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Sunday 21 September 2014

Open for Business

 

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, and the largest of the seven Emirates, has made vast investments in order to attract international business and increase socio-economic development. Bringing together the forces of entrepreneurship and innovation, the guiding force of this rapid expansion is the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ADDCI).

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Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry

Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry, UAE

Q & A with The Director-General

HE Mohammed Rashed Al Hameli, Director-General, Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry shares his insights on the mission, vision and strategy of ADDCI.

 

In what specific ways is ADCCI successfully positioning Abu Dhabi as a leading commercial and business destination? How has the innovative promotion of its commerce and business opportunities added to the economy and global profile of the emirate?

 

The ADCCI is an autonomous body supporting government policies in promoting trade, commercial and industrial activities. In this context, we provide a series of services to both national and foreign businessmen who have businesses in Abu Dhabi or are prospective entrepreneurs. The Chamber has played a significant role in harnessing the potential of the private sector to contribute to Abu Dhabi’s non-oil economy.

Having embarked upon an aggressive approach breaking away form the traditional role of merely issuing licences, the ADCCI has now taken up the more active responsibility of linking the private sector with the public sector. At the same time, the Chamber is also involved in finding solutions to problems faced by businessmen in setting up business or entering into joint ventures with foreign companies.

 

This year we have launched two very important work centres: the Members Services Centre and the Business-Link. These two centres are like a ‘One-Stop Shop’ providing A-Z services to members as well as the business community, traders and entrepreneurs. Abu Dhabi is emerging as the centre of very vibrant economic activity, with the government adopting an open foreign investmentfriendly economic policy and allowing the private sector to play a pivotal role. Abu Dhabi is on fast track. Our strategic location supported by the bold and dynamic open economic policies, has turned our Emirate into a beehive-like hub for global business and commercial activities.

The ‘Abu Dhabi Plan 2030’ is an unprecedented, phased undertaking to be shared by the government and the private sector to refurbish and build a modern infrastructure. Over the next two decades, Abu Dhabi will be spending trillions of dollars on tourism facilities, building hotels and resorts for high-end tourists. Health and education projects will be launched to provide the best in the two essential services sectors. Real estate, commercial and residential properties, modern network of roads, seaport, airport, and light rails will be provided. Our economic growth during the past couple of years is a brilliant achievement reflecting the strong long-term growth through wealth creating opportunities. Our real estate market has emerged as a strong challenge to other players in the field and is now exploding, registering unprecedented demand-based
growth expected to cross $500 billion when completed. Our innovative specialized industrial zones set up in selected parts of the emirate and our government’s policy of allowing 100 percent ownership to foreign investors and entrepreneurs offer excellent opportunities to industrialists and entrepreneurs to set up their businesses.

 

What partnerships with industry stakeholders has ADCCI fostered, and why?

 

As I said earlier, the ADCCI has undergone a basic change from being a mere basic service provider to be an active player fostering close ties with the business community. The establishment of the Abu Dhabi Business Group Forum and its interaction with ADCCI brings the International business community on one platform, which would help networking amongst national businessmen and entrepreneurs. The ADCCI is aware of the changes on the market-place and the growing importance of the private sector in contributing to the development of non-oil economy. We have two elected expatriate members on our board of directors to give more representation to the private sector.

 

 

 

 

Diversification from oil-related revenues is a long-term strategy that is sometimes difficult to implement. What concrete steps is ADCCI taking to ensure that it is realistically implemented?

 

Our progress and success depend on our strategic planning, building friendly working relationships with various segments of the business community at all levels to develop Abu Dhabi’s non-oil economic sectors. We encourage our businessmen and trading community to foster strong trade and business ties with foreign businessmen, firms and companies.

 

Despite the recent and well-documented successes of Abu Dhabi as a business hub, what challenges does ADCCI face in marketing this location to the evergrowing volumes of investors?

 

We have successfully marketed the economic and commercial benefits that Abu Dhabi has to offer to foreign investors, and the vast potential that the Emirate has to offer in real estate, tourism, health and industry. The private sector plays a
very crucial role in developing a strong economy; ADCCI realizes this and has established open, transparent and fasttrack policies in dealing with members and foreign businessmen. The government has liberalized the economy allowing full-scale involvement of foreign investors. However, we want to go for high-end quality partnerships that will help us develop a sound and stable non-oil economy. Abu Dhabi is the largest of the seven emirates endowed with rich natural resources other than oil and gas. We have about 200 natural islands, sand dunes, sea coast. We have the advantage of turning these resources into developing a strong non-oil-based economy. Our FDI reached about $ 6 billion in 2006 and there is potential for more, as there are more opportunities for investment in our burgeoning tourist and travel industry, hotels, health and education to name but a few.

 

Competition is always healthy and key to growth. Competition does not mean we try to undercut one another. Chambers of all the seven emirates under the UAE Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) have a common goal to help boost and strengthen the UAE economy by providing guidance, help and support to businessmen and entrepreneurs.

 

 

 

What further innovation can be expected from ADCCI in the future?

 

In line with the changes in global economic activity, the Chamber has laid down a well-planned strategy to meet emerging
challenges, especially laying emphasis on perfection and excellence within the various departments of the Chamber. It is our continuous endeavour to provide best services and guidance to our members so as to help them increase their trade and
business activities.

 

In addition, the Chamber is keen to encourage young UAE men and women entrepreneurs to start small- and mediumsized enterprises (SMEs) to help boost the government’s efforts to build the non-oil economy. As an important part of its strategy, it also provides its members with orientation programmes to develop and polish their skills and capabilities to acquire modern know-how and knowledge of international market-place trends. To this end, the e-commerce culture has been assimilated at the ADCCI with ease to be in tandem with developments around us and has greatly improved the internal and external workings of the organisation.

 

The Chamber’s duty is to render the best possible services to its member firms and companies. According to Chamber Law, all individuals and companies that are based in the Emirate and participate in any commercial or professional activities in this area must be registered. Membership certificates are issued to all members and from this moment onwards they are kept updated on the latest data and information available from the Chamber, as well as being educated about how to make the most of the services which it offers. Members are notified of the Chamber’s frequent functions and events whilst being kept abreast of its general duties and the tasks it carries out.

 

The wealth of data and information which the Chamber possesses allows it to be an active participant in a variety of functions and events, both locally and internationally. Through these, the Chamber is able to introduce its member companies and products so that they too can benefit from these opportunities. This interaction helps the Chamber to gain a clearer vision of the problems and obstacles that members may be facing. These problems are discussed and appropriate solutions are devised; if necessary, further action is taken by approaching the authorities.

 

Through its website, the Chamber makes all information required by the business community in Abu Dhabi and the UAE instantly available. Their vision, “to be the leading chamber in achieving socio-economic development” by consistently seekingto support the national economy and improving both the development of the services it offers and the domestic and foreign relations it fosters, is being realised across diverse spheres. Embarking on a strategy to invest in the best and most advanced practical education in order to upgrade the level of professionalism of its staff, they are becoming recognized by the community as being highly qualified role-models who uphold the Chamber’s values and enhance its prestigious position, nationally and internationally. In this way, the Chamber’s mission, ‘to contribute effectively to the enhancement of our national economy through adoption of the best professional and technical practices,’ is coming to fruition in tandem with Abu Dhabi’s pre-eminence in the 21st century.

 

Abu Dhabi is the number one city in the Arab world across diverse indicators. It is seeking to integrate into the global market and to achieve prosperity for its citizens and residents. To make this a reality, the government has adopted a scientific approach based on standards that would make it possible to measure its performance against that of other economies.

Representation in Boards

 

The Chamber is also represented in boards, including the UAE-Turkish Businessmen Board, the UAESyrian Businessmen Board and the UAE-Indian Businessmen Board. It is a member of the Federation of the AGCC Chambers of Commerce & Industry, the Federation of Arab Chambers of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture, the Islamic Chamber and the Arab Labour Organization. Such representation falls within the framework of its membership in the UAE Federation of Chambers of Commerce & Industry.