This was in the presence of His Excellency Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC), Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) and Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage and His Excellency Ali Saeed Bin Harmal Al Dhaheri, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi University.
Billed as balancing international experience with local insights to strengthen the UAE’s financial markets, ‘MegaTrends, Essential Strategic Insights’ is the first conference of its kind and features presentations and strategic advice from economic experts from across the globe, complemented by local expertise.
Sheikh Sultan said in his welcome address that the Abu Dhabi Government has identified tourism as key driver of economic diversification.
“We aim to deliver around 2.3 million hotel guests to this emirate by 2012 and to sustain last year’s performance when we received 1.5 million hotel guests.”
“ADTA acts as lead arranger to seed innovative and viable business events aligned to the Abu Dhabi Government’s 2030 Economic Vision. It can lead-arrange resources which are financial, or otherwise, across 12 sectors including energy, aviation, healthcare and education. Event organisers with a viable proposal can apply for financial grants, government endorsement, patronage, cost rebates and marketing support. Proposals are assessed by a number of criteria to see what benefit they bring to Abu Dhabi,” Sheikh Sultan added.
The main keynote speech of the day was given by Paul Krugman, Professor of Economics at Princeton University, and 2008 Nobel Prize winner for Economics. Talking about the future direction of the global economy, Dr Krugman explained that the world economy is stabilising but is still on the road to recovery.
“Despite the situation, the credit crunch has been contained. The world economy will recover and we will not experience the great world depression. The world economy is stabilising but we are still on the road to recovery. We are like a patient who was brought in the hospital on the brink of dying, was stabilized and was out of acute danger but is still under observation,”
Krugman has cited trends that will eventually allow the world economy to recover such as corporation should invest more on durable goods, engage in IT revolution and create environmental policies as corporations need to invest on the new regime by investing on policies that will resolve the climate changes. “We will eventually recover – but we don’t know when yet, and we need to make sure that it will not happen again,” he concluded.
Other sessions at the conference include a keynote by Ross Dawson, Chairman, Future Exploration Network in Australia, on the technologies that will drive growth and the opportunities presented by social and generational change; and three separate panel discussions looking specifically at the GCC’s financial landscape, the position of the UAE’s banks and the future of the Gulf’s property market.
Commenting on the outlook for the local industry, Philip Ward, Chief Executive Officer of Abu Dhabi Finance, said, “The strategic plan for Abu Dhabi, Plan 2030, which outlines residential property developed in tandem with the diversification of the economy and the development of new industries, provides confidence in levels of supply and demand. Developers in the capital can be confident that their developments will meet real demand, and investors can feel confident that their property investment over the long term will hold its value.”
“Since our launch last year, we have seen great levels of interest in mortgages within Abu Dhabi, which is a clear sign that the demand already exists in the market. What the industry needs now is, quite simply, liquidity. Abu Dhabi Finance has provided affordable mortgages based on the individual’s requirements and circumstances since our launch in November 2008. This approach of responsible lending will further serve to create a stable, prosperous residential property industry,” Ward explained.
The Megatrends conference was also attended by Dr. Mohamed Jaber, Lead Economist and Vice President, Morgan Stanley & Co., GCC; Dr. Giyas Gokkent, Chief Economist, National Bank of Abu Dhabi; Marios Maratheftis, Chief Economist, Standard Chartered Middle East; John Bullough, CEO, Aldar, Blair Hagkull, Managing Director, Jones Lang LaSalle; Philip Ward, CEO, Abu Dhabi Finance; Abhijit Choudhury, Chief Risk Officer, National Bank of Abu Dhabi; Giambattista Atzeni, Head of Corporate Trust, The Bank of New York Mellon; and Hussain Al Qemzi, Group CEO, Noor Investment Group.
Monday, May 25- 2009 @ 17:20 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.