DIFC marks 20th anniversary with record-breaking performance


Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) continued to consolidate its position as the leading global financial centre for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region with record breaking results in 2023.

The Centre is now home to 5,523 active companies, a significant 26 per cent year-on-year boost from 4,377 in 2022. A total of 1,451 new companies were established in DIFC in 2023, the highest number of new registrations annually in the Centre’s history, up 34 per cent. DIFC also announced it is ahead of schedule in achieving its target of doubling its GDP contribution by 2030.

Combined revenues in 2023 grew at their fastest levels since inception, close to AED 1.3 billion, 23 per cent higher than 2022. Operating profit reached AED 859 million, up 27 per cent. Reflecting the strength of DIFC’s financial position, total assets were AED18 billion, an increase of 18 per cent.

His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, First Deputy Ruler of Dubai; Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the UAE, and President of the Dubai International Financial Centre, said, “Two decades ago, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, articulated an ambitious vision to transform Dubai into one of the world’s leading global financial hubs. This vision has remained the cornerstone of DIFC’s sustained performance over the years. DIFC’s unprecedented growth in 2023 further consolidates Dubai’s status as the region’s foremost contributor to the global financial services industry.

“As DIFC continues its journey of success, its accelerated growth trajectory is perfectly aligned with the goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 to double the size of Dubai's economy over the next decade and reinforce its status as one of the world’s top three cities for business and investment. DIFC is focused on expanding and deepening its pool of financial services firms and growth-stage innovation businesses, whose success contributes to both the UAE and Dubai’s economic growth. Through strategic initiatives that support our partners’ development and expansion, we seek to provide a dynamic environment for innovation and enterprise to flourish. In close collaboration with our partner community, we are set to make DIFC an even more pivotal node in the global financial network,” His Highness added.

The total number of financial and innovation related active companies in the Centre now stands at 1,674 up from 1,369 in 2022, a 22 per cent increase. During the past year, 316 FinTech and Innovation firms established a presence in DIFC, taking the net total to 902.

DIFC has also built the MEASA region’s biggest hub for wealth and asset management of over 350 firms primarily from the GCC, Europe, UK and the US. There are now 50 hedge fund related firms in DIFC’s wealth and asset management eco-system, with 15 establishing in 2023.

DIFC is slated to see continued growth with the DFSA licensing 117 regulated firms during the year, taking the total to 791 regulated entities.

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