Italian export credit agency Sace has opened its first office in Dubai. It will manage more than €5bn in a portfolio of insured transactions and guaranteed investments, particularly towards the Gulf countries, as well as a pipeline of new projects under consideration.

“Closely overseeing this area is indispensable today and strategic for the future,” says Marco Ferioli, head of Sace Dubai office and manager of the Middle East and North Africa area.

The UAE is a lucrative destination for Italian exports, which exceeded €5.5bn in 2015 only, and could increase in the future still. “This new direction might lead to a potential increase in Italian exports by over €2bn by 2018. We are considering new projects in a broad variety of sectors: not only oil and gas, chemicals and petrochemicals but also tourism, fashion, agro-foods, home furnishings and various industrial technologies, in which Italian companies, including SMEs, possess a widely-recognised know-how and have what it takes to position themselves with success,” adds Ferioli.

Sace is keen on getting involved in infrastructure developments in the region, especially considering the potential of Expo Dubai 2020. The ECA has already made a €1bn credit line available to the Dubai Aviation Corporation (DACC) to support exports and investments of Italian companies involved in the Dubai South project, and recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Abu Dhabi Ports.

The new opening brings the number of Sace international offices to nine, including outposts in Brazil, Russia, India, China, Mexico, Romania, South Africa and Turkey.