Abu Dhabi’s strategic advantages as a conduit and enabler of trade and commerce across a rising “super region” stretching from West Africa to East Asia were presented by the National Bank of Abu Dhabi’s (NBAD) group chief executive officer Alex Thursby at the recent fifth Abu Dhabi Investment Forum (ADIF) held in London.
The event is organised by Institutional Investor in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development and supported by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), the government department that helps British-based companies in the global economy.
In his presentation, Thursby spoke of NBAD’s West-East Corridor strategy, whereby the bank aims to benefit from the bank’s strong fundamentals such as the UAE’s strategic location to tap into the growing economies that span from the West of Africa across to East Asia. The “corridor” includes increasingly important economies in MENA, the Indian Sub-continent, South East Asia and greater China. The region is said
to represent vast potential with significant natural resources, growing economic activities and an emerging middle class.
“Economic and other data clearly shows what we have is a ‘super region’ and illustrates that the opportunities growing in trade, commerce and investment flowing across the West-East Corridor are astounding,” said Thursby.
“The UAE enjoys a free, open, and dynamic economy. It is the second largest economy in the Arab world, has the 29th largest GDP in the world, and is bigger than other great commercial hubs of comparable fundamentals. Events such as the Abu Dhabi Investment Forum highlight unique investment opportunities available in the UAE,” he added.
A phenomenon of the West-East Corridor is the growth and concentration of mega cities, metropolises with more than 10 million inhabitants, which offer a significant contribution to GDP growth and an increasing middle class.
Over the next 10 to 20 years nearly 20 mega cities will emerge in this area, such as Lagos, Jakarta and Guangzhou, most of which it is said will complement Tokyo and Cairo and rival Paris, London and New York.
Within this context, NBAD’s five-year strategy (2013/18) is to pursue growth by: “building the largest, safest and best performing bank in the UAE and, over time, in the GCC; deepen its wholesale network across the West-East Corridor and integrate the bank’s European and North American platforms into that network; and build five international bank branches in the largest and fastest growing economies in the corridor.”
NBAD was a lead sponsor of the Abu Dhabi Investment Forum 2014. The annual conference allows Abu Dhabi’s key industry leaders, financial intermediaries and high-profile government officials to present to a global audience the emirate’s wealth of investment opportunities.