(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The first Highflyers Forum on Tuesday highlighted the successes of more than 120 UAE-based companies that have operations and investment abroad in addition to discuss further investment opportunities available across the world.
Top executives of successful companies shared their experiences and challenges they faced in exploring new markets while diplomats from select countries highlighted investment opportunities available in their respective countries.
The one-day forum, hosted by the Ministry of Economy was opened by Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy.
Addressing the forum, Al Mansouri said that this forum presents for the UAE-based companies an opportunity to create a platform for exchanging experiences, aspirations, challenges and strategies in key promising and emerging markets around the world. And it also encourages entrepreneurs from the UAE to benefit, he added.
Quoting the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the minister said the total cumulative outflow of foreign direct investment by UAE companies is estimated around Dh350 billion. Those investments were aimed at different sectors including telecom, energy, sustainable energy, ports, real estate etc, he added.
Al Mansouri said that the UAE has maintained its leadership in the Middle East and Africa in foreign direct investment abroad, reaching 2.5 billion in 2012, an increase of 358 million and a growth rate of 16 per cent compared to 2011. The number of FDI projects of the UAE abroad increased by 26.5 per cent to 220 compared to 174 in 2011.
Al Mansouri also launched the second edition of 'The Highflyers' book and the first of its kind smartphone applications that contains success stories of over 120 UAE-based companies and provides the ability for the international business community to directly reach the key decision makers in these companies. Speakers and panelists at the forum mainly talked about achievements by UAE Highflyers in overcoming the different challenges across the different sectors and regions. They also discussed the impact of changing political and economic conditions on the operations and investments of the Highflyers companies and emergence of new expansion strategies.
Drydocks World and Maritime World chairman Khamis Juma Buamim, in his keynote address, talked about mastery in going international. He said: "We have strong and sustainable economy. We also have incredible credibility and without any doubt competence."
That's the reason people are interested to do business with UAE companies, he added. He also mentioned Drydocks World's achievements during the past couple of years. During panel discussions, speakers at the forum discussed their companies achievements and also shared challenges. They also talked about the necessary things companies look for while entering a new country.
Majid Jafar, chief executive officer of Crescent Petroleum and vice-chairman of the Crescent Group, gave the keynote address, entitled "Charting growth and prosperity: winning strategies to export UAE's mastery in a morphing global economy", in which he how described how the major successes of UAE companies in foreign investment can be attributed to the open policy adopted by the UAE to the world, and the strong government support given for all UAE companies from the highest leadership of the UAE and all the relevant government ministries including the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Economy.
He also described how many UAE companies have already become regional and global leaders in their sectors, following key strategies such as excellence in quality standards, understanding and adapting well to the local environment, and high levels of corporate governance:
"We must continue to engage, as the UAE corporate community, in the national effort to ensure competitiveness, economic diversification and sustainability in the future", he said, while placing special emphasis on the key strategic decisions Emirati companies can take to export the UAE's economic expertise in achieving global competitiveness."
"UAE companies have already successfully invested in over 100 countries worldwide, and we as the Crescent Group have current investments in 22 countries throughout the region and internationally, in sectors such as oil and gas, ports and logistics, power and engineering, real estate and construction, and private equity. Our oil and gas operations through Crescent Petroleum - the oldest private exploration and production company in the Middle East - have included experience as an international operator in numerous countries including Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan, Yemen, Canada, Yugoslavia, Tunisia, and Argentina," he added.