Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi speaks at the Invest 2023 Conference in Abu Dhabi.
At the Investopia 2023 conference in Abu, trade and investment industry leaders from around the world will bring together the UAE’s role in global trade, investment and growth for a session entitled “Beyond Borders: Harnessing the Power of Global Trade to Boost Investment.” and Growth” conference in Dhabi, 2-3 March.
The discussion was moderated by Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Chris Cox, Global Head of Trade and Working Capital Solutions, Citigroup, Samaila Zubairu, President and CEO, Africa Finance Corporation, and James Zhan, Senior Director, Investment and Enterprise, UNCTAD.
Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi addressed a question from session moderator Maria Ramos about the country’s trade figures rising 78% year-on-year. He also noted that the reshuffling of the global economic center of gravity presents an opportunity for the UAE to position itself as a key player in global value chains. In addition, the global economy is expected to lose about US$3 trillion by 2025. Affected by the epidemic, global protectionism is on the rise. To avoid the negative impact of these trends, the UAE is redefining supply chains and forging new partnerships.
He added that in 2021, the UAE’s trade figures will see a significant growth of 17 percent, totaling AED2.3 trillion. The country has established three new trade agreements with partners, in addition to existing agreements in the Arab world. Additionally, Dr. Al Zeyoudi highlighted the UAE’s commitment to sustainable development, noting that 25 percent of the country’s electricity comes from clean energy sources, of which 75 percent is considered one of the cleanest conventional sources of energy. Dr Al Zeyoudi expressed his trust and confidence in the UAE’s ability to continue to attract investment and achieve strong trade growth in the coming year.
Meanwhile, Africa Finance Corporation CEO Samaila Zubairu highlighted that the electric vehicle market will grow to $50 billion by 2050 and that electric vehicles and batteries require 2.5 million tonnes of minerals and metals, many of which are located in Africa. He highlighted the need for improvement during COP28 Address and enliven voluntary carbon markets and encourage companies to participate in achieving net-zero emissions targets.
Chris Cox, global head of trade and working capital solutions at Citi, spoke about the challenges of global supply chains and highlighted the importance of digitization and logistics incentives as trade remains fragmented. Cox also highlighted the significant growth of supply chain financing solutions. Cox mentioned the importance of supporting SMEs through a development agency focused on sustainability, and Citi’s commitment to increasing the pool of capital available to SMEs.
James Zhan, senior director of investment and enterprise at UNCTAD, said global trade can be harnessed through investment for sustainable growth. Despite recent trends of slow globalization and deglobalization, climate transition needs and financing needs are growing rapidly. Policy-driven investments, such as the EU’s $300 billion investment and US efforts in Africa, are moving things forward.
Also at Investopia 2023, global experts discuss diversification and innovation, economic growth and job creation for a healthier climate in a session titled “Growth Opportunities in the Era of Decarbonisation”.
Discussion moderated by Ms Lieve Mostrey, Chairman & CEO, Euroclear; Sanjeev Gupta, Executive Chairman, GFG Alliance, on how the transition to net zero emissions will be slow due to rapid growth in emerging markets. The challenge of achieving net zero emissions by 2050 is a very important topic ahead of COP28. Discussions often focus on what this means for consumers and industry, but it is equally important to consider how we can accelerate the pace of decarbonisation.
Panelists also highlighted key challenges in finding ways to clean production processes in industries such as steel and aluminum. There is currently a lot of investment in hydrogen, especially in the construction sector.
During the panel discussion, Lieve Mostrey highlighted that Euroclear is a financial market infrastructure with 3.6 billion euros worth of securities on its books and an annual turnover of more than 40 billion euros that connects individuals and companies in need of capital with international investors. They can accelerate foreign direct investment at a lower cost and provide ESG data to investment funds to support investments in the ESG space. Mostrey noted that Euroclear could facilitate the funding cycle, speed up the transition and facilitate, especially green issuance, between Western and developing markets in a leaner, more certain and secure manner. This helps meet the needs of developing countries, including the need for a $100 billion loss and damage fund to accelerate transition, especially in Africa.
Sanjeev Gupta discusses the challenges faced by the steel industry due to high carbon emissions. As India’s population continues to grow, demand for steel will surge, further increasing global emissions. Gupta emphasized the need for a solution, such as switching from coal to natural gas and hydrogen.
In closing, Lieve Mostrey and Sanjeev Gupta expressed their commitment to contributing to the decarbonization efforts needed for a sustainable future.