Abu Dhabi Falcon set to soar in post-COVID-19 environment


25 August 2020, by Juma Alhamli, Senior Executive Director of Strategy and Business Development at Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM)

The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t just changing how we do business – it’s increasingly clear it's changing where we do business. On the micro level, we all recognize that increased flexibility, including remote working, will be incorporated into every HR structure, to greater and lesser degrees. On the macro-level, we’re only starting to understand that COVID-19 and its fallout is increasingly dictating how enterprises view everything from office space requirements, to regional and global footprints and how they manage logistics and supply chains.

From ADGM’s point of view, already one of the fastest-growing financial centers in the world, we see the post-COVID-19 landscape as an opportunity to amplify Abu Dhabi’s strengths, propelling the UAE’s capital into the top-tier of modern global business hubs and establishing the city as the first Middle Eastern ‘Falcon’ that can truly compete with the cities of the Asian ‘Tiger’ economies.

If we look at what enterprises seeking a truly global footprint – and seeking to attract the top talent in a competitive global landscape – really require, then Abu Dhabi excels on every metric. Let’s look at the ones that will matter most to businesses – and talent – in a post-COVID-19 world.

A tolerant, safe and welcoming environment. The ideal expat location, already home to nationalities from all corners of the globe, Abu Dhabi ranks 15th in the world for livability according to ExpatInsider and boasts the world’s second-lowest crime rate, according to the Numbeo crime index. With strong economic, diplomatic and transport ties throughout the world, Abu Dhabi is also poised to reap rewards of its greater visibility on the global stage.

A strategic location with great infrastructure. Abu Dhabi is the logical conduit between established economies of the West and the fast-growing frontiers of Asia and Africa. With major ports, an iconic national carrier in Etihad, and one of the region’s most modern and efficient international airports, Abu Dhabi is ideally placed to serve multiple supply chains and markets as a single, integrated hub.

A secure and stable business ecosystem. As well as top-name banking, IT and auditing solutions, Abu Dhabi offers a strong legal framework for businesses seeking both onshore and offshore solutions, and recent changes to our bankruptcy rules mean ADGM today offers probably the most sophisticated insolvency regulations in the region – on a par with the US’s storied ‘Chapter 11’ rules.

Typically, the tipping point for any business hub come when the risks are outweighed by rewards, sparking an influx of quality investment. In the more conservative, risk-averse business environment we expect post-COVID-19, Abu Dhabi is on track to prove the most rewarding location of all.

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