Dubai International Financial Centre debuts Outreach Programme with Dubai Internet City to explore untapped opportunities

Event titled 'Synergies and Untapped Opportunities' seeks to facilitate access to world-class banking and finance services for firms within TECOM

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) today hosted its Outreach Programme in partnership with Dubai Internet City, the region's leading ICT cluster. A first initiative of its kind, the Outreach Programme brought DIFC based institutions together with companies from Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, Dubai Knowledge Village - knowledge-clusters under TECOM Investments - in a half day seminar to explore synergetic partnerships and how businesses could tap into regional liquidity

Top officials from the Dubai International Financial Centre Authority and its leading member firms such as Standard Chartered, NASDAQ Dubai, Abraaj Capital, Al Tamimi & Company, Hawkamah, LCIA - DIFC Arbitration Centre and Mudara - Institute of Directors, made presentations on how businesses can take advantage of opportunities within the region through the world-class banking and finance services available at the DIFC.

Welcoming the Outreach Programme, Malek Al Malek, Executive Director of Dubai Internet City, said: "We are privileged to host this inaugural event in partnership with DIFC. In the past couple of decades, the world has witnessed a number of corporate mergers and acquisitions, aiming to leverage on the synergies that will accrue to companies once operations and services have been amalgamated. In these challenging times, the search for synergy can be even more rewarding, both in terms of cost benefits and greater efficiencies.

"We are confident events such as these that bring together companies from different sectors will stimulate us to realize our collective strengths and tap into a world of opportunities."

Dr. Nasser Saidi, Chief Economist of the DIFC Authority, explained about the historic linkage between Internet and Communications Technology (ICT) firms and the Finance industry, pointing to the critical role that Private Equity and Venture Capital played in the formative years of the ICT industry. In return, finance industry benefitted from the products and services the ICT industry innovated.

"Building on that historic and mutually beneficial relationship, we hope to create synergies, leading to 'Economies of Scope' whereby institutions can combine their service offerings to help them provide a wider variety of goods and services both locally and regionally - and even globally, leading to greater diversification of economic activity in Dubai and the UAE." Dr.Saidi said.

He pointed out that 2009 is a year in which entities with similar objectives would "need to come together, combine our strengths and resources, create networking opportunities and leverage each other's capabilities to overcome what is likely to be a difficult year. But even in such times, there are opportunities for the taking and together, we can grow and expand our businesses," he added.

The DIFC Authority Chief Economist explained that the DIFC Outreach Programme aims to assist free zone entities gain a competitive advantage in doing business in the DIFC Region, which stretches from North Africa, the Levant, the Gulf and the Caspian to the Indian Subcontinent - a region of 2.5 billion people with a yearly GDP of more than US $2 trillion and another US $1.3 trillion invested abroad. A region that is gaining importance as the centre of world commerce moves eastwards.

He pointed out that DIFC member firms can assist TECOM companies with Venture Capital, Project Financing or Private Equity injection. Trade Finance, Lease Finance, traditional banking services such as Investment Banking, Corporate Banking & Private Banking, and even needs for Insurance, Re-insurance and Captives, can be easily met.

TECOM members can access Islamic Finance, Cash or Asset Management services and if they wish to go to the markets, DIFC firms can help with Debt Instruments, Derivatives, Commodity Trading and Fund Registration and access to global trading through NASDAQ Dubai.

DIFC also offers expertise in Mediation and Arbitration and with implementation of good Corporate Governance practices.

"In fact, the DIFC is a one-stop-shop. Our members have the capabilities and expertise to meet with any and every requirement relating to banking and finance that you could possibly have. We have brought the DIFC Outreach Programme to you and we believe that the relationships created from this programme, will, get stronger for the benefit of all partners, our country and our region," added Dr. Saidi.

Home to many Fortune 500 companies as well as more than 1,000 specialised industry leaders from diverse segments of the information and communication technology sectors, Dubai Internet City has emerged as one of the largest ICT clusters in the world, providing the backbone to the industry while catering to the region's increasing focus as a knowledge-economy.

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