Investing sustainability – the key to long term development based success
Keynote Speech by Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, Chairman, Al Habtoor Group
FT Family Business Summit
21 March 2017
The St. Regis Dubai
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
Bismillah Al Rahman Al Raheem
(In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful)
(Peace Be Upon You)
I would like to welcome all of you to this rainy country, we are blessed today with the rain. We seeing the rain, it gives us energy, it gives us hope to release the pressure we have sometimes. I know a lot of people don’t like it but we love it.
I would like to welcome you all, the people who are coming from overseas and the people that are living in this beautiful country. I would like to welcome you to the land of opportunity and the safe haven of the world. That is my view and it has been approved over time, in the past year and the future.
I want to start with my country first, the United Arab Emirates. The United Arab Emirates is the place, especially at this time is a place for investment. Protected investment, protected from everything. We offer tax exemption and support given by our government departments. Action is taken by our government departments in no time to support any investor in this country. The return in this country is much higher than anywhere in the world. I have done it myself, I have invested overseas and I saw that in this country we have better returns than anywhere in the world. Facility from our government is always there, I mean all the government departments, and I am talking now about Dubai that they facilitate in no time. You can get your license in minutes, you can call the director of that department and they will take a decision immediately. This will not happen anywhere else in the world except in the United Arab Emirates and in Dubai.
The Al Habtoor Group is investing in several projects here and overseas. For the past two and a half years, we have been building Al Habtoor City with three hotels, The St. Regis Dubai, W Dubai – Al Habtoor City and The Westin Dubai, Al Habtoor City, and the most advanced water theatre in the world, more advanced than in Las Vegas, which will open soon. Plus, three residential towers with about 1,500 apartments, including penthouses. The heart of Dubai is here, where you are sitting now, over the Dubai Water Canal. And for your information, we are now also selling one of our residential buildings.
We just finished the Metropolitan Hotel Dubai, including a compound of villas. Also, we are soon finishing our landmark project, the Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club, the first St. Regis polo resort in the world, which will be here in Dubai. It is something out of this world.
Why I am telling you all this, is because I have faith in this country, I have trust in the country. I have trust in this country to invest because of the security and transparency. We as the Al Habtoor Group work as a public company, we are very transparent.
As the Al Habtoor Group we are growing with the United Arab Emirates and we are working parallel to our government because us, as the owners of the Group, and any investors or businessmen cannot do what we do without our government. We work hand-in-hand with our government here. And the government needs us, they need us to work together. Without us and without them, we cannot achieve anything. We have to put our hands together and work to deliver the fruit, the results of our hard work and our planning. Coordination is important and thanks God everything is going well.
There is one issue I want to raise, which is very important worldwide. In my last visit to Washington DC, I delivered a speech as a keynote speaker for over a thousand decision makers at the 24th Annual Arab-US Policymakers’ Conference. There were a lot of important people attending that conference from the US government. And I touched on poverty alleviation. Poverty alleviation in my opinion is of priority to the world. We can tackle poverty alleviation by putting our heads together and talking about it. It doesn’t matter if we fail once or twice we should not give up. We should continue knocking on the door of others to meet and discuss ways to help. What we have as a result of poverty is terrorism, drugs, etc. Therefore, I would suggest at this great meeting that somebody like the Financial Times and parallel to that colleagues and everybody who is responsible to take this forward. And I am ready personally to fly anywhere in the world to attend round table meetings or conferences in order to take a decision.
I would like to thank all of you and His Excellency Sami Al Qamzi, who is doing a great job for this country and his department, including the other departments of the Dubai government.
Thank you very much.