News

DIFC aims to add 600 firms in four years

DIFC1The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) – which offers a way for international firms to access the Middle East, though rental costs are high – has revealed it currently houses 1,113 active registered companies.

The centre hopes to have 1,700 firms and 20,000 employees by 2018, meaning it needs to add nearly 600 firms in the next four years.

It says a fourth business centre is under development, which will add 11,000 square feet of office space.

The figure comes as the DIFC, which is attempting to build itself as a regional hub for asset management, celebrates ten years of existence from when it started with 19 companies in 2004.

The centre's workforce has increased by more than 200 times from the original 75 professionals, and now numbers 17,000.

Since the DIFC's creation, the financial sector's contribution to the GDP of Dubai has risen from 5.5% in 2004 to more than 12%.

The centre aims to develop Islamic finance laws to support Dubai's goal of becoming a hub for sharia-compliant investment. Future plans also include targeting clients from China and Africa.

The development of DIFC has not been without its problems. In an interview with Funds Global MENA in July, Chirag Shah, chief strategy and business development officer of the DIFC Authority, admitted that that rental costs at the centre are expensive, and the stubbornly low number of funds domiciled at the DIFC is "lagging indicator".

©2014 funds global mena

Executive Interviews

INTERVIEW: ‘Financing is the blood of Iran’s economy’

Amid a fresh wave of American sanctions, Romil Patel spoke to Meysam Hamedi, director of financial markets and instruments at Iran’s Securities & Exchange Organization (SEO).

INTERVIEW: Totally mega

In 2016, global consulting firm PWC forecast the emergence of five global ‘megatrends’ in the next two decades. Stephen Anderson, its Middle East clients and markets leader, talks about their...

INTERVIEW: Protecting the investment

Rasmala’s trade finance fund recently passed $100 million in assets. Doug Bitcon, head of credit strategies, explains why he has to be hands-on.

EXECUTIVE INTERVIEW: A natural interest in the topic

Since 2016, Guillermo Ortiz has been a chairman of Latin America’s BTG Pactual. The former central banker of Mexico talks to Nick Fitzpatrick.

Roundtables

Middle East Investor Roundtable 2020: Dimensions of diversification

Investors in the Middle East consider the tools that will be needed to navigate the Covid-19 crisis, the continued appetite for dividend and why it’s all about tech. Chaired by Romil Patel.

South Africa asset management roundtable: Global rebound on ice

Experts discuss the investment implications of the coronavirus pandemic, a delayed rebound in global growth and dealing with South Africa’s energy issues head on. Chaired by Romil Patel in Cape Town.

South African roundtable: Taking the bull by the horns

Our panel discusses Chinese investment in Africa, financial institutions’ contribution to economic sustainability and regulatory concerns. Chaired by Romil Patel in Cape Town.

ROUNDTABLE: Hooked to the global caravan

With the MENA region at a tipping point, our panellists talk about economic diversification, the impact of regulation and the delayed Saudi Aramco listing. Chaired by Romil Patel in Dubai.