Dubai's tactical importance as an emerging hub for African, Asian, and European ventures has won it a hard-fought economic dexterity.

Rassem N. Zok

CEO Middle East & North Africa, Standard Bank of South Africa

Last November we hosted the South Africa and Ethiopia Investment Summit in Dubai, at which we had over 80 investors. Every year we select a theme or a country and host an investment forum to showcase opportunities in the region. This year we chose the country in which the bank has the oldest presence, South Africa, where we are celebrating 154 years of activity, and our newest footprint, Ethiopia. We recently opened an office in the latter, an economically very promising country with significant growth and just under 100 million people, not to mention the second largest after Nigeria on the African continent. We are very excited about the prospects of facilitating trade, business, and banking in the country. The bank operates within the guidelines and parameters of what the authorities have allowed under our license, facilitating foreign investments and interaction. It was a successful event with great attendance and interest shown.

Bernie Dunn

President, Boeing, Middle East, North Africa, Turkey

We have been working in the Middle East since 1945 and since then have had fantastic relationships with every country in the region. Our relationship with the UAE goes back to 1977. On the commercial side, in the UAE we earned the largest order in commercial aviation history back at the 2013 Dubai Air Show, when the three main Gulf airlines,Emirates, Qatar, and Etihad, awarded us a contract to build the 777X, which came from the fact that they loved the 777. All three airlines use it very successfully and want more out of it, so they asked us to redesign the 777 to fly further with more people. To do this in such a hot climate certainly affects the aerodynamics of an airplane, but we are starting on the construction of that airplane very soon. It will start to be delivered in the region in 2020.

Josef Kleindienst

Chairman, Kleindienst

The first business we did here, aside from investing in various projects, was selling properties in Europe for Emaar. We focused on German-speaking areas and sold more than 5% of the units for some of their projects. We then started working as a developer in Dubai in 2007 and built the European Business Center, a 400,000sqft office building next to Green Community, and the Austria Business Center, a global network of state-of-the-art, professional business facilities covering every corporate requirement in some of the world's top locations, including Dubai. We have also developed various projects and sold the plans, rather than building them ourselves. One of our developments at the moment is the Heart of Europe project, for which we developed the first master plan in 2008. The project was ready for construction when the economic crisis hit, so we had to work hard in the following years to make the project much more attractive to investors that had lost their appetite.

Andrew Miles

Vice President & General Manager, GCC, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)

In terms of performance, 2016 was the strongest year we have had in a while, although it was probably one of the toughest for many companies. Our success was driven by the expansion of our footprint in Saudi Arabia over the course of 2015, which gave us significant access to the market in 2016. So we were able to gain a lot of business that had not been there in the past, and this despite a downward trend in the public sector. In the GCC we have a 50-50 split between public and private business. As a result, the tender segment over the course of the last year went through a downward cycle driven by cost containment in the public sector. The price of oil is driving a large proportion of the budgetary constraints. We were able to grow in the private sector, which provided us with a decent overall growth level of 11-12% for 2016.