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What’s going on at DIFC?

What’s going on at DIFC?

Busy times at the iconic DIFC building, where revenue figures and rumours of an Abu Dhabi invasion have been whipping up interest. Kipp supposes this is all good news.

December 20, 2010 3:38 by



Depending on how you look at it, news from the Dubai International Financial Centre is good or bad. First up we had some DIFC financial results for 2009, which revealed that the combined revenue of companies at the centre fell by 2.4 percent year on year to $2.8 billion. The National clearly sees this as bad news, running with the headline “Revenue decline for DIFC firms”. However by the second paragraph it had turned everything around, quoting the chief economist at DIFC, Dr. Nasser Saidi, as saying the modest declines proved the resilience of the centre during the downturn.

This was more in tune with Emirates 24-7’s take on events. The one-time business newspaper’s take on events was summed up in the headline: “DIFC accounted for 4 percent of Dubai GDP”. It quotes Ahmed Humaid Al Tayer, Governor of the DIFC, as saying, “The consistent and uniform contribution to the UAE’s economy during one of the most severe financial crises the world experienced proves the success of DIFC’s strategy. We continue to build a business ecosystem that supports the growth of our clients and is attracting more companies to the centre.”

The stats and their varying interpretations stem from DIFC’s third annual Economic Activity Survey Report, published this week. The detail showed that income at the public organizations overseeing DIFC fell 15.2 percent and in the banking sector it fell 8.8 percent. But for professional services firms like law firms and accountants income jumped a thumping 24.8 percent.

Kipp is actually inclined to go with the positive on this one: a 2.4 percent year on year decline from 2008 to 2009 is actually a victory, of sorts. Along with its recent move to cut rents (making itself more attractive to new arrivals) it seems there could be life in the DIFC dog yet.



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