The DIFC is cementing the fact that it is becoming a financial hub for the GCC and beyond in both conventional and Islamic finance.

Salah Jaidah
Chairman of Islamic Finance, Vice-Chairman Middle East & North Africa
Deutsche Bank AG
Ralph M. Nitzgen
Senior Executive Officer and General Manager
Commerzbank AG Dubai

What makes Dubai a good place to do business? What are the strengths that the economy here is showing right now?

RALPH M. NITZGEN Dubai is a hub for the region and that is a decisive positive factor. For many companies that want to cover this region, Dubai is the place to be. Other countries have also actively tried to turn themselves into financial hubs; however, Dubai has really defined itself as one for the region—not only the GCC but also the broader region, such as Africa and the Indian Subcontinent. It also has excellent transportation and infrastructure.

SALAH JAIDAH The UAE's geographic location and infrastructure provides it with the added benefit of connecting the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. In addition, by housing the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), with its favorable regulatory regime, Dubai has managed to attract the necessary talents and skills, comprised of expertise in Islamic and conventional financial markets with core banking skills and ancillary services, such as legal and advisory services, necessary to provide an impetus for innovation and development in the financial industry.

How have you seen the relationship between Germany and the UAE grow since you have been a member of AHK?

RMN From the German side, it has been steady growth, despite the issues that we had all over the world in 2008-2009. It is an interesting market for German companies. Plus, it is also not only interesting for the ones selling things, which was the case in the past, but it is also interesting for companies that come and base their activities here, and distribute to the region and further afield. On a cultural level, the relationship between the UAE and Germany is definitely growing. We have many visitors going to Germany from the region either for vacations or medical treatment. That has really improved from the past. On the business level, I wish there was more activity from local companies going to Germany. I think Germans would be very open to this kind of investment. For the time being, the focus of investment is more on the Asian side.

Deutsche Bank offers a wide range of sharia-compliant financial products. Are you considering expanding your portfolio further within this array of products?

SJ Deutsche Bank has been active in developing innovative sharia-compliant structures across all asset classes, liabilities, and derivatives, offering the full spectrum of Islamic finance products and services. Deutsche Bank is the partner of choice for key regional and international clients. We have been committed to the development of the industry and are recognized as a world-class provider of Islamic financial solutions that cater to our Islamic clients' funding and risk management needs. Deutsche Bank now has one of the most innovative and efficient structuring teams comprised of specialized Islamic finance experts with cross-product backgrounds and responsibilities enabling clients to benefit from Deutsche Bank's world-class expertise. With the forecast growth of the Islamic finance market, Deutsche Bank is continuously striving to create new and innovative products for its clients.