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Dubai forum zeroes in on sustainable investment

Investment Week segment floats ideas on responsible investing, with a number of landmark partnerships signed

Gulf News

Dubai: The ‘Sustainable Investment Forum,’ which was held today as part of the ‘Dubai Investment Week 2017’ — organised by the Dubai Investment Development Agency (Dubai FDI), an agency of Dubai Economy — witnessed a number of landmark partnerships and ideas exchange on promoting investment that enable businesses and communities to grow sustainably.

A partnership agreement was signed between China Financial Holding, China High-Tech Industrialisation Association, and the China Financing and Investment Property Corporation (CFIPC) for the ‘China-UAE Techtown’ project, a large-scale research and development centre for innovation, technology transfer and services.

The project seeks to introduce the world’s top technological achievements, promote the effective output of China’s qualified technology capacity, and offer efficient technology service for the 1.5 billion population in the Middle East and Africa.

Dubai-based Meraas Holding signed a memorandum of understanding with Hanergy, a multinational renewable energy company and the world’s leading enterprise in thin-film solar power generation, and MCC International to construct, develop and operate a 900 megawatt (MW) solar energy park in Dubai.

“The Sustainable Investment Forum is an ideal platform to explore opportunities for regional and international cooperation and initiatives to facilitate the flow of FDI into sustainable development projects,” said Fahad Al Gergawi, CEO of Dubai FDI.

Marcelo Crivella, Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, set the tone for the forum with a Leader’s Dialogue on sustainable investment across different sectors in his city, following which panellists representing various public and private sector initiatives presented their views on ‘Investing in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): The Future of FDI.’

“Responsible investment is the foundation of a sustainable economy. [The] Islamic economy with its sectors, products and standards is one of the key drivers of the future global economy where the indicator of success for any investment is its contribution to social development and the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals,” said Abdullah Al Awar, CEO of the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC).

According to the General Council for Islamic Banks and Institutions, Islamic banking over the past 10 years has been doubling in growth every five years, and is expected to reach $4 trillion (Dh14.7 trillion) by 2020, Al Awar pointed out, adding that the sectors under the ambit of an Islamic economy include Islamic financial services, halal products and Islamic lifestyle encompassing arts, fashion, and family-friendly tourism — all of which fulfil the needs of Muslim and non-Muslims alike.

Uwe Michael, board member, Horvath & Partners Middle East; Zaid Maleh, managing director, Modul University Dubai — a subsidiary of Dubai Investments; and Hassan Mohalal, director of Policy and Studies at Dubai FDI, joined Al Awar in the panel discussion.

Parallel sessions on sector-wise opportunities for sustainable investment across energy & clean-tech, health care & life sciences, aviation, and trade & logistics were also part of the forum.

“The Middle East pharmaceuticals industry is undergoing significant changes and they will have a positive impact on the industry globally. The Middle East pharmaceuticals sector has one of the highest growth rates and technology as well as diverse stakeholders who are transforming the industry, but the region’s share in global pharma sales remains at 3 per cent. It’s indeed a significant opportunity for sustainable investments in the sector,” commented Karim Smaira, managing director, Genpharm.

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