Kenyan businessmen chosen to promote Dubai hub

From left: Equity Bank CEO James Mwangi and businessman Chris Kirubi are among the guest speakers at the 2013 Africa Global Business Forum set for May 1-2 in Dubai. PHOTOS | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Dubai has tapped two Kenyan business leaders, Equity Bank CEO James Mwangi and businessman Chris Kirubi, to help promote the city as a leading financial hub and to spearhead trade between Africa and other continents.

Mr Mwangi, Mr Kirubi and investment banker John Ngumi, who is also the chairman of Konza Technopolis Development Authority, are among the guest speakers at this year’s Africa Global Business Forum set for May 1-2 in Dubai.

The emirate has invited more than 2,000 policymakers and business leaders from Africa, Asia and Europe to discuss business opportunities in finance, agribusiness, logistics, and trade across the continent’s economic blocs of COMESA, the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).

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By hosting the meeting, Dubai is hoping to position itself as the region’s top financial hub.

“The forum which will run under the theme: ‘Bridging the continent to the world’ is aimed at exploring investment opportunities while highlighting the strategic role of Dubai as a hub for connecting to Africa,” said Hamad Buamim, director-general, Dubai Chamber. The chamber is hosting the event.

In only 40 years, Dubai has grown from an impoverished desert nation to a vibrant business destination.

The force behind the transformation has been Dubai’s crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, whose family rules over the wealthy emirate that has acquired a reputation as the region’s trade, tourism, sports and information-technology capital.

The Al-Maktoums have invested billions to create the modern city-state that started by earning its wealth from oil and gas, but has now diversified into trade, finance and tourism.

The three Kenyan business leaders have in recent years been in the global limelight.

Mr Mwangi is credited with driving a revolution in Kenya’s conservative financial sector, offering products popular with the low end of the market and which were previously considered high risk and untouchable.

Mr Kirubi has vast interests in media, real estate and manufacturing while Mr Ngumi is a career investment banker, and now chairs the body that will regulate, monitor and evaluate the development of the Sh850 billion ($10 billion) ICT Konza tech city located on the Nairobi-Mombasa highway.

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