GCC diversification drive on track, 80% UAE exports non-oil

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GCC well on track for the diversification drive, 80% exports from UAE are non-oil, experts highlight key trends economic trends at the Gulf Trade Finance Summit

Over 200 trade finance decision makers gathered for the Gulf Trade Finance Summit last week in Dubai.

With the dynamic economic evolution of the trade finance industry in the GCC region, the 2nd Annual Gulf Trade Finance Summit 2019 provided a much-needed regional platform to engage in discussions and share insights on economic diversification which is the entire regions’ vision.

The event addressed key topics such as the involvement of digitization in the trade finance market, the role of SMEs to boost the industry, financial solutions from banks and institutions, challenges of international trade, and liquidity management. Apart from panel discussions and keynote speeches, the conference had ample networking opportunities and a boutique exhibition lounge to showcase products and solutions that are imperative to the growth of trade finance in the industry.

The event provided a platform to showcase the growth of GCC economy with the non-oil exports having progressed to 80% of the total exports in the region, mainly concentrating on the 3 Ts – Trade, Tourism & Transport, logistics. One of the points of discussion was the ways in which authorities are helping the companies export into foreign markets by adapting products to suit the requirements. Through studies conducted by Dubai Exports, out of the businesses setup in the past few years 22% tend to be more creative, internet based businesses, esp. youth in trade, are born global and are more aggressive when it comes to exports, using digital means.

SMEs: Powerful Growth Engines

It was highlighted at the summit that in lines with the UAE government’s vision 2021, SMEs participation in the non-oil economy will reach 70%. There are over 400,000 SMEs that contribute to more than 60% of the country’s non -oil economy and provide 86% to the private workforce. In the recent years, reports suggest that SMEs have become an integral part to strengthen the private sector and diversify the overall economy. The Gulf Trade Finance Summit delved deeper to understand the magnifying growth of SMEs and explored various financial operations and solutions to minimize the financial trade problems with speakers representing the SME industries of the GCC.

Digitization Key to Success

Digitization has also become a new topic of interest among the experts of the industry where 47% of the banks in the Middle East believe the technology solutions are becoming more mature who aim to successfully adapt technological tools into the financial offerings. Commenting on their experience and participation in the conference, Sumit Aggarwal, Group Head of Transaction Banking services, Emirates NBD, one of the leading and most innovative banking groups in the UAE stated that “Events such as Gulf Trade Finance Summit has helped corporates to understand the dynamics affecting other industries in addition to theirs. Keynotes and panel discussions are around the current developments in GCC trade finance. This enables corporates to form a balanced view and make informed decisions while deciding to enter strategic alliances and investments.”

The GCC trade finance is taking long strides in the global market that has opened doors for many SMEs and MNCs. Speaking on the overall success of the event, Sidh N.C, Director, QNA International said “The overall trade finance industry is an important element of the economy whose challenges should be addressed in order to facilitate seamless trade, which is what Gulf Trade Finance Summit aims to do. The conference discussed the key pointers and helped corporations to network and strengthen ties for further development in the industry.”

Throughout the event, the speakers from top notch companies like Al Rawabi CEO, Ahmed ElTigani, Crescent petroleum Group CFO, Neeraj Agarwal, Al Dahra Holding CFO, Gianluca Elmosi, General Motors Head of Treasury, Halina Bernard, Manazel PJSC CFO, Balaji Prasad, Aujan Holding Head of Treasury, Arijit Shome, Chief Economist from Dubai Exports & many more shared their new ideologies, concepts, out of the box initiatives and regional insights in order to strengthen the sector and analyse the future of trade in the GCC market and emphasized on exemplifying the business ideas and focussing on the execution of imperative strategies. The discussions further included the role of GCC in the global economic trends and innovations that can be implemented in the near future.

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