Salem Al Darei, CEO of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) Authority, talks about ADGM’s achievements and plans for future growth. He underscores the international financial center’s strategic role in the flight of the UAE capital as ‘The Falcon Economy’.
Al Darei also highlights the significance of Abu Dhabi Finance Week (ADFW) in the growth of ADGM and its positioning as a leading international finance center.
Economy Middle East: What plans has ADGM set in place to ensure it strengthens its position as a global financial hub? How do you plan on further enhancing ADGM’s offerings?
Salem Al Darei: As the international financial center of the UAE’s capital, ADGM’s goals are long-term in nature. Every initiative and regulation introduced in a particular year is part of a three- to five-year strategic plan that is aligned with the macro goals of the UAE’s capital. Last year, ADGM launched the concept of ‘The Falcon Economy’ as a symbol that defines Abu Dhabi and the UAE as a growing, prosperous, liberalized, and diversified economy.
It aims to position Abu Dhabi as the destination of choice for businesses and investors. Through its regulatory framework, it offers a business-friendly environment that combines effective regulations with attractive incentives for businesses and investors alike.
We’ve seen a lot of growth in ADGM in the past few years. As a young international financial center, ADGM is considered one of the fastest-growing international financial centers. This growth is backed by numbers. Today, we are one of the largest financial districts in the world. The recent expansion of our jurisdiction to Al Reem Island made us grow ten times, reaching a geographical space of more than 14 million square meters.
The Asset Under Management (AUM) has grown by 35 percent in the first half of 2023 compared to the first half of 2022. ADGM’s workforce has risen by 28 percent, reaching more than 12,000 talented individuals.
Economy Middle East: Abu Dhabi Financial Week (ADFW) launched last year. Why did ADGM decide to stage the event? What does ADGM, a financial center, hope to achieve by organizing an event such as ADFW?
Salem Al Darei: The first edition of ADFW was launched last year and it emerged from the global success of ADGM’s Fintech Abu Dhabi Festival. It also builds on Abu Dhabi’s position as a leading financial center in the MENA region.
The success we’ve seen from last year’s editions exceeded our expectations. We had approximately 9,000 attendees coming from all parts of the world. It further positions Abu Dhabi as a leading investment hub. The platform that ADGM launched assembles the best of the best from the financial industries, coming together under one roof and discussing very important topics such as the transformation of the financial industry.
Economy Middle East: Why did ADFW adopt the theme ‘Investing in the Transition Era’?
Salem Al Darei: This year’s edition has for its theme “Investing in the Transition Era”. The series of events will cover the extraordinary transition that’s happening covering the economic, technical, and climate aspects that tend to dominate the next decade and also shape the financial industry and the world economies. Embracing the transition era is very important because it helps find the path to a stronger, more resilient financial landscape which we will see from the different topics that will be discussed through the events.
This year’s edition will act as a platform for strategic responses from the financial industry. Given how critical this is for funding the development needed for the upcoming future.
Economy Middle East: What can people expect when they attend Abu Dhabi Finance Week this year?
Salem Al Darei: ADFW this year will be held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalid bin Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and the Chairman of the Executive Council. The four-day event will be staged across six major conferences, starting with the Abu Dhabi Economic Forum, Asset Abu Dhabi, Fintech Abu Dhabi, Global Financial Regulator Summit, and R.A.C.E, which stands for Regulation, Awareness, Collaboration, and Ecosystem. Finally, the external forum will be the Fortune Global Leadership Forum.
The majority of the topics will be covering the emerging trends in FinTech. They will be covering sustainable finance and ESG as well as the global economic outlook.
This year we are introducing a new event, which I mentioned earlier, the Abu Dhabi Economic Forum. The idea is to sample as many as we can from all the experts from the financial industries and the global policymakers to come and discuss ‘The Falcon Economy’ and the role of Abu Dhabi as the “Capital of Capital” and its emergence as a global economic financial hub.
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