The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has concluded a series international roadshows with a visit to Johannesburg, South Africa, in line with its recently announced 2024 Strategy. The global financial centre, which connects businesses and financial institutions with opportunities across the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, aims to stimulate trade and investment flows along the South-South corridor, using Dubai as a hub.
During the visit to Africa, following a number of successful stakeholder engagement trips to China, India, Brazil and Peru earlier this year, the DIFC’s executive leadership attended the 2015 Institute of International Finance (IIF) Africa Financial Summit and the EY Strategic Forum Africa. The delegation met with over 25 high-profile government authorities, prominent financial industry officials and leading private and public sector companies from the banking and finance, professional services and corporate sectors.
Africa is the fastest growing economy in the world, with a third of the continent’s 54 countries experiencing annual GDP growth of more than 6%, compared to the global world average of 3.7%, as reported by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer at DIFC Authority, said: “Africa’s immense inward and outward investment potential was a key consideration when developing our 10 year growth strategy. One of our primary objectives is to help build synergies between Africa and the Middle East, Latin America and Asia – particularly China and India – by providing a stable, transparent and enabling business environment for financial firms looking to tap into this highly lucrative emerging market.”
According to the annual African Economic Outlook report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the African Development Bank and the United Nations Development Program, private investment from other countries into Africa will grow to US$55.2 billion by 2015, an increase of 10% than last year.
“Simultaneously, a number of African firms have ambitions to expand their operations globally. DIFC’s internationally recognised legal and regulatory framework, combined with Dubai’s connectivity and sophisticated social infrastructure, has made the Centre an attractive hub for African financial companies who want to engage with multinational institutions and target global economies.”
Firms such as South Africa’s Standard Bank and Nigeria’s Access Bank have already set up offices in DIFC to serve, finance and invest in the global and African markets. Furthermore, DIFC hosts top African firms such as HC Investment Banking (DIFC) Limited, Cooperative & Agricultural Credit International Bank, Attifariwafa Bank and National Bank of Egypt (NBE).
By 2024 the Centre’s plans to grow the number of financial firms operating in the Centre from 382 to 1,000, and its combined workforce from 18,521 employees to 50,000.