posted on 22/09/2003: 993 views
General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and UAE Defence Minister, has said that UAE's hosting of the joint World Bank-IMF annual meetings is a "qualitative leap" in the country's economic progress. He was addressing the opening session of the annual two-day conference of the International Institute of Finance (IIF) in the presence of Rajab Erdogan, Turkish Prime Minister. A large number of chief executive officers of most important international banks are attending the conference, which is being held ahead of next Tuesday's joint meetings of the World Bank and IMF in Dubai.
"Since the establishment of the UAE, Dubai has experience rapid progress, with its economy turned from entirely oil and gas dependent into extremely diverse and robust one," General Sheikh Mohammed, who is also Chairman of the Dubai International Financial Centre, said. He added that the UAE's economy is now in the forefront at the regional level in terms of economic reform and liberalisation. "The per capita share in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has doubled several times to over USUS$ 20,000. The policy to reduce dependence on the oil contribution in the GDP to less than 30 per cent has made the national economy more resilient, with the growth rate remained around 8 per cent in the past ten years," the Dubai Crown Prince told the gathering.
He paid tribute to the international foreign companies operating in the country, which he said had contributed to that growth, along with local firms. Some of these prominent international companies, he added, have taken Dubai as their premises to make use of its excellent business environment. He said the government had striven in the last decade to diversify its economic structure and exploit the advantage edge and the medial geographical location in a region that accommodates one third of the world populace, with a GDP of US$ 1.5 trillion.
The region consists of Central and East Africa, the Middle East, Caspian Sea countries and the Indian Subcontinent. Sheikh Mohammed said that this region is considered to be the " largest fledgling market in the world whose resources remain untapped." "We have been aware of growing global competition challenges and have striven to encounter them with an innovative strategic vision that benefits from the relative advantages we enjoy to attain growth and prosperity," the Dubai Crown Prince said.
He maintained that Dubai receives more than 5 million tourists yearly and has one of the fastest growing and most profitable air carrier as well as one among 15 largest international airports in terms of passenger and cargo transport. "With our vision getting broader, we have declared the formation of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) with the aim of establishing a robust financial market in the region lying between the two international financial centres in London and Hong Kong," he noted.
General Sheikh Mohammed confirmed that by forging a regional bourse, Dubai seeks to found a much bigger financial market than the existing bourses; one, which he said, would be highly efficient and transparent. He added that DIFC would act as a world centre for Islamic finance and an important regional centre for insurance and insurance similar to those internationally pioneering ones. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)
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