The planned listing of Saudi Aramco and the opening of financial markets in Saudi Arabia will “increase the pie” of financial services in the region, said Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) Governor Essa Kazim, in an interview on the sidelines of a World Economic Forum meeting in Dubai.
“Opening Saudi is completely a positive for the whole region,” said Kazim. “Our market is highly interactive with the Saudi market, so the investment flow that would come to Saudi would have a spillover into our market.
“So we are very much supportive of Saudi opening up , reforming, restructuring and meeting their 2030 Vision. It’s good for the whole region,” he said.
The planned listing of Saudi Aramco could be worth about $100 billion based on a 5 percent offering – about four times the size of the existing record held by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, which listed in 2014.
London and New York are among the international financial centers seeking to attract the prized Aramco share sale, which represents a touchstone for wider financial reforms underway in the Kingdom, as it opens up to increased foreign investment.
DIFC reported a 14 percent rise in the total number of firms last year despite a prolonged period of oil price weakness that contributed to economic jitters in the emirate.
Kazim said that despite wider economic headwinds facing the region, DIFC had managed to double the number of new occupiers at about 300 on an annual basis over the last three years – compared to the previous three years.
“That means companies are still coming here despite geopolitical issues,” he said. “Life and business has to go on.”
He said that the business park remains 99 percent occupied as it expands with new buildings under development.