ADGM focuses on new initiatives to attract more companies and boost Abu Dhabi's economy

Israel’s venture capital firm OurCrowd sets up operations at ADGM, according to its chairman

Israel’s venture capital firm OurCrowd has set up operations in the Abu Dhabi Global Market. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National
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Abu Dhabi Global Market is introducing a number of new initiatives to boost its growth and attract more companies to the capital’s financial centre, its chairman has said.

“We have created many successful growth opportunities, brought world-class FinTech companies to the UAE and collaborated on cross-border initiatives to establish an inclusive financial and FinTech ecosystem in Abu Dhabi … that will foster a more dynamic, advanced and lasting sustainable economy,” Ahmed Al Zaabi said while speaking at FinTech Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

The financial centre, which aims to connect the emirate with international markets in the Middle East, Africa and South and East Asian economies, is part of Abu Dhabi's efforts to diversify its economy.

The ADGM had 3,700 companies operating within it at the end of June, including global businesses, financial institutions, treasury centres, professional services firms, small and medium enterprises, start-ups and FinTech companies such as digital asset-trading entities.

The ADGM has introduced a number of new initiatives over the past year as it continues its focus on attracting new companies to the financial centre. It launched the Mena region’s first calibrated venture capital managers framework, as well as a FinTech sandbox regulatory regime.

The financial centre also introduced a comprehensive virtual regulatory framework, which is helping ADGM to transform “into a key global jurisdiction and destination for virtual and digital assets, with 12 licensed digital assets entities and counting”, Mr Al Zaabi said.

Other initiatives include the launch of the ADGM Digital Lab, an online platform that allows regulators, FinTech start-ups and financial institutions to collaborate and solve issues that affect the financial sector.

Mr Al Zaabi also said Israel’s venture capital firm OurCrowd had set up operations in the ADGM.

This is “the first-ever Israeli VC to incorporate in Abu Dhabi, as they join our ever-expanding family of venture capital and investment institution partners,” he said.

OurCrowd, whose headquarters are in Jerusalem, has distributed capital into more than 280 portfolio companies and 30 funds across five continents. Japan's SoftBank is also investing in the firm.

The UAE and Israel normalised relations after signing the Abraham Accords in September last year. The two countries have since signed a series of deals to foster co-operation in sectors ranging from aviation to finance.

ADGM also completed the world’s first digital trade financing pilot project in collaboration with the Monetary Authority of Singapore as it continues to offer new services to businesses, Mr Al Zaabi said.

“I am certain, that many more such projects will follow … in turn accelerating the digitisation of trade finance in Abu Dhabi and the UAE,” he said.

Abu Dhabi is focusing on improving business conditions and supporting its economy, said Mohamed Ali Al Shorafa, chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development.

The emirate this year cut business set-up fees by more than 90 per cent to improve the ease of doing business. It also introduced a professional licence that allows foreigners full ownership of businesses related to 604 activities as the emirate seeks to attract more investors and boost its economy.

“Our goal for Abu Dhabi … is to create a thriving business environment that encourages growth and innovation,” Mr Al Shorafa said.

Abu Dhabi’s economy is expected to grow 6 per cent to 8 per cent over the next two years, driven by the oil sector, government spending, financial services and foreign direct investment, Mr Al Shorafa said earlier this year.

Updated: November 23, 2021, 3:11 PM