Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Development Bank and AD Ports Group, the operator of industrial cities and free zones in the emirate, have signed a preliminary agreement to provide financial solutions that will support the industrial sector across the UAE and bridge funding gaps.
The agreement will see EDB provide innovative services to industry players who are part of the AD Ports Group ecosystem at Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi and ZonesCorp, to support their growth and expansion.
The agreement was signed on Thursday by Ahmed Al Naqbi, chief executive of EDB, and Abdullah Al Hameli, head of the Industrial Cities and Free Zone Cluster at AD Ports Group.
“Our collaboration with AD Ports Group is part of the bank’s vision to support the country’s economic diversification plans and enable the industrial units in the Kizad and AD Ports Group ecosystem with easy access to financial solutions,” Mr Al Naqbi said.
“The EDB solutions will help bridge the funding gap for large corporates and SMEs operating in priority sectors in Kizad. This will help support the UAE’s goals to build a robust knowledge-based economy and contributing to sustainable economic development.”
The UAE has rolled out various programmes to significantly expand its manufacturing and industry sectors. The Industry 4.0 initiative, announced last October, aims to leverage Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies to increase productivity and the development of innovative products.
Last year, the Arab world's second-largest economy launched Operation 300bn, which aims to increase the manufacturing sector's contribution to the country's economic output to Dh300 billion ($87.4bn) from Dh133bn over the next decade.
The financing agreement with EDB will broaden its support to its clients, Mr Al Hameli said.
It will “enable growth and expansion plans of industrial companies and contribute to the UAE’s Operation 300bn industrial strategy. Through our collaborative efforts, we wish to empower industrial units, SMEs and entrepreneurs operating within Kizad and ZonesCorp”, he added.
As part of the agreement, EDB and AD Ports Group also plan to organise a series of webinars with panel discussions and one-on-one meetings with existing Kizad and ZonesCorp clients to provide in-depth understanding of the financing solutions offered by EDB.
EDB was founded in 2011 through a merger of Emirates Industrial Bank and Real Estate bank. Last April, it announced that it aims to provide Dh30bn ($8.16bn) in financing over the next five years to support the UAE's efforts to more than double the size of its industrial sector by 2031.
The lender has been active in forging local partnerships. Last October, it signed an agreement with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office to further boost foreign direct investment and attract more businesses to the capital. A month earlier, it partnered with Ajman Free Zone to support the development of Emirati-led SMEs.
AD Port Group's Kizad and ZonesCorp, under the Industrial Cities and Free Zone Cluster, form the largest industrial hub for integrated trade and logistics in the region, with a total area of 550 square kilometres, of which 100 square kilometres is specifically designated as a free zone.
It is home to 1,500 local, regional and international investors operating within the food, logistics, automotive, polymers, metals, oil and gas, life sciences and advanced technology industries.
On Wednesday, AD Ports Group said the cluster is now the operations base for 95 polymer companies, in line with the rising demand for the industrial material.
Last month, it signed an agreement with China's Shandong Port Group to establish the region's first tyre storage and distribution centre and announced plans to explore opportunities in regional and international markets.