National day decorations
Decorations on the streets of Ajman. Main streets across the UAE are illuminated to mark the occasion of the 49th National Day of the UAE. Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: On the occasion of the 49th National Day of the UAE, country’s top bankers, finance professionals and business leaders shared their thoughts with Gulf News on the huge socio-economic transformation the country went through in the past and their aspirations for the nation in the years ahead.

National Day is the occasion to reaffirm commitment to drive UAE growth, says Governor of the Central Bank of UAE

Abdulhamid M. Saeed Alahmadi, Governor of the Central Bank of the UAE

"As we celebrate the 49th anniversary of the UAE’s establishment, we pay tribute to the achievements of the founding fathers and their great vision towards building our beloved nation, the values of which we continue to uphold today. Alongside our festivities, we must continue to look to the horizon and prepare for the next National Days to come, most importantly the nation’s Golden Jubilee in 2021. We must continue on this path with strong ambitions.”


The UAE has become synonymous with being forward-looking, world-class and entrepreneurial, says ADGM Chairman


Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, Minister of State and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM)

“The commemoration and theme of this year’s UAE National Day reflect the immense pride we have in our country and its achievements. It has also rekindled our deepest gratitude by paying tribute to the nation’s founding fathers for their legacy and sacrifice. The UAE has become synonymous with being forward-looking, world-class, entrepreneurial, and having sound sustainable developments, that boost the nation’s growth indicators across the financial and all key sectors. On this occasion, we reinforce ADGM’s commitment to progress the nation’s economic diversification strategy.”

Future of the UAE's financial service sector is in technology adoption, says Governor of DIFC

Essa Kazim, Governor of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)

“On the occasion of the 49th UAE National Day, we should reflect on everything we have learned and achieved during an unprecedented year. During the last 12 months, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and the broader Dubai financial sector came together to support our economy and clients. The financial sector is accelerating its approach to adopting technology, including new FinTech, artificial intelligence and data analytics. As we approach the UAE’s 50th anniversary and plan how we will support the UAE and Dubai’s economic growth for the next 50 years, we will continue pursuing our vision and mission to advance the economy, develop the next generation of finance professionals and drive the future of finance.”

Economy is resilient thanks to the vision of UAE leaders, says Vice Chaiman of Emirates NBD

Hesham Abdulla Al Qassim, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Emirates NBD

"Despite a challenging year, I am encouraged that we have weathered difficulties with remarkable fortitude. The UAE economy has remained resilient supported by the exceptional vision of our nation’s wise leaders who have guided us with great strength, ingenuity and compassion. As a leading bank in the UAE, Emirates NBD stands in solidarity with the UAE government and remains committed to doing everything we can to protect our customers, people, and the community as we work to advance digital banking innovation to support the business transformation that underpins our successful futures. As we mark the 49th UAE National day, our nation's leadership deserves our special and deepest gratitude."

UAE to emerge as an economic powerhouse globally, says CEO of DFM

Hassan Al Serkal, CEO of Dubai Financial Market (DFM)

“Owing to the visionary leadership of the founding fathers of the nation, the UAE has been witnessing impressive economic development in various sectors since its formation in 1971. The financial sector, with capital markets at the forefront, has played a pivotal role in the economic development of the UAE. For instance, the DFM has provided a world-class marketplace for issuers, enabling businesses to implement their growth strategies by raising Dh77 billion in IPOs and Rights Issues on the market. As we celebrate the 49th National Day, we congratulate the leadership and people of the UAE and we are proud of the country’s achievements. We look to the next 50 years in confidence that our country will build upon its successes and further position itself as an admirable economic powerhouse globally."

We can look ahead to new breakthroughs in banking technology, says FAB Group CEO

André Sayegh, FAB Group Chief Executive Officer

“Since the foundation of the UAE, our beloved nation in 1971, the leadership and its people have always looked forward, enabling the UAE to continually achieve the impossible and cement its position as one of the world’s most thriving and dynamic economies. In the next 50 years, we can look ahead to new breakthroughs in banking technology that will elevate the sector here and across the world to new heights. At FAB, we are proud to partner with the UAE’s public and private sectors in developing and implementing these solutions and look forward to making history as we grow stronger together.”

Culture of innovation to drive growth in every sectors, says Mashreq Bank CEO

Ahmed Abdelaal, Group CEO, Mashreq Bank

“As the country marks its 49th UAE National Day, we are grateful to our progressive leadership and government who have spearheaded a culture of innovation that has cascaded through every industry including banking and financial services. We are privileged to be a part of UAE’ success story, and being the oldest private bank in the country, Mashreq shares the same vision as that of the government of providing world class and innovative services to its people. As a nation that has always been guided by innovation, it is fitting that on its 49th anniversary, the country has leap-frogged into a digital first future. As strong advocates of a digital eco-system, at Mashreq, it is our belief that this period is incredibly important and will provide multiple opportunities for all industries to capitalize on.”

Delivering real time solutions is the future of markets, says DGCX CEO

Les Male, CEO of the Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange (DGCX)

“The UAE's financial services sector has witnessed a lot of transformation this year, and we’ve experienced a significant shift towards digital platforms. Many companies have adapted well during these unprecedented times, as a direct result of the country’s world class infrastructure and the government's strong relief measures, to mitigate the risks of the pandemic. On behalf of the region's first commodity derivatives exchange launched 15 years ago, we are honored to be celebrating the UAE’s 49th National Day milestone. Moving forward, at the DGCX, our focus remains on delivering effective, real-time solutions that support our member base and their requirements.”

Consolidation in UAE's financial services will create more regional leaders, says Jorge Camarate, Partner at Strategy& Middle East

Jorge Camarate, Partner and leader of the Financial services practice, Strategy& Middle East

"Since its foundation 49 years ago, the UAE has made major strides in developing its economy and creating a tolerant, welcoming society. The country has established itself as a global player across multiple sectors such as financial services and has become a prime location for the many global companies expanding into the Middle East. In coming years we expect to witness new trends that will impact the financial services sector, including an accelerated adoption of new technologies, consolidation in banking and insurance, as well as the emergence of regional leaders in payments, trade finance and other specialized areas.”

We stand committed to building a healthier nation, says Aster DM Founder

Dr Azad Moopen, Founder Chairman & Managing Director, Aster DM

"I salute and congratulate the visionary rulers of UAE, on the 49th National Day for tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. As a healthcare organization that started its journey three decades ago in UAE, we at Aster DM Healthcare couldn’t be prouder of the achievement of the country in this extremely difficult year. We are glad that we could play an active role, working hand-in-hand with various authorities to tackle the crisis and help large number of people in need of treatment. As we look towards the future of this country, we stand aligned with UAE towards the “Next 50 years” plans and pledge to push forth on our commitment towards building a healthier nation through affordable, accessible, quality healthcare through hybrid brick and click model."

Innovation to push the boundaries of UAE's financial services, says Tradewind Middle East CEO

Peter Maerevoet, Global Chief Financial Officer & Senior Executive Officer at Tradewind Middle East Limited

“At Tradewind Middle East, we are humbled to be a part of the UAE’s 49th National Day, and would like to thank our country’s wise leadership, who have successfully nurtured a culture of creativity, innovation and collaboration, particularly in the financial services industry. As a leader in alternative trade financing solutions, we strongly believe in innovating, pushing boundaries and thinking outside the box – a similar ideology that is shared with our progressive government. We are excited to see what the future holds in store for the UAE, particularly around the growth and support of SMEs, and remain confident that the country will continue to be a regional powerhouse in the booming trade and financing landscape.”

UAE has set benchmarks in innovations

Saleh Abdullah Lootah, CEO of Lootah Real Estate Development

“Nearly five decades since its birth, the UAE has set benchmarking innovations that have made the entire world sit down and watch in awe. From a seed at the formation 49 years ago, it has indeed blossomed into a nation that celebrates advancements beyond imagination.”

Diversification is at the core of the UAE economy

Massimo Falcioni, CEO of Etihad Credit Insurance

“The UAE has proven its prowess to stay adept in a market that is rapidly changing. It has realised early on the importance of diversifying the nation in order to achieve further success—launching initiatives that bolster its non-oil economy. Such forward-thinking dexterity is the reason the nation has attained indomitable success for the past five decades.”

Each National Day is reminder of the importance of unified efforts in the UAE's march towards progress

Marwan Ahmed Al Ali, Director General of Ajman’s Department of Finance

“When we celebrate this important occasion, we evoke the spirit of union that brought together the founding fathers based on their belief that making a bright future for their people starts from uniting efforts and mobilizing energies. Hearts gather happily and positively to continue the UAE’s march towards development, and to achieve the people’s aspirations in a country that puts homeland and the citizens on top of its priorities.”