Interview : Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh

What is ADGM’s take on cross-border connectivity?

AHMED ALI AL SAYEGH: Situated at the heart of the East-West corridor, Abu Dhabi is a natural link to the markets of the Middle East and Africa, the Indian subcontinent, South-east Asia and China. In 2018 ADGM marked its third year of successful operation as an international financial centre established to support the long-term economic growth of Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE.

Every ADGM initiative has the emirate’s growth plans and position as a global centre in mind. Our role as a financial and business enabler is to unlock new opportunities and attract sustainable investments into our marketplace. We also provide assistance for local institutions to base their activities at home rather than abroad and support corporates to anchor their outreach strategy and interests in Abu Dhabi.

ADGM has been enhancing its presence and gaining global recognition across various jurisdictions. International agreements, memberships with international bodies, registrations of multinational corporations and cross-border initiatives have contributed to its increasingly global profile. Since 2015 ADGM has steadily established more than 50 regional and international collaborations with like-minded authorities, governments and partners who have a common goal to foster cross-border opportunities and share best practices to promote a healthy and robust global marketplace.

In what ways can partnerships with Asia help to support ADGM’s overseas ambitions?

AL SAYEGH: As a global player, ADGM recognises the relevance and urgency of the Asian markets. ADGM opened its Beijing office in May 2018 and established a partnership with the Shanghai Stock Exchange to establish a “Belt and Road” exchange in ADGM. The first of its kind in MENA, this exchange will bring new avenues of investments and open up more financial opportunities for Abu Dhabi as well as the entire region that is impacted by the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The government of the Jiangsu province in China has also set up a financial services platform in ADGM with a commitment of $2bn to support the needs of Chinese enterprises. This deal was made in the presence of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and the deputy supreme commander of the UAE armed forces; Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and prime minister of the UAE, and ruler of Dubai; and Xi Jinping, president of China, during his visit to Abu Dhabi in July 2018.

ADGM will continue to serve as the financing and investment centre in MENA and wider Asia for BRI projects and as a renminbi offshore clearing centre for major projects and institutions, promoting greater cooperation between China and UAE. ADGM also continues to work closely with its Asian partners, including Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore, to encourage information exchange and collaboration.

How can synergies across MENA be harnessed to foster capital flows and free movement of business?

AL SAYEGH: MENA is a strategic cluster of emerging economies and one of the most significant growth engines of the world. With rapid economic transformation and an increasing population, more infrastructure, services and jobs will be required to support the region and its increasingly diversifying economies. Technological changes have also created new opportunities in a range of key industries, supported public-private initiatives, and facilitated cooperation between governments. ADGM will continue to drive innovations to spur the growth of the UAE and support the financial development of the region. Reinforcing our role as a financial and business regulator, we will continue to actively engage with regional entities through bilateral agreements, memberships and joint projects. We also work with regional regulators to boost financial literacy, share best practices, facilitate flow of capital and align our regulatory practices to meet global standards.