By Abdul Basit, Khaleej Times
Event to create thousands of jobs giving a sizeable impetus to economic growth
The landmark win of the World Expo 2020 bid has proved that nothing is impossible for Dubai and the UAE, and it will take the country’s banking sector to the next level of growth and expansion, according to top officials of leading banks.
Along with a range of other sectors, the UAE banking and finance sector is expected to flourish strongly after the recession of recent years, they added.
Khaleej Times talked to top industry players in the banking industry in the country and they all believe that the event will help create thousands of job opportunities giving a sizeable impetus to the economic growth by supporting trade, tourism, retail, finance and aviation sectors.
Hussain Al Qemzi, Group CEO of Noor Investment Group and CEO of Noor Islamic Bank, said: “Time and again the UAE has been described as a global melting pot that is home to more than 200 nationalities. Today, with the landmark win of the Expo 2020 bid, the UAE has convincingly proved, yet again, what collective endeavor can achieve. As a key contributor to the UAE success story, Noor looks forward to welcoming the world to the UAE and doing all it can to ensure that Expo 2020 is a resounding success.”
Farhad Irani, head of Retail Banking Group — Mashreq, commented: “Investment in infrastructure will certainly further buoy the resurgence in GDP growth to above 5.5 per cent in the three years to follow. This will in turn allow for the expansion in the expatriate inflow into Dubai, and drive longevity and stability within the expat segment which for banks will be a boon both in terms of size of market and quality/appetite of customer. Significant foreign interests will allow banks to expand their international and correspondent banking business further. Finally the ‘safe haven’ status that the UAE commands as the centre that attracts and delivers wealth management will be reaffirmed dislodging Singapore as a consequence.”
Mohammed Qasim Al Ali, chief executive officer of National Bonds, said: “Winning the bid reflects the relentless endeavours of the UAE government and its people in building an advanced infrastructure that supports the growth and development of the economy at various levels, making it a global business hub that provides innovative opportunities across all sectors. Expo 2020 will undoubtedly cascade a positive impact on the economies of all countries across the Arabian Gulf and the wider region allowing stakeholders to leverage the plethora of prospects that open up. It is indeed a matter of pride that in the lead up to Expo 2020 all roads from around the world will converge at our distinguished city — Dubai — that has emphatically earned its well-deserved place in the sun.”
Dr R. Seetharaman, Group CEO, Doha Bank, commented: “Cross-border collaborations and partnerships will stimulate bilateral trade and development between countries. It is necessary that connectivity should be developed between countries to facilitate cross border collaborations and partnerships. Dubai Expo 2020 will be an ideal platform for connectivity and would enable links between people, societies and ideas in various countries. The theme for Dubai Expo 2020 “Connecting minds, creating the future” is thought provoking and the subthemes sustainability, mobility and opportunity will focus on global development.”
Jakob Thomsen, regional head MENASA and CEO of Saxo Bank Dubai, commented: “I always believed that Dubai is one of the front runners for many reasons. With its highly advanced infrastructure, capacity and vicinity to the outside world it is very much geared to host such a demanding event. But most importantly Dubai is a truly cosmopolitan society with an historically international mindset and respect. This is the foundation of the success of Dubai and it continues to be part of the political thinking and decision-making. Dubai will be an excellent host of the World Expo 2020. It is a great opportunity to also brand Dubai as cultural destination besides being a fantastic business and holiday destination. Dubai remains a favourite destination for Saxo Bank but also for me personally, I think it’s a great place filled with opportunities, and I can’t wait for the world to see.”
Rohit Walia, executive chairman, Alpen Capital (ME) Ltd, said: “We are delighted to hear the news of Dubai winning the Expo 2020 bid. This is a landmark achievement for Dubai, its people and its outstanding leadership. The story of Dubai and its ambition is inspirational for all the businesses that operate in the country and with the winning of the Expo 2020 bid; we expect to see a new chapter of growth for Dubai. The business community in the UAE is excited about the future and the opportunities that it will bring.”