DIFC and MEED Host Infrastructure Finance Seminar



The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) together with MEED (Middle East Economic Digest) Magazine will host a seminar on Infrastructure Finance in the GCC on 29th November 2006 at the DIFC Conference & Exhibition Centre in Dubai.

The conference aims to provide insight into the financing requirements of planned projects in the GCC region worth more than $1 trillion. Bringing together developers, financiers and other interested parties, the conference will focus on the latest trends and opportunities within this sector. The prominent line up of speakers from institutions including HSBC, Dubai Islamic Bank and BNP Paribas will provide invaluable market analysis and intelligence, highlighting the challenges facing borrowers and lenders in financing major infrastructure projects across the region.

His Excellency Dr Omar Bin Sulaiman, Governor of Dubai International Financial Centre, commented:
“The areas of focus to be addressed during this conference are of enormous interest, considering the current construction boom we are witnessing across the region, particularly here in Dubai. Growing at an annual rate of 29%, the construction sector has come to play a significant role in our economy and we must ensure that there are financial resources and stability to support this growth. The DIFC is aware of the challenges to be faced and is keen to ensure that the necessary measures are taken to expand the region’s horizons at a steady and sustainable pace.”

The conference will look at general economic trends across the region as well as key developments in financing energy, power and real estate projects. It will also offer an analysis of the infrastructure finance market and examine the emerging role of Islamic finance in financing infrastructure. A range of expert speakers will also provide insight into a range of more specific issues including a borrower’s perspective on the current market situation and a lender’s perspective on infrastructure financing.

Dr Omar Bin Sulaiman, continued: “We are all abundantly aware of the current construction boom that is taking place on our very door step. There are a number of fascinating developments planned or underway and we are now witnessing increasing private sector participation in infrastructure across the region. There is a clear sense of anticipation and enthusiasm from local and international partners who are ready and willing to be involved in this exciting phase in Dubai’s history.”

It is widely recognised that there is an increasing demand for financing, and whilst this project finance is becoming cheaper, it is stretching banks’ capacity to breaking point, requiring tens of billions of dollars of debt. As such, it is important that these subjects are addressed in order to raise awareness and understanding, enabling the necessary infrastructural development and economic growth across the region.

Today, the construction industry in Dubai is considered one of the key sources of employment, income and growth, due to the building boom currently taking place; in 2005 this sector contributed almost 12% to GDP. According to MEED Projects, $264 billion worth of construction projects are currently planned in the UAE alone. With over 24 million square feet of commercial office space currently under development, Dubai has four times the shopping area per capita compared to the US.

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