His Excellency Ahmed Jasim Al Zaabi, chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED), and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), highlighted the significant growth of the financial sector in the UAE.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of Abu Dhabi Finance Week (ADFW) 2023, Al Zaabi says the financial sector surged 30 percent in the second quarter (Q2) of this year. At the end of the year, Al Zaabi is optimistic that it will be able to sustain its momentum and end the year strong with a 13 percent growth rate. He also underscored the sector’s importance as the “cornerstone of our economy’s diversification”.
Among the prominent personalities present during the inaugural day of ADFW included H.H. Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, H.E. Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, UAE Minister of Economy, and H.E. Mariam Almheiri, the UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment.
Organized by ADGM, ADFW gathers leading local and international leaders, business titans and key influencers of the global financial sector to discuss finance, technology, investments and sustainability at one of the fastest growing finance events in the world. It will run for four days until November 30, 2023, under the theme “Investing in the Transition Era”.
During his keynote speech, Al Zaabi said, “I’d like to begin by sharing a thought that has always resonated with me: “Money talks, wealth whispers and power is silent”. He wanted to emphasize the importance of action and how this has been key to propelling Abu Dhabi, The Falcon Economy, to where it is today. “We in Abu Dhabi have understood the value of diligent work, sound economic policies and the importance of economic power that resonates beyond borders,” His Excellency added.
Al Zaabi also spoke about the broader performance of Abu Dhabi’s non-oil sector, saying “As we reflect on our economic journey, it is important to recognize the strides we’ve made in diversifying our economy. This year, our non-oil sector showed a robust increase, growing by an impressive 12 percent in the second quarter,” Al Zaabi continued.
It is worth noting that Abu Dhabi’s non-oil sectors now comprise nearly 54 percent of its total GDP. Additionally, Al Zaabi highlighted the impressive performance of Abu Dhabi’s non-oil foreign merchandise, which expanded by 13 percent by the end of the third quarter this year. According to the chairman of ADDED and ADGM, “such figures stand as a testament to our nation’s dynamic economic growth and diversified strength.
Beyond the numbers
His Excellency emphasized the importance harnessing Abu Dhabi’s accomplishments as a force for good and social progress. He said, “Beyond the numbers, our leadership has shown us the path to not just accumulating wealth, but utilizing it responsibly, for the betterment of our nation and the world.”
Quoting the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Al Zaabi said he was inspired by the wise words of the UAE’s founding father who once said, “Wealth is not in money; wealth lies in mankind. This is where true power lies, the power we value.”
“These words encapsulate the essence of our commitment to sustainable development, the preservation of our culture and the advancement of our society. It is a testament to our leadership’s enduring vision and legacy,” Al Zaabi continued said.
Al Zaabi then emphasized that it should be understood that the preceding years have presented challenges. “But like the dunes of our magnificent desert, we, too, adapt and reshape ourselves. We have not just endured; we have thrived. And that, my friends, is not a coincidence; it is a result of our collective vision and resilient spirit.”
Looking towards the future, Al Zaabi discussed the path that lies ahead and outlined key principles to follow.
“Firstly, we must focus on what makes us unique. The world needs Abu Dhabi—synonymous with innovation but grounded in cultural richness. Our emphasis on renewable energy is not just a market strategy; it is a testament to our love for this land, and our commitment, to safeguard it for generations to come,” he said.
“Secondly, let us continue to nurture the spirit of entrepreneurship. I’m reminded of a pearl diver, descending into the depths with nothing but a lungful of air, and a dream of treasure. The risks are great, but so are the rewards. We must foster an ecosystem where young entrepreneurs can dive deep and emerge with pearls of innovation,” His Excellency continued.
In addition, Al Zaabi also underscored the importance of inclusion. He explained, “Our vision for Abu Dhabi’s economy is incomplete without the contributions from every one of you, whether you’re from the East or the West, whether you work in finance or in technology, you have a role in shaping this Emirate’s destiny.”
He then concluded by saying, “As we leave here tonight, let’s look forward to the stories, the insights, and the inspirations we’ll gather. Let the spirit of this week light up the path of our collective journey. Our way forward may not be without challenges, but as we’ve proven time and time again, this is Bu Dhabi. We don’t just survive, we thrive. We emerge stronger, together.”
World of finance
ADFW features three more days of insightful discussions on fintech, innovation, investments and climate finance. Speakers on the first day featured some of the world’s financial leaders, including Jamie Dimon, chairman and chief executive of JP Morgan Chase; and Ray Dalio, founder of the US-based investment management firm Bridge Water Associates.
Moreover, the event’s agenda reveals a remarkable lineup of 45 events and 180 different sessions, showcasing the participation of esteemed heads of investment funds and numerous high-net-worth individuals from around the world. This impressive gathering represents senior financial leadership with a cumulative asset under management of $30 trillion, solidifying ADFW as a prominent global platform for industry leaders.
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