UAE investors need to change attitude to spearhead innovation, experts say at the Wealth Arabia Summit
More than 200 decision-makers, HNWIs, wealth managers, private bankers listen to 30+ specialists on how the future of the global wealth market will evolve and how they could prepare themselves for it
Date: Dubai, UAE November 29, 2018: Negative perception by regional investors and venture capitalists in the Arab World is hampering the growth of innovation and techpreneurship as well as start-ups in the Gulf and the Middle East region, experts told more than 200 decision-makers, investment advisors, wealth managers, business owners and private bankers at the Wealth Arabia Summit held at the JW Marriott Marquis hotel in Dubai on Thursday, November 29, 2018.
“If the technology is good, it will be developed in the Silicon Valley, not in the UAE – is the perception amongst most local and regional investors,” Noor Sweid, General Partner, Global Ventures, told delegates at the Wealth Arabia Summit, trying to explain the lack of funding by venture capitals and investors to boost start-ups in the region.
“More than 50 percent of the population in the MENA region is under 25 years of age and they are at the forefront of the internet and media consumption. The highest number of YouTube visitors is not from Europe or the United States, but from the Middle East. In fact, the people in the Arab World consume more YouTube per capita than in Europe.
“The UAE leadership has created a great enabling environment for start-ups, entrepreneurship and we are proud of the achievements of the country in the last 47 years. We can create global success stories in Dubai – more Souqs and Careems – as more and more start-ups are coming up with innovation.
“However, getting funding is an issue due to a strange perception that ‘if they are good, they will be built in the United States. This needs to change,” Sweid, who helps new start-ups raise funds. “US and European tech funds as well as investors from other countries are funding more companies in the UAE start-up market, compared to the local and regional investors.”
She said, Dubai has been a real estate and trading hub for a long time. “It is now becoming an innovation hub – as the government is pushing for,” she said.
“The regional start-up scenario has changed a lot. However, in the US, 0.3 percent of the GDP is invested in venture capital that represents 21 percent revenues of the private sector and 11 percent jobs in venture capital-backed firms. In the UAE and Saudi Arabia, investment in venture capital is around 0.03 percent of the GDP – one tenth of that of the United States.
“However, while Europe and America invests in people, we invest in companies – looking at only balance sheets and profit and loss statements. Investors need to change their attitudes towards the regional techpreneurs and start-ups and look more at the product, people and their potential, and not the balance sheet.
“More than 123,000 engineers are graduated in the Middle East every year. Yet, youth unemployment in the region is 30 percent – one of the highest in the world. We need to invest in people, more than in companies.”
The Wealth Arabia Summit is the only platform in the region built from the ground up that specifically caters to high net-worth individuals (HNWIs) and their most trusted representatives in wealth management.
Since its inception in 2016, the summit has established itself as the premium forum bringing together the region’s HNWIs, senior investment executives and service providers for actionable investment advice from the world’s most informed.
Following the continued success of 2016 and 2017, the 2018 edition of the Wealth Arabia Summit has evolved significantly with the introduction of three new forums and a larger exhibition space. The 2018 edition includes the Main Stage which features six keynote presentations on vital trends shaping the investment space, followed by the Women’s Investment Forum, the Real Estate Investment Forum and the Family Affairs Streams, as well as exhibition space for service providers.
Among the speakers, Mustafa Kheriba, Chief Operating Officer at Abu Dhabi Financial Group; Kay Van-Petersen, Global Macro Strategist at Saxo Bank; Alexander Bello, Managing Partner of CS Global Partners; Cedric Lizin, Head of MENA at UBS Wealth Management; George Campanellas, Director General, Invest Cyprus (CIPA); Ambar Amleh, Founder & COO at Ibtikar Fund; Milos Stojanovic, Vice President of Arton Capital; Murray Strang, Head of Dubai – Management at Cluttons, will deliver key messages to the audiences through speech and panel discussions.
About Wealth Arabia Summit
The Wealth Arabia Summit is the only platform in the region built from the ground up that specifically caters to high net-worth individuals (HNWIs) and their most trusted representatives in wealth management. Since its inception in 2016, the summit has established itself as the premium forum bringing together the region’s HNWIs, senior investment executives and service providers for actionable investment advice from the world’s most informed.
Previous speakers include Dr. Mark Mobius, Executive Chairman, Templeton Emerging Markets Group (Keynote, 2016.), Gary Dugan, Former Chief Investment Officer, Emirates NBD & NBAD (Keynote, 2017.), Remy A. Bersier, Global Head of Emerging Markets & Member of Executive Board, Julius Baer (Panellist, 2017.), Sherif Wahba, Managing Director & Member of Executive Board, Goldman Sachs (Panellist, 2017.) and many more.