Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology
Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: Emirates Development Bank is a key financial engine of UAE’s economic diversification agenda, said Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Chairman of Emirates Development Bank.

In an interview with Emirates News Agency (WAM), Al Jaber underscored the important role of the bank in providing financial solutions that support UAE’s national industrial strategy. He said that the EDB offers “innovative” financial solutions and programme, with its latest target involving the deployment of Dh25 billion to 13,500 companies within the five priority sectors.

Al Jaber also said that EDB’s objective is “to maximise our impact on the UAE economy”, by setting a target to raise the bank’s contribution to GDP to more than Dh10 billion through developing value chains in the national economy, focusing on the industrial sector.

He noted that EDB contributed a nine-fold climb in industrial capital deployed, from Dh108 million in 2019 to Dh1 billion in the first quarter of 2022, an increase of 832 per cent, as well as a five-fold increase in SME loans approved from Dh79 million in 2019 to Dh407 million. EDB also recorded a nine-fold increase in large corporate loans from Dh29 million in 2019 to Dh268 million in the first quarter of this year.

“EDB undertakes this role through a range of financial and non-financial products that aim to enhance the bankability of companies and increase their access to the financial resources required to launch, expand or improve their business,” said Al Jaber.

The minister said that EDB has a “massive” role to play, particularly in the context of the ‘Make it in the Emirates’ forum. The programme presented industrial companies, manufacturers and investors with a unique opportunity and access to some of the product procurements plans of 12 of the UAE’s leading companies who have identified over 300 products across 11 sectors at a total purchase value of Dh110 billion.

“EDB’s participation is critically important as it is key to ensuring that financing requirements are met,” said Al Jaber.

Sectors covered

EDB is focused on supporting sectors that diversify the economy towards non-oil GDP, and develop sectors that are a national priority for economic self-reliance and those that offer stable and sustainable growth for the future, said Al Jaber.

EDB has identified five key sectors that play a vital role in strengthening the economic resilience and competitiveness of the UAE, a list topped by manufacturing – in particular, petrochemicals, plastics, metals, machinery, electrical equipment, and renewable energy equipment. The second is healthcare, which includes pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical equipment, and hospital services, then comes food security, which includes agriculture, fisheries, aquaculture, and water desalination.

“Advanced technology, which is a major pillar of the UAE’s economic future, is another priority, and we focus on supporting activities in 4IR technologies such as robotics and artificial intelligence - the fifth priority sector is infrastructure, encompassing energy and utilities, waste management, transportation, broadband connectivity, digital Infrastructure, and the circular economy,” he added.

Al Jaber said that the bank is driving growth in each sector by offering a patient debt approach with flexible pricing and tailored financing solutions for customers who have investments in UAE. In the year since the strategy’s launch, EDB has approved Dh1.52 billion in loans to key sectors, including Dh750 million to the industrial sector, Dh350 million to the advanced technology sector, and Dh400 million to the healthcare sector.