By Elsa Baxter
Gulf-wide strategy needed to push growth of SMEs, said Abraaj CEO
The Gulf’s private sector must lead regional growth by investing more in small-to-medium sized businesses, the chief executive of Abraaj has said.
Arif Naqvi, CEO and founder of Abraaj, said it was up to local businesses to encourage growth in the economy by attracting more international investors.
“It’s only the private sector that can drive the growth,” he said. “It’s time that the private sector took a step forward.
“Entrepreneurship and SMEs is where the growth is going to be in the future. And it is this business plan that can be taken to the next level by involving the whole business community,”
He said that government red tape and the necessity in some GCC countries to have local partners meant setting up as a small business was difficult. However, he added that these companies played a large role of the region’s economy.
Naqvi said that currently GCC governments took a local view to their best interests and concentrated their focus on their individual country rather than what was best for the region, a strategy that was hindering local business growth.
Naqvi was speaking ahead of the first Celebration of Entrepreneurship, to be held in Dubai on the November 8 and 9.
More than 229 speakers will attend the two-day event, as well as more than 50 CEOs, who have pledged their time to mentor groups of young entrepreneurs.
An additional 62 partners have donated their time and resources to the initiative.
“We expected 700 to 800 people coming, but we’ve had in excess of 2,000 people who have registered before we had to shut down the website,” Naqvi said.
“If success is measured by bodies on the ground then we’ve succeeded.”For all the latest banking and finance news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.