Abdullah Al Darmaki, CEO of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development (“KFED”), is hard at work. Having attended the ‘Strategic Alignment Forum’ in February 2018 in Abu Dhabi, his effort to support local entrepreneurs is forcing the leadership to enact a series of structural changes designed to better accommodate private sector development in the UAE.
Today’s insight considers the motives underpinning the KFED, challenges to implementing it, as well as a look at those exerting control over the Fund.
- The country that can buy everything now recognises the need to begin nurturing something. The UAE’s longstanding model of resource distribution, whereby the government can placate its population through high spending, is finite.
- In June 2007, the KFED was officially opened in a bid to address this issue. It promotes private sector investment by supporting local entrepreneurs with business ideas at various stages of development.
- More than ten years on, it operates under the watchful eye of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (“MbZ”), hinting that this is an open ‘call to audition’ for new members of club prestige.