The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) will expand to include more offices, residences, retail and leisure offerings to create 'DIFC 2.0', a plan approved by Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid this week. The expansion should attract more investments and solidify the DIFC's position as the region's top finance centre, analysts say.
The expansion, dubbed DIFC 2.0, will add 13 million square feet (1.2 million square meters) to the centre over several phases, with a focus on fintech and innovation, the district's operator said. It'll include 6.4 million square feet of office space, as well as homes, shops and hotels. Canary Wharf in East London covers an area of 16 million square feet, Bloomberg reports.
"The financial sector remains one of the cornerstones of our economy. We are keen that the development of infrastructure is matched by the development of legislation by continuously reviewing it to ensure it is among the best in the world and that it can facilitate the best environment for supporting greater excellence and achievement," bin Rashid said.
The financial sector remains one of the cornerstones of our economy"
"DIFC's expansion plans will strengthen the emirate's position as the region's central economic and commercial hub and offer an international platform for FinTech and business innovation, augmenting the DIFC's status as a leading global financial centre," Ehsan Khoman, head of Mena research and strategy at MUFG, told local news outlet The National.
The DIFC, the government-owned free zone, is the biggest finance hub in the Middle East and hosts international banks, investment firms, insurance companies and financial service consultancies. Dubai jumped four positions to rank 15th in the Global Financial Centres Index, a survey of the world's most attractive financial centres. New York overtook London as the world's most attractive financial hub after the Brexit decision.