Abu Dhabi is ranked among the top 25 cities in the world in terms of economic competiveness as a financial centre, moving up three rankings from the previous position on the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI).
The development was announced during the launch of the GFCI 22 in Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), premises, reported Wam, the Emirates official news agency.
"As the capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi has achieved a substantial increase in its economic and political influence, both on the regional and global levels in recent years, " said the report, citing the new initiatives introduced by the government of Abu Dhabi to foster growth industries and a sustainable, knowledge-based economy, including the successful merger of NBAD and FGB into First Abu Dhabi Bank, creating one of the region's largest banks with total assets in excess of $180 billion.
"We are excited that Abu Dhabi is ranked among the top 25 cities this year. This serves as an endorsement of Abu Dhabi's initiatives and efforts to enhance its strength as a financial centre with a creative investment infrastructure that will help us entice more partners over the coming period," Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, ADGM chairman said to the media after the announcement.
"The new global acknowledgement spurs us to continue raising the bar and improving the sectors to better serve the needs of our stakeholders. We will continue to be committed and look forward to a long and prosperous future as Abu Dhabi continues to uphold itself as an instrumental and leading financial centre regionally and internationally."
Seif Mohamed Al Hajeri, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Department, who attended the launch, said the new achievement is a testament to the successful economic policies by the government of Abu Dhabi under the directives of the wise leadership of the UAE, to strengthen non-oil investments.
"This achievement reflects the success of the economic policies adopted by the government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi which focuses on the enhancement of the role of foreign investments and increasing their contribution to the non-oil sectors. This approach helped surpass the challenges that have faced the global economy since the beginning of the second half of 2014 by realizing good rates of growth in various non-oil sectors."
"The decision of ADGM to adopt the English Law to be the prevailing law in the Free Financial Zone, as it prevails in Singapore and Hong Kong, gives investors an advantage that provides a more transparent legal framework, reducing risks and contributed to the quick success by occupying the 25th rank at the global level in a record time," he noted.
"Over the last four years the contribution of financial and insurance activities to the GDP of Abu Dhabi rose from 5.8 per cent in 2013 to 6.9 per cent in 2016, thanks to the progress in the performance of its banks and finance markets which contributed to the growth of other sectors. It is expected that this sector will add significantly to the diversity of the economy of the emirate within the next few years."
"Financial and insurance have become outstanding business activities that entice direct foreign investments thanks to the attractive environment that Abu Dhabi enjoys, supported by advanced infrastructures and stability of economic policies. They are expected to expand despite the challenges that the region experiences nowadays. In this regard, the total amount of direct foreign investments in financial and insurance sectors in Abu Dhabi came to about Dh14.672 billion ($4 billion) in 2016 in comparison with Dh12.731 billion in 2014."
Financial and insurance activity is the third largest contributor to the direct foreign investments in the emirate by 15.4 per cent after the real estate and transformational industries. This is attributed to the advantages that the investment environment provides, including the progress made in economic policies, the participation of the private sector and the alleviation of all hurdles facing the business community, thanks to the steady efforts exerted by the government of Abu Dhabi, he noted.
Developed by the Z/Yen Group, the GFCI provides evaluations of future competitiveness and rankings for the major financial centres around the world. Up to 106 financial centres were researched for GFCI22, using 102 instrumental factors. The report measures 29,000 financial centres assessments, together with over 100 indices from organisations such as the World Bank and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.