UAE the perfect place for post-pandemic business, Jersey firms told

Experts from Abu Dhabi and Dubai said UAE’s location is ideally suited to capitalise on the region's rapidly growing economies

United Arab Emirates, July 14, 2020

Companies from the Channel Island of Jersey should look to partner with the UAE and its business-friendly environment as the world begins to emerge slowly from months of lockdown over the Covid-19 pandemic, finance experts from Abu Dhabi and Dubai said.

Speaking at a webinar on Monday dedicated to exploring growth opportunities between Emirati and Jersey officials and business leaders, it was pointed out that the UAE had not only become a crucial access point for opportunities in the Middle East, but also Africa and South Asia.

A self-governing British dependency near the French coast, Jersey has historically been known as a finance hub with tax-friendly laws.

Richard Teng, the chief executive of Abu Dhabi Global Market, said the UAE was “an extremely important gateway” into the wider region that offered a diverse range of opportunities.

“The last two decades, if you look at the global economy, emerging markets contributed about two-thirds of growth. China roughly one-third, other emerging markets roughly one-third.

“Going forward where do those numbers come from? They will come from this region. So the number of young adults going to the workplace in Africa in the next few decades will surpass that of China by three times.

“So you just look at the magnitude of that economy – and we are a key gateway into this fast-growing region,” he said.

The Jersey Finance chief executive, Joe Moynihan, said he was increasingly seeing companies using his team’s UAE office to expand into Africa.

Arif Amiri, chief executive of Dubai International Finance Centre, said that the “future of the economy that is actually based here, is taking shape in the UAE that covers the wider region”.

He pointed to a wide “availability of talent” and a “government that really supports the mandate of each and every business”.

Mr Teng said the UAE authorities had shown the country was prepared to do business, evidenced by its stimulus packages.

“Other than the quality of life, the forward-looking vision, I think the Abu Dhabi government has always been quite visionary and quite long-term on that front,” he said.

As the global economy faces continuing turmoil amid the coronavirus pandemic, business confidence is low but Mr Teng said there was clear evidence the government wanted to back business – for example, its measures to ensure liquidity.

“In the short term as a result of Covid, I do think that the government and various parties in Abu Dhabi have really rolled out different measures to help companies that are already here.”

The webinar also marked the first virtual visit to Jersey by an ambassador, with the UAE’s representative to the UK, Mansoor Abulhoul, taking part.

He praised the conservation and training partnerships between Jersey’s Durrell wildlife centre and Al Ain’s zoo.

But Mr Abulhoul referred to the UAE’s strict lockdown measures that had allow the country to deal comparatively better than many others as the ambassador looked to the future.

“We want to build on these partnerships in the months ahead, particularly as the world moves from crisis to recovery. Because of the steps we took to limit the damage of Covid-19, the UAE has already set out on the road to recovery.”

“That comprehensive approach has allowed us to start cautiously reopening the economy before much of the world.”