The Business Year

Gregory J. Golden

Chairman, AmCham Abu Dhabi

Firstly, Abu Dhabi benefits from its strategic geographic location. The UAE sits at the center of a global crossroads that stretches from Moscow to South Africa, and from Singapore to Morocco. Abu Dhabi lies at the heart of this important region—a centrally located global transit point for international business and leisure travelers. The Emirate’s key geographic position was also one of the factors identified in the recent decree that created the new Abu Dhabi Global Marketplace free zone on Al Maryah Island. Secondly, the ambitious economic diversification plan set forth in The Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 is attracting leading companies from across the world and numerous industrial sectors. And the fact that Abu Dhabi sits on ample hydrocarbon wealth provides it with the means to pursue and achieve this diversification strategy. Thirdly, during a period of uncertainty in the MENA region of several years, Abu Dhabi has remained an attractive and secure address to do business in. The UAE is a beacon of stability in an otherwise turbulent region. Finally, while we are focused on business issues today, it is important to note the significant role that the UAE has played, and continues to play, on the international stage in terms of security and intelligence cooperation, regional diplomatic initiatives, international coalition efforts, energy security, and regional trade. This engagement has put Abu Dhabi on the map with global businesses and policy makers.

Maged Mostafa

CEO, Genesis Manazil Steel Framing

Back in 2007, during the boom, many people were optimistic about the future. We were expanding all over the world, to Russia, the US, China, Vietnam, and the UAE, which was one of the hottest spots. The UAE was sizzling then, so it was the right move at the time to establish a presence here. We studied the market, and the major obstacle we observed was consumer resistance to the types of housing and buildings that we produced. The issue was that people here were not used to the North American style of home. And so we launched a market research program to understand what people were really looking for. But then, immediately after our arrival, the crisis broke and demanded a change of plans. We had to restructure the company because the shareholders who bought the factory from us in Canada struggled and were impacted by the crisis, and by the end of 2008 were even considering its closure. Yet by mid-2009, we had managed to save the factory. Thereupon we decided to relocate from Canada with our own management team. We struck an agreement to manage the factory and allow the Canadian expertise to be involved directly. We subsequently managed to reverse the course of the factory and improve business. We then began to establish a technology base that enabled us to cover the entire region. Currently, Genesis exports to Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.

Tony Morris

International Director, Tony Morris

When we arrived, we opened the office with a combination of senior in house staff relocated from our UK office, with the knowledge of our company ethos which we wanted to carry through all our offices, coupled with a number of regionally experienced people that we recruited. This combination has provided a strong base to our office, which is then further supported by our UK teams. We have been steadily building on very strong client relationships and feel that being client focused is an important aspect of our business success. Meanwhile, the hotel segment is clearly key, and the growth of regional airlines provides opportunities across multiple sectors. There are of course projects related directly to the airport, as well as those associated with airline facilities and the buildings they need to operate from, the facilities they need for staff, and then hospitality projects, which come about from all the tourism that results from these travel hubs. There is a clear alignment there for us. The transport networks, not just air, but also the metro systems, which are expanding in the UAE and those proposed for Qatar and Saudi Arabia leads on from this. We are already actively working in this sector with the designs associated with these metro stations. There are more opportunities for us in these areas, and in the connected retail sector that complements them.

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