Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading financial hub for the $7.4 trillion Middle East, Africa and South Asia (Measa) region, has announced that in the first half of 2017 it has grown 6.2 per cent to 1,750 incorporated companies.
Of those registered companies, the number of regulated financial institutions has increased to 463. The DIFC workforce increased to 21,628 professionals and is expected to rise as new companies become established at the Centre. An additional 144,000 sq ft of commercial space has been leased.
The first half of the year has also seen significant progress made towards enhancing DIFC’s infrastructure – physical as well as legal and regulatory. Meanwhile, the launch this year of FinTech Hive at DIFC has created a hub that connects cutting edge technology companies with leading financial institutions to drive innovation.
These initiatives, coupled with DIFC’s steady growth, ensure that the Centre is on track to achieve the targets set out in its 2024 Strategy, which will see DIFC triple in size and rank within the top 10 financial centres globally, a DIFC statement said.
Essa Kazim, governor of DIFC, said: “DIFC’s strong performance in the first half of 2017 confirms the Centre’s position as Measa’s leading financial centre. The DIFC ecosystem is second-to-none in this region in terms of business environment, infrastructure, scale, and human capital, which allows companies in the Centre to thrive. In doing so, DIFC and its community are supporting the growth of Dubai and asserting its status as the best place to do business in the region. As a financial centre, we remain focused on achieving our strategic aim to triple in size by 2024.”
Arif Amiri, chief executive officer of DIFC Authority said: “DIFC is a dynamic financial community that continues to evolve in order to serve the needs of its growing number of institutions and companies. In line with our 2024 strategy, the last six months has seen real progress made towards enhancing DIFC’s physical as well as its legal and regulatory infrastructure. This underlines the Centre’s role as a robust platform with reliable modern infrastructure, enabling companies to transact business in the Measa region from their regional headquarters in Dubai.”
The first half of 2017 featured a number of major projects and initiatives that will enable DIFC to maintain the competitive advantage it provides to its business community, enabling it to access business opportunities throughout Measa.
The ongoing expansion of DIFC’s modern infrastructure took a leap forward in the first half of 2017 with major progress being made on its two large development projects – the Dh1billion ($272,000) Gate Avenue at DIFC and the Dh180million Exchange Building.
Gate Avenue at DIFC, which is on track to open in 2018, connects all elements of the Centre’s Master Plan. Upon completion, it will link the podium levels of all buildings located in DIFC, from the Gate Building to Central Park Towers. It will enhance the DIFC’s position as a 24/7 destination with over 200 dining, boutique, retail and entertainment options, as well as an iconic new mosque. Gate Avenue at DIFC will span across 660,000 sq ft of built up area and 880 metres in total length.
DIFC’s new Exchange Building will “top out” in the middle of August and work is on schedule for the completion of the building in Q1 2018. The latest addition to DIFC Gate Village will provide 147,000 square feet of leasable space, including Nasdaq Dubai, offices and retail units.