Abu Dhabi Export Office (ADEX) will boost UAE exports by allocating Dh550mn (US$150mn) to facilitate loans to foreign buyers of UAE goods.

Established by the government-backed foreign aid agency Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) and launched in September 2019, ADEX’s funding and guarantees look to support UAE businesses in non-oil sectors. The unit also aims to enable sustainable growth of the UAE economy in line with the UAE Vision 2021 and Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 initiatives.

“The committee approved the allocation of Dh550mn to facilitate direct loans to foreign buyers as well as lines of credit for international financial institutions exclusively available to importers of goods and services from UAE companies,” says Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, director general of ADFD and chairman of ADEX’s executive committee.

Al Suwaidi adds that ADEX is focused on developing a wide range of financial products and tools that better enable UAE exporters to compete for deals in emerging markets across Africa and Asia. “Allocating these funds in support of our national export companies represents a major step advancing the ADEX mandate to increase the volume and value of UAE exports and drive sustainable national economic expansion,” he says.

Last month, ADEX and the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Abu Dhabi Chamber) inked an agreement to enable members of Abu Dhabi Chamber to leverage ADEX’s financial products and further explore export opportunities in international markets.

While Abu Dhabi is by far the most oil-rich emirate – it holds proven oil reserves of more than 90 billion barrels compared with Dubai, in second place, which has 4 billion barrels – it is looking to grow its non-oil exports through ADEX and other programmes. However, the emirate recorded non-oil foreign trade of Dh154.4bn from January to December 2019, a decrease of 8.8% from Dh169.3bn in the corresponding period in 2018, according to Emirates News Agency.

As expectations climb around the UAE’s upcoming world fair Expo 2020, held in neighbouring emirate Dubai from October until April 2021, it could provide a platform for Abu Dhabi to grow its non-oil exports and trading partners. According to the organisers of the event, more than 80% of the tens of millions of expected participants are looking to enhance their global trading network.

Meanwhile, a report published last year by EY estimates that the UAE economy will see a Dh122.6bn (US$33.4bn) boost between 2013-31 as a result of the event, with an unquantifiable range of benefits available to UAE trade post-expo, including “improved trade relations at a country-to-country level from relationships developed during the expo” and an increased international profile of the UAE as a “place to do business, work and invest”.

However, analysts say that economic expectations are set too high for events like Expo 2020, and as a result they don’t have the impact – on trade or otherwise – that the host country often anticipates.