The event also featured keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and interactive sessions on a wide range of topics related to investment and development
James Zhan, Executive Director, UNCTAD World Investment Forum, announced the launch of ‘UNCTAD World Investment Forum 2023’ at the 12th edition of the Annual Investment Meeting at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre. Taking place under the theme ‘Investing in sustainable development’, the forum, which will be held in October will bring together government leaders, global CEOs and other investment stakeholders.
Zhan stated that the UNCTAD World Investment Forum is the foremost global platform dedicated to investment and development. Its goal is to devise strategies and solutions for the challenges faced by global investment and development. It also offers a unique chance to shape global investment policies by tackling the challenges to international investment resulting from various crises, including the need to invest in food security, energy, and health, supply chain resilience, sustainable infrastructure, and productive capacity growth in the most vulnerable countries. The forum will offer policymakers and other stakeholders an opportunity to identify solutions and reach consensus on climate finance and investment priorities.
In the same context, a panel discussion focusing on ‘An overview of the major global investment-for-development challenges: the key priority sectors for SDG-relevant investment across the board, including sustainable infrastructure, food security, health, and water and sanitation’ was hosted at AIM.
The featured speakers included James Zhan, Executive Director, UNCTAD World Investment Forum; H.E. Louopou Lamah, Minister of Trade, Industry and SMEs, Guinea; H.E. Hossam Heiba, President, Egyptian General Authority for Foreign Investment and Free Zones and Vice President of WAIPA; Maria Camila Moreno, Executive Director, Free Trade Zone Association of the Americas, Republic of Colombia; and Ignacio Corlazzoli, Manager in Europe, Asia and Middle East, Latin American Development Bank (CAF), Oriental Republic of Uruguay, who tackled the key challenges brought about by multiple global crises, including the need to invest in food security, energy, health, supply-chain resilience, infrastructure and productive capacity growth in the least developed countries.
Another panel discussion focused on ‘Investment trends in renewables, energy efficiency, and electrification infrastructure’. It was also led by Zhan with speakers comprising H.E. Mariam Yalwaji Katagum, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Nigeria; Kerry Adler, Founder, President and CEO, Skypower Global Group of Companies; Majd Mashharawi, CEO, SunBox; and Ali Eslami, CEO, AXL Electric Vehicles Inc, Canada.
Another interesting session was ‘Investing in the Future. Creating Opportunity. Driving Growth.’. Featuring speakers such as Matthias Alexander Buchler, ADX Chief Strategy & Transformation Officer; Renyl Rauf, Bayanat CFO; Amitender Sahi, ADX Manager Product & Platforms; and Ram Meyoor, Presight CFO, this session underlined the importance of investing in the future as a crucial step towards driving growth and creating opportunities.
The ‘Invest in Abu Dhabi: Creating a hub for R&D hubs: Placing innovation at the heart of economic progress’ saw speakers such as Brittany McDonough, ADIO Head of Relationship Management; Haitham AlSubaihi, ADIO Acting Executive Director; Mansoor Al Marar, Vice President, Industrial Business Development, KEZAD Group; Amier Alawadhi, Acting Director of Masdar City Free Zone, Masdar City; Khalid Bin Hadi, Managing Director, Siemens Energy; Alex Aliper, CEO, Insilico Medicine; and Fadi Sbaiti, General Manager, AEROFARMS, who highlighted Abu Dhabi as a global centre for research and development.
The panel on ‘Navigating the Web3 & Virtual Asset Investment Landscape: Opportunities in Asia and the Middle East’ was moderated by Anthony Sar – Finoverse, Founder & CEO, and witnessed speakers including Lucy Gazmararian, Founder & Managing Partner, Token Bay Capital; Angelina Kwan, Managing Director, Stratford Finance; and Wai Lum Kwok, Senior Executive Director, Abu Dhabi Global Market Financial Services Regulatory Authority.
Wai Lum Kwok, Senior Executive Director of the Abu Dhabi Global Market Financial Services Regulatory Authority, emphasizes the importance of companies designing compliant products from day one and thinking long term to identify opportunities. The regulatory framework helps maintain the integrity of the financial system, protect investors from fraud, manipulation, and instability, and attract foreign investments and talent to ADGM. Through collaboration and understanding business needs, ADGM has gained global recognition and achieved success in ensuring integrity, stability, and competitiveness in the global market.
In addition to the panel, a ‘Fireside chat with Binance’ saw an insightful conversation between Dominic Longman, Senior Executive Officer, Binance Abu Dhabi; and Angie Lau, Editor-in-Chief & Founder, Forkast Labs.
Longman expressed that the UAE government has taken proactive measures to adopt blockchain technology and its emerging markets such as NFTs, the metaverse, and Web3. He further stated that Binance Abu Dhabi is thrilled to reinforce its mutually beneficial collaboration with ADGM and Abu Dhabi City, and aims to offer institutional investors a dependable and safe platform for their virtual asset transactions.
The session titled ‘Exploring the Intersection of FinTech, Virtual Assets, & Web3’ included speakers such as Annabelle Huang, Managing Partner, Amber Group; Igor Pesin, Founder and CEO, Dexy; Vincent Chok, CEO, First Digital Trust; and Annie Hui, COO & Co-Founder, Custonomy. This session explored if there should be an increase in investments in emerging technologies. As the fintech landscape expands rapidly, regulating innovation becomes crucial to strike a balance between success and safety. It also highlighted the upcoming opportunities and challenges that the ecosystem will face in the next 3-5 years.
Furthermore, a panel discussion on ‘Powering the Future of Virtual Assets: From Exchanges to Financial Innovation’ saw experts such as Wayne Huang, Co-Founder & CEO, XREX; Toya Zhang, CMO, BIT; Angelina Kwan, Managing Director, Stratford Finance; and Talal Tabbaa, CEO, CoinMENA, who discussed how can financial institutions and FinTechs utilise tech to maximize their efficiency and profitability.