance, bin Sulaiman said. “However, in order to sustain the strength of our economy, we must work to implement policies to foster future growth and development and investment in the region.”
Dubai has targeted a real GDP growth rate of 11 per cent per annum for the next 10 years, an increase in real GDP per capita to $44,000 (Dh161,595) in 2015, labour productivity growth of four per cent per annum and increased economic diversification into knowledge-based activities. The target is to bring Dubai’s GDP to $108 billion by 2015 and should consolidate efforts to sustain and develop the emirate as a regional and international hub, bin Sulaiman said.
“With sectors such as real estate, tourism and financial services developing at an incredibly rapid pace, Dubai has now emerged as a leading regional and global hub for business and banking. Globalisation and the growing importance of Islamic finance have resulted in many of the world’s most prestigious banking, legal and financial institutions opening their doors in Dubai.
“Setting up operations in the UAE enables companies to build on their existing successes and to expand their services to regional clients,” bin Sulaiman said.
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