Lord Mayor heads to Gulf to strengthen trade and investment ties


Lord Mayor William Russell has begun a four-day visit to Dubai, Kuwait and Doha with the aim of further developing UK financial services ties across the Gulf – particularly in green finance and fintech.

While in Dubai, the Lord Mayor will meet the Dubai Department of Finance – among others – to discuss opportunities for investment into the UK and closer cooperation.

This will be his second visit in less than six weeks to the UAE, having given a keynote speech at last month’s Abu Dhabi Sustainable Finance Forum.

The UK’s expertise in green finance will once again be a key topic, as the build-up to COP26 in Glasgow and the Dubai Expo continues.

He will then head to Kuwait and Doha, where he will similarly be discussing opportunities for investment into the UK, as well ways in which the UK can help to develop the financial services sector in both countries. Part of his busy schedule will include a meeting with the Emir of Qatar.

The UK is the top investment destination in Europe for UAE, Kuwait and Qatar, and is Qatar’s top investment destination globally.

Its fintech sector had record investment in 2019, and grew year-on-year by 38 per cent – substantially faster than that of the USA, China and Singapore.

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It is home to more fintech start-up unicorns than anywhere else in Europe, and was recently placed first once more by Z/Yen for the quality of the offer of its green finance industry.

It is also the leading centre for Islamic finance outside of the Muslim world, with assets of UK-based institutions that offer Islamic finance services totalling more than $5bn.

Mr Russell said: “The UK and London’s ties with the Gulf – where we find some of our biggest trade and investment partners outside of the European Union – are already in a position of great strength.

“As the UK prepares to host COP 26 in Glasgow and embark upon a new chapter in its relationship with its global partners, there is an opportunity for our collaboration to move to the next level.

“The UK’s financial services sector – at the forefront of emerging areas such as fintech and green finance, as well as a leading global location for Islamic finance outside of the Muslim world – has much to offer to global investors.

“I hope that my visit to Dubai, Kuwait and Doha this week gives us an opportunity to start tapping into that potential and the bright future that we have ahead.”

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