DIFC's contribution to UAE's economic output on the rise, governor says

The financial centre is set to attract more industry-specific FDI projects to Dubai in 2023

The DIFC is home to 30,000 professionals and more than 4,000 active registered companies. Pawan Singh / The National
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The Dubai International Financial Centre has increased its contribution to the emirate's and the UAE's economy in 2022, and is set to attract more finance-related foreign direct investment to Dubai next year.

The financial centre is ending the year with an “exceptional” performance, reaffirming the city's status as a global financial centre, said DIFC Governor Essa Kazim.

The DIFC will continue to attract more FDI to Dubai in 2023, the financial free zone's Higher Board of Directors said in a meeting chaired by Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, and president of the DIFC.

“During 2022, [the] DIFC successfully increased its economic contribution to the UAE and Dubai’s economies by delivering on the key objectives of its 2030 strategy,” Mr Kazim said.

“As we move towards 2023, [the] DIFC remains focused on its vision to drive the future of finance, which will attract more finance-related FDI projects to Dubai and further enhance our reputation as the region’s leading global financial centre.”

The DIFC is pursuing the main goals of its 2030 strategy, including the development of Dubai into a financial innovation and technology centre.

Other key objectives include the expansion of the DIFC Innovation Hub, the development of regulations for digital assets and future-focused approaches to resolution management.

A total of 537 companies joined the DIFC in the first half of this year, an 11 per cent increase from the same period last year, reaffirming the emirate’s status as a global financial centre, according to figures released in September.

The number of registered companies grew to 4,031 during the six-month period, from 3,297 in the same period last year. The total number of companies operating in the DIFC grew by 22 per cent on an annual basis.

“We continue to work to raise the UAE and Dubai’s stature and competitiveness as a leading international business and financial services hub,” Sheikh Maktoum said on Monday.

The Higher Board reviewed the key achievements of the centre’s three independent bodies — the DIFC Authority, the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) and the DIFC Courts — in 2022.

The meeting highlighted the role of senior DIFC management and their teams in making the centre the world’s best-performing free zone globally in terms of attracting FDI projects to the financial services sector over the past five years.

The meeting also urged DIFC bodies to “remain focused on the future and continue to work to consolidate Dubai’s position as one of the world’s highest-ranked financial centres”, the Dubai Media Office said.

It also discussed how DIFC can further contribute to the financial industry's global climate, environmental, social and governance goals that will be discussed during the Cop28 conference that will be hosted by Dubai next year.

With a track record of supporting trade and investment flows across the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, the DIFC connects fast-growing markets in the region with the economies of Asia, Europe and the Americas.

The centre is home to an internationally recognised independent regulator and a judicial system with an English common law framework, as well as the region’s largest financial ecosystem of almost 30,000 professionals and more than 4,000 active registered companies.

Updated: December 19, 2022, 11:59 AM