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Dubai Views Financial Crisis As An Opportunity

by Lorys Charalambous,, Cyprus

23 October 2008

The current shift in global capital flows gives Dubai and the UAE an opportunity to strengthen its position as a global economic and financial hub, so says Dr. Omar Bin Sulaiman, Governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

Addressing a delegation in a keynote discussion with Stephen Green, Group Chairman, HSBC Holdings, at the second FT/DIFC World Financial Centres Summit in London recently, Bin Sulaiman said: "As well as presenting challenges, the effects of the global financial crisis will potentially open up opportunities that were unthinkable only a few months or even weeks ago."

One of the year's most important high-level gatherings of policy-makers and strategists, the World Financial Centres Summit was held in London from October 21 to 22. Organised annually by the Financial Times in partnership with the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the Summit brings together senior financial executives, corporate decision-makers and regulatory and government officials to discuss issues impacting financial centres around the world.

Bin Sulaiman went on to explain that the DIFC is taking up a strategic project to strengthen links between emerging markets. "We are part of the global community, we are learning and we are aware. We are taking proactive measures to continue our growth, we will continue to manage and assess our strategies, and we will make adjustments according to our needs. Hope in the global financial sector is with emerging markets. Dubai and UAE give access to hope."

Observing that the financial crisis has, so far, had little impact on Dubai, Bin Sulaiman noted: "The drivers of Dubai's growth, the 'Dubai' model remain strong: openness, excellent infrastructure and logistics, a world-class regulatory framework, strong macroeconomic fundamentals, and knowledge clusters that attract FDI, companies and people. Those drivers, supported by a strong banking and financial sector along with a clear vision and the will to succeed will enable Dubai to weather the storm."

Bin Sulaiman also spoke about the proactive measures taken by UAE leaders and the government to protect the economy and ensure its continued growth. These included the introduction of a deposit guarantee scheme, the creation of a USD13.6bn fund to boost liquidity in the domestic banking industry, and an interbank loan guarantee to unfreeze the lending markets.

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