In capital of The United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, the 7th annual Global Financial Markets Forum was held during the first two days of March. The GFMF conference was organized by the National Bank of Abu Dhabi where over 1,300 attendees arrived to discuss the opportunities and challenges posed by today’s world economy. During the conference, bankers, politicians, regulators, sovereign wealth funds and asset managers shared their perspectives on the current global economy.
Some keynote speakers were featured during the conference like Colin Powell, the former Secretary of State for the United States of American and H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, the UAE Minister of Culture, Youth and Social Development. Discussions focused on key markets throughout the world like financial institutions, aviation and transportation, energy, family conglomerates and real estate, and retailers. It’s without a doubt that retailers and small businesses have been seeing much success across the globe as they hire the majority of the population.
Currently, the UAE is putting a focus on small and medium enterprises to bolster economic contributions to strengthen the country’s overall economy. SMEs serve an integral role in the lives of all Emiratis because they are the largest providers of work and account for 86 percent of jobs in the private sector. But in order for SMEs to thrive in the UAE, financial institutions need to switch gears and become more flexible in lending because SMEs may seek investments from Hussain al Nowais, the chairman of Khalifa Fund.
Hussain al Nowais has made investments to many SMEs already that stem from the Enterprise Development division of Khalifa Fund. These investments allow the SMEs to gather the resources they need to operate and knowing that small businesses and retailers are top performers, it only makes sense in the UAE to help strengthen them. With the shifting focus on SMEs, the UAE may be the next innovative market of emerging products and services.