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Why young entrepreneurs in the UAE and the rest of the region need freedom

09 February 2016


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As a disruptive economy that’s equal to free market entrepreneurship, the UAE has 
gotten the recipe for success just right. That’s according to Arif Naqvi, founder and 
group chief executive of The Abraaj Group, who addressed delegates during Day 2 of 
the World Government Summit.

Naqvi stated that governments unleashing freedom without the red tape for the 
region’s predominantly young population would be a positive rather than negative 
agent of change.

“Some governments still use fax and have archaic laws; they need to think outside 
the box and disrupt themselves to stay on top of the game and outperform other 
economies,” he said. “They need to be enablers of disruption, and be a partner in 
the process with the private sector [in order] to attract global capital and have the 
best minds grow.

He pointed out that there are 3.2 billion Internet users today, of which 2 billion are 
in growth markets, thus representing accessible markets from the UAE.

He credited the dot.com ‘disruptive’ companies – removing the need for 
intermediaries between consumers and providers – such as Amazon, Alibaba and 
Careem.

“Unicorn companies didn’t arrive from mars but were born in Silicon Valley and the 
UAE, because they provided an environment conducive for growth,” he added. 
“That’s what Dubai is doing as well – it is an enormous facilitator for 
entrepreneurship in this region.”