Abu Dhabi Finance Week: Investment will play a key role in energy transition

ADFW highlights the critical component of climate finance ahead of Cop28

Abdulla Al Marri, UAE Minister of Economy, keynote speaker at Abu Dhabi Finance Week. Khushnum Bhandari / The National
Powered by automated translation

The lead-up to the Cop28 global climate summit, which begins in Dubai on Thursday, has focused minds across industries on accelerating the world’s transition to more sustainable forms of energy. In a sluggish global economy, one of the more challenging questions is how to pay for it.

It is especially fitting that Abu Dhabi Finance Week (ADFW), an annual platform for global finance and banking industry leaders, is being held this year on the eve of the climate conference under the theme "investing in the transition era". Over four days, ADFW 2023 presents an opportunity for industry leaders, financiers and other innovative minds to find ways to draw more resources towards building a sustainable future.

The importance of finance in the fight against climate change is undeniable, whether through the private sector, philanthropy or private-public partnerships. The UAE for its part has been diversifying its own economy and financing sustainable energy projects at home and abroad.

In the first half of this year, the Emirates’ GDP grew 3.7 per cent (the highest rate of growth in the GCC), driven in part by a 5.9 per cent expansion in its non-oil economy. It has taken planning, years and determined action for the country to get to this point.

The quest for economic growth has long been viewed as one of the leading contributors to climate change. That was true in a bygone world. Today, pro-growth can also be pro-climate.

Paramount to the UAE's development is investment in new economic sectors and emerging industries. Abu Dhabi’s sovereign fund Mubadala, for example, is investing, among other areas, in life sciences, technology, venture and growth capital in Asia and other emerging markets.

Another aspect of the UAE's unparalleled growth is tourism. Quite apart from the 70,000 expected visitors from around the world attending Cop28 this week, the UAE’s tourism sector is flourishing. A focus on developing the country’s industrial base – through initiatives such as the Operation 300 Billion and the Abu Dhabi Industrial Strategy – has greatly helped the country maintain momentum for growth.

Despite the many positive developments, the availability of climate financing is critical and will be a key component of talks at Cop28. In August, when Masdar listed its first green bond on the London Stock Exchange, Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Masdar’s chairman, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and the Cop28 President-designate, described it as a “defining moment” for climate finance.

The UAE's moves towards sustainable finance over the past couple of years have taken the country beyond the stage of pledges. It is actively converting its environmental commitments into solid economic growth.

Published: November 29, 2023, 3:00 AM