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February 2024
AAM Magazine
February 2024
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DIFC aims to triple in size over the next decade

Essa Kazim, governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), announced at a media briefing on June 10 that the centre is poised to grow three-fold over the next ten years through the integration of a four-pronged strategy that includes deepening core client synergies, enhancing infrastructure, increasing the availability of skilled staff, and stepping up access to the South-South trade corridor.

The strategy outlines goals and opportunities that the centre aims to achieve in the next decade, through continuing to expand its physical and legislative infrastructure, to keep pace with targeted growth, and to ensure that DIFC ranks within the top ten financial centres globally. DIFC also aims through its ten-year strategy to align its goals and Dubai Plan 2021, to reinforce its position as an international centre for legislative and Islamic financial services.

"The unwavering support of our clients has made DIFC a tremendous success story in the last decade. The number of registered firms climbed 18% to 1,225, with 242 new companies licensed in 2014 alone. The total workforce at the financial hub as of 2014 stood at 17,860,” said Mr. Kazim, who is also the chairman of the DIFC Authority. "Going forward, we aim to enhance our services and product offerings towards boosting business and establishing new benchmarks. In line with the Dubai Plan 2021, DIFC's strategy identifies the key engines of growth, focusing on new solutions and structural reforms. The centre is critically important to the emirate's ability to finance growth and create jobs by attracting global investors."

He continued: "Based on the fundamentals of sustainable and inclusive growth, DIFC has identified key goals towards drawing new financial services firms, expanding the presence of a skilled workforce, enhancing infrastructure to optimise occupancy, increasing assets under management, and strengthening our balance-sheet position to eventually cement our position as one of the leading financial centres globally. DIFC believes the implementation of these recommendations is crucial to boosting the growth of not only the financial centre, but also that of the UAE and the wider region."

Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, deputy ruler of Dubai and president of the DIFC, added: "In our strategy for the next ten years, we look forward to stimulating and driving our collective aspirations to enter a new phase of leadership, in a way that puts us at the forefront of financial centres on the global landscape."

Key highlights of DIFC's 2024 strategy include the following core areas:

  • DIFC expects to increase the number of active domiciled financial firms to 1,000 by 2024 in comparison to 362 in 2014;
  • Align a broader human skill-base with the substantial development of infrastructure. The combined workforce of DIFC-registered companies is set to grow from 17,860 to 50,000 over the next decade;
  • Consolidate net additional 5.5 million sq. ft. commercial office space, as against 2.5 million sq. ft. in 2014;
  • To encourage robust best-practices, DIFC will further develop services and business capabilities that ensure the delivery of quality growth in the coming years;
  • Overall assets under management of fund managers and financial institutions are expected to rise to an estimated US$250 billion by 2024, up from a total of $10.4 billion in 2014;
  • In addition, DIFC anticipates financial firms to strengthen their balance sheet by an estimated value of $400 billion, compared to $65 billion in 2014, through enhancing liquidity to fuel future growth.