The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the financial and business hub connecting the region’s emerging markets with the developed markets of Europe, Asia and the Americas, announced its Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with New South Wales Trade and Investment, the government body responsible for driving sustainable economic growth in the state of New South Wales, Australia.

The new partnership presents outstanding opportunities for corporates in DIFC to connect with financial institutions in New South Wales, Australia’s largest state economy. The MoU will further support the promotion of unexplored investment opportunities between New South Wales and the GCC region among potential investors from both sides.

The MoU was signed by Chris Eccles, Director General, Department of Premier and Cabinet, and Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, Chief Executive Officer of DIFC Authority.

Abdulla Al Awar said, “As we continue to reinforce DIFC’s position as a global financial centre, we remain cognisant of the critical importance of establishing and maintaining strong collaborations with peers, key institutions and government bodies that are driving economic development around the world. Our partnership with NSW Trade & Investment falls well within this strategy and presents vast mutual opportunities in the areas of investment, education and financial sector development.”

The region has had strong economic ties with Australia for many years, particularly the UAE, which is considered Australia’s largest merchandise trade partner in the Middle East with two-way trade at over USD 5.3 billion in 2010-11.

Australian investment in the UAE was worth USD 1.060 billion in 2010. In addition, over 15,000 Australians live and work in the UAE with more than 600 Australian companies doing business in the Emirates.

“We are confident that this MoU will take DIFC’s and the wider region’s economic relations with Australia to the next level, and unveil significant investment opportunities on both ends, particularly in infrastructure. The GCC region alone is expected to spend about USD 968 billion on projects including infrastructure developments over the next decade, while infrastructure expenditure in NSW is estimated to be in excess of USD 770 billion between now and 2018. Our region can also benefit a lot from the policies adopted by the Australian government to support these opportunities, including mobilising public-private partnerships and creating a range of solutions for infrastructure financing,” Al Awar added.

(L-R) Chris-Eccles and Abdulla Al Awar signing the MoU

Honourable Barry O’Farrell MP, Premier of New South Wales said: “Attracting conventional and Islamic finance investment into infrastructure and other sectors of NSW is an important part of the NSW Government’s efforts to position Sydney as a leading international financial services centre.”

Last year, DIFC welcomed two leading Australian financial firms, Macquarie Capital Finance (Dubai) Limited and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ), which is among the world’s 25 largest banks by market capitalisation. In addition, the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has had an MoU with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission since September 2006.

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