Dubai to enhance its position as a global liveability hub
Under the terms of the agreement, DET and HSBC will promote to HSBC customers and employees the unparalleled quality of life in Dubai, its position as a global investment hub and the diverse features of the destination that everyone can enjoy
Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) and HSBC Bank Middle East have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU), paving the way for increased cooperation in further enhancing Dubai’s position as a global liveability destination.
Under the terms of the agreement, DET and HSBC will promote to HSBC customers and employees the unparalleled quality of life in Dubai, its position as a global investment hub and the diverse features of the destination that everyone can enjoy.
The MoU also envisages collaboration in marketing activities designed to promote events and experiences across the tourism ecosystem to further amplify the city’s position as a leading international business, leisure and events destination.
Issam Kazim, chief executive officer, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing; and Abdulfattah Sharaf, CEO of HSBC UAE and head of International, HSBC Bank Middle East Limited, signed the MoU.
“We are pleased to partner with HSBC, a global brand that has played a significant role in the development of Dubai’s business, banking and finance sectors, in showcasing our multi-faceted business and tourism offering,” Issam Kazim said.
“This MoU reflects the trust and confidence reposed in Dubai by multinational corporations and will further enhance our efforts to support the aim of our visionary leadership to make Dubai the most sought-after international city and the most attractive location to live and work in,” he said.
“Our partnership with HSBC is also testament to the continued efforts being made in collaboration with our stakeholders to leverage the city’s strategic location, world-class infrastructure and its position as one of the world’s safest destinations to attract multinationals, entrepreneurs, investors and tourists to Dubai,” Kazim added.
Abdulfattah Sharaf said: “Opening up a world of opportunity is our purpose at HSBC and it is what we have been doing every day for our customers in the UAE since we became the first bank to open our doors for business here more than 75 years ago.
“In that time the UAE has built itself into a global trade and logistics hub, an international financial market, a leader in Sustainable Finance, a magnet for innovation, and a focus of global wealth creation. HSBC has been with the UAE on every step of that journey and this MoU reflects our commitment to the future of the UAE and our ambitious plans for growth here.”
With an increasing number of international firms choosing Dubai as their base of operations, DET and HSBC will work closely to support these companies with the aim of making it easier for them to set up their business in the city.
DET and HSBC will further elevate the city’s standing as a global liveability hub by highlighting and promoting the initiatives launched by Dubai to ease barriers to entry for business and leisure travellers, as well as the long-term residency initiatives that have been launched to offer pathways for deeper engagement and longevity with Dubai.
These include the new visas and programmes such as Golden Visa targeting investors, entrepreneurs and specialised talents, the five-year multi-entry visa for employees of multinational companies, and the Virtual working and Retire in Dubai Programmes.
UAE is the best place to relocate for business and living, Vanessa Eriksson says
Erikkson has spent 20 plus years working with premium brands and UHNW families.
Expo 2020 Dubai, Golden Visa programme, and a full schedule of upcoming global events position the UAE as a great place for people from around the world to relocate for business and residence, said Vanessa Eriksson, CEO of Ritossa Family Office, Dubai UAE.
Eriksson is responsible for spearheading Sir Anthony Ritossa’s Global Family Office Investment Summits in Dubai, Riyadh, and Monaco. She advises high profile families, leading entrepreneurs, fund managers, and established business owners on how to effectively communicate and network with their peers in the Summit’s private, closed-door setting.
Erikkson has spent 20 plus years working with premium brands and UHNW families. Prior to joining the Ritossa Family Office full-time, she worked for three family offices — GK Investment Holdings in Milano and Lugano, Majida El Roumi in Lebanon, and Fernand Schroeder Family Office in Luxembourg.
She is also Founding Partner of The Globe-Trotting PR, which she launched in 2014 as a public relations, investor relations, and marketing firm to promote and connect conscious names in Europe and the GCC. Additionally, she was General Manager of the Albert Premier Hotel, one of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World where she served primarily diplomats and business leaders in the financial sector. Previous positions also include work at Calvin Klein, Sotheby’s, Bulgari Hotels & Resorts, The Address Hotels & Resorts, and JG Black Book of Travel.
Erikkson is a member of the Advisory Board of The Majestic Group and a Consultant Volunteer for Save the Children. She earned a Master’s in Business Management at BSDA Bocconi, a B.A. in Art, History and Sociology at UCL, and attended the British School of Paris. She speaks seven languages fluently and is an avid world traveller.
“The UAE’s economy is vibrant indeed. Our region’s economic performance is on a strong upwards trajectory. Government programmes and incentives helped our region recovery quickly from the pandemic and our handling of the health pandemic led the world in terms of effectiveness and responsiveness. To help support growth, the governments in Dubai and throughout the region help small- to medium businesses and entrepreneurs and welcome public-private partnerships. The UAE works hard to attract talent and focuses on a superior quality of life based on solid infrastructure, healthcare systems, sustainability, safety, and resiliency,” she added.
Eriksson informs there is a trend toward women-founded and women-led businesses moving to Dubai and the UAE more broadly. “During our Summits, we hold panel discussions specifically geared to women’s issues and concerns and this topic often leads the conversation. This has also been discussed in detail in connection with Expo 2020 Dubai,” said Eriksson, who is currently busy with forthcoming Sir Anthony Ritossa’s 17th Global Family Office Investment Summit on December 12-14, 2021.
“New regulations support investors’ search for opportunities and growth is accelerating at a rapid pace. Dubai is producing unicorns and there is a strong focus on early growth stage companies as it expands its position as a technology hub. During our Summits, we hear from many important global businesses that they intend to either move their headquarters to the UAE or open a satellite office. Lifestyle is also an important part of their decision-making process as the UAE offers impressive opportunities in areas such as education, healthcare, infrastructure, recreation, shopping, travel, and more,” concludes Eriksson.
Abu Dhabi targets key cities as it seeks to attract more overseas firms
The Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) has targeted major cities in Europe, Asia and the US as it chases business leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators to explore expansion to the UAE capital.
A series of six events organised by its international office network to discuss expansion opportunities have taken place in London, Paris, Beijing, Seoul, New York and San Francisco.
The series, which concluded in December, featured speeches and panel discussions from companies that have successfully expanded to Abu Dhabi.
The virtual sessions were supplemented by in-person events and side meetings in the cities that offered opportunities for exchange of ideas and networking between ADIO and the foreign companies in attendance, state news agency WAM reported.
Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, said: “The benefits of doing business in Abu Dhabi are unmatched in the region, particularly for companies focused on innovation and technology. Within our investment ecosystem, businesses will find strong government support, established infrastructure and enabling regulations to accelerate their next stage of growth.
“By connecting with innovators across the world, ADIO is ramping up our vision to advance solutions that benefit us all.”
The events hosted by ADIO’s international offices are part of a series of strategic initiatives to help innovative businesses capitalise on opportunities in the emirate.
Established in January, ADIO’s international office network connects companies to Abu Dhabi, leveraging local capabilities to tailor ADIO’s range of financial and non-financial incentives to meet the needs of global investors.
Monira Al Kuttab, executive director, ADIO, said: “For global companies, Abu Dhabi offers access to a fast-growing region by way of a supportive business ecosystem and outstanding connectivity. ADIO is proud to showcase the abundant growth opportunities in Abu Dhabi.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg – the inaugural events of the ADIO’s international office network kick off a series of support initiatives for investors, as part of our renewed commitment to the local business community.”
ADIO offers incentives to eligible companies as part of its AED2 billion ($545 million) Innovation Programme to accelerate opportunities for investors and support the development of impactful solutions in Abu Dhabi.
New UAE weekend to attract foreign investments, bolster business, tourist appeal
Latest work system will bring the financial sector closer to the global stock markets, banks and financial institutions and, therefore, advance business and foreign trade
The new work system in the UAE aims to attract foreign investments, bolster its business and tourist appeal, and align its financial sector with international markets that will yield higher returns than the existing system in place, experts say.
Analysts and top corporate executives said the new work system would bring the UAE’s financial sector closer to the global stock markets, banks, and financial institutions and advance business and foreign trade.
The new working week, which is to take effect next month, will facilitate business transactions of local banks and entrepreneurs in the global market. According to the experts, matching the working weekdays with the rest of the world enables the private sector to carry out uninterrupted business, which stimulates business growth and yields higher returns.
On Tuesday, the UAE announced that it will shift from the start of 2022 to a working week that ends on Friday afternoon, with a Saturday-Sunday weekend instead of Friday and Saturday. The change will affect state entities, while private companies will be free to choose their working week.
A meaningful move
An economist at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Monica Malik, said many private sector companies in the UAE are expected to follow the Saturday-Sunday weekend.
“It is a very meaningful move in addition to other reforms introduced by the government in recent past,” she said.
Atik Munshi, managing partner, FinExpertiza UAE, said most countries in the world have Saturday and Sunday as their weekend.
“With the Friday and Saturday weekend in the UAE, there is a cumulative three days off work if any entity is dealing with the western or Asian country. With the new Saturday-Sunday weekend schedule, the UAE is trying to align with the rest of the world and thus save one day,” Munshi told Khaleej Times.
He said there had been a progressive thought of limiting working days to four instead of the current five. “By the four-and-half-day week, the UAE is trying to be a pioneer in such change. Though such change may benefit international business, it will take a while for the people of UAE to adjust to this change as traditionally, the Friday-Saturday weekend gels well with the local culture. The new year will bring a lifestyle change for most UAE residents due to the weekend change,” he said.
In reply to a question, he said it is difficult to forecast an immediate financial impact on the economy, but definitely, the sectors which deal internationally like forex, banks, shares and multinationals will benefit from the move.
Move to lift productivity
Shailesh Dash, a Dubai-based entrepreneur and financier, said it’s the step in the right direction which almost everybody has been talking about for the last couple of years of happening.
“It helps in making UAE-based companies work more easily with the international companies who have a similar weekend policy as well as help in creating much better work-life balance,” Dash told Khaleej Times on Wednesday.
“We believe it would help productivity in almost all sectors, but I believe the hospitality industry, as well as the logistics businesses, should benefit quite a bit. It would certainly help improve the work-like balance quite a bit, thereby improving the staff’s productivity and economy. This has been the case with a few other countries which have adopted a similar policy,” he said.
Adjustment to take time
Saad Maniar, a senior partner at Crowe, said it would contribute to the health and well-being of the people, which will result in better productivity. However, the cost of doing business will go up in the short term until people get adjusted to the shorter working week and can achieve operational efficiency. Also, a lot of planning is required to adapt to new work time, and it will take time to get adjusted, he said.
“Both government organisations and schools will benefit from the shorter working week. A four-and-half-day week will boost productivity for sure, however in the initial phase, the economy will have to learn to adapt to the new norms,” Maniar told Khaleej Times.
Ata Shobeiry, chief executive at Zoom Property, said the new weekend system is a welcome change as it will align Dubai with global markets that follow a Saturday-Sunday week. “It will facilitate timely and smooth international transactions, which, in turn, will boost many sectors of the Emirate, including the real estate market, which is already gaining a lot of interest from foreign investors after the brief Covd-19 setback,” he said.
Shobeiry said reduced working hours will also promote a healthy work-life balance among employees.
“They will be able to perform better and be at their productive best knowing that they have ample time to relax and socialise during the two-and-a-half-day long weekend,” he said.
A welcome for investors
Oscar Abraham, corporate counsel with a tech company, said this move could potentially have a huge impact, and the transition to the Saturday-Sunday weekend will be a welcome move for investors.
“The UAE will attract investments which will add to the robustness of the banking and financial sectors, both of which have already seen stellar growth in the past few years. In conjunction with the recent reforms in legislation affecting personal laws, this signals the UAE’s intent to make itself an attractive destination from an investor perspective and for expatriates to consider as a migration destination. This influx of manpower and finances could lay the required foundations for the long-term success of the UAE,” Abraham told Khaleej Times.
He said a working Friday ensures an inflow/outflow of transactions for an extra 24 hours in sync with the world’s banking and financial markets. This is a massive boost for foreign investors, especially those who would like to transact ahead of the closing bell on a Friday. This would promote UAE’s status as a global financial hub and cement its position as a gateway for Mena investors to access global markets and vice versa.
“The UAE can now also leverage its unique position amongst peers in the wider Middle East. A working Friday will lure investors from neighbouring countries who wish to access the markets on a Friday to consider the UAE-based banks and financial institutions as a gateway. This could potentially boost the financial services sector’s reach within the wider Mena region,” he said.
To a question about the major beneficiary of the new move, he said the obvious beneficiaries are the banking and financial services sectors. However, the technology sector will also see a significant boost.
“A structural change of this nature will require technology adoption to ensure the transition is smooth and not disruptive to services. An acceleration of technology adoption is likely and in line with the UAE’s wider initiatives to cement its position as a pioneer in the field,” Abraham concluded.