India's Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman with Manoj Ladwa, Founder and Chairman, India Global Forum Image Credit: Supplied

India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and UAE Minister for Artificial Intelligence Omar Sultan Al Olama will deliver keynote speeches at the inauguration of India Global Forum's annual event in Dubai today.

Under the theme Unleashing Ambitions, the third edition of the event will have an expanded geographical purview beyond the India-UAE partnership, encompassing a broader IGF Middle East and Africa 2023 (IGF ME&A) programme.

IGF ME&A convenes business leaders, policymakers, and thought leaders from India, UAE and Africa to discuss opportunities for further collaboration and growth between these regions through a series of exclusive networking opportunities, panel discussions, and keynote speeches, covering a range of topics including trade, investment, innovation, technology, and sustainability.

Sitharaman will deliver her address to the assembly virtually, followed by an interactive question-and-answer session.

Manoj Ladwa, Founder and Chairman, IGF, said: “This year's theme, Unleashing Ambitions, sets the tone for discussions that transcend geographical boundaries and fosters an environment where India, Middle East and Africa can converge their strengths and leverage each other's expertise and resources to pioneer a new era of collaboration. IGF ME&A will be the catalyst for this collaboration, and showcase the limitless opportunities presented by the Global South.”

The event comes in the backdrop of the UAE-India partnership scaling newer heights. Bilateral trade between India and UAE has seen significant growth, registering a year-on-year increase of 16 per cent to reach $85 billion in the April 2022-March 2023 period, and a target of achieving $100 billion non-oil trade by 2030. The bilateral relationship is now acquiring newer dimensions with the two countries joining hands to support investments and development projects in Africa.

Looking forward to IGF ME&A, Indian Ambassador to the UAE, Sunjay Sudhir said: “In today’s world, the India – UAE strategic partnership stands tall. The centuries old trade relationship has taken flight and diversified into an unbelievable expanse of opportunities. It is based on the principle of mutual growth and development, taking pride in each other’s successes, and creating solutions that are inclusive and have the global good in mind.

The IGF ME&A culminates just ahead of COP28 and concludes on November 29 with the Climate for Business Summit and COP28 Gala Reception featuring Bhupender Yadav, India’s Environment Minister, as the Chief Guest, making it a pivotal prelude to the global climate conference.

Programme snapshot
• IGF Dialogues: Exclusive gathering of industry leaders and policymakers engaging in peer-to-peer roundtable dialogues
• IGF Forum: Exploring the untapped potential and newer avenues for collaboration between India, Middle East, and Africa
• IGF Studio: Spotlighting topics in tech, media, leadership, and geopolitics in a broadcast studio format hosted by top news anchors
• Founders and Funders Forum: Examining how emerging markets are driving innovation and using leapfrog technology to reshape their future
• WomenIN Forum: Empowering women to claim their rightful place at the forefront of innovation and leadership
• Climate and Business Forum (ClimB): Ahead of COP28—explore climate leadership, green financing and innovative policies for sustainable growth
Key speakers
1. Nirmala Sitharaman, India’s Finance Minister
2. Bhupender Yadav, India’s Minister of Environment
3. Dr Rajeev Chandrasekhar, India’s Minister of State, Electronics & IT
4. Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence
5. Patricia Scotland, Secretary-General, Commonwealth of Nations
6. Falguni Nayar, Founder & CEO,Nykaa
7. Nikhil Kamath, Co-Founder, Zerodha
8. Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder & CEO, Paytm
9. Gaur Gopal Das, Monk, Author
10. Ian Ferrao, Group CEO, Airtel Money
11. Kate Hampton, CEO, Children's Investment Fund Foundation
12. Suniel Shetty, Actor
13. Sanya Malhotra, Actor
14. Palki Sharma, Journalist
15. Sima Ved, Founder & Chairwoman, Apparel Group
Core themes and sessions
• India, Africa, and the Middle East – Shaping the New World Order?  
• UAE & India Exploring Multilateral Dimensions in Bilateral Relations
• How Should Businesses Respond to Changing Geopolitics?
• Navigating the New Era of Generative AI
• Can UPI be Templatised?
• Can We Double Energy Efficiency by 2030?
• Has Fintech Made Paper Money Obsolete?
• From Typewriters to AI Prompts – Technology Overtaking Creative Processes?
• The Billion Dollar Question – Do Women Really Have to Do It All?
• Enabling Women Entrepreneurs in Emerging Markets 
• Net Zero – Realistic Target or a Pie in the Sky?
• How can Fintech Drive Wealth and Inclusion?
• The Private Sector's NetZero Revolution
• The Role of Fossil Fuels in a Low-Carbon World 
• Inspiring Journeys: Hear from actors and media personalities