UAE issues new governance guidelines for family-owned firms

New governance guidelines have been issued by the Dubai Centre for Family Businesses (DCFB) to support family firms operating in the emirate. They are designed to help them develop governance best practices, and includes advice on succession planning and business continuity.

The move is part of the government’s aims of developing systems and processes that ensure the sustainability of family businesses for the next 100 years, according to the DCFB, which has developed the guidelines in collaboration with Dubai Chamber of Commerce and the Dubai Government. It said they draw upon international best practices that have been adapted to reflect local needs.

Family-owned businesses comprise a majority of the UAE’s private sector and significantly contribute to Dubai’s non-oil GDP

The guidelines offer detailed advice on the value of developing a Family Constitution – also known as a ‘Family Charter’ or ‘Family Protocols’ – together with practical tips, tools, and insights to support business-owning families in establishing effective governance structures.

Abdul Aziz Abdulla Al Ghurair, chairman of Dubai Chambers, said: “The issuance of the new family business governance guidelines represents another important step forward in ensuring the sustainability, growth, and continuity of family businesses in Dubai. The principles outlined provide a comprehensive and integrated vision that will help companies develop effective strategies for a smooth transition of leadership between successive generations and promote the concept of sound governance.”

The guidelines and their accompanying tools aim to assist families with mapping the complex roles and relationships that define their businesses, as well as finding a healthy middle ground where complex issues can be discussed in an environment of trust and transparency.

Family-owned businesses make up around 90% of the UAE’s private sector and create a significant contribution to Dubai’s non-oil GDP, as well as employing a substantial proportion of the emirate’s workforce. Many family businesses in Dubai were established during the 1950s and 1960s and are expected to undergo a generational transition within the next five to 10 years.

Dubai Chambers said “it is committed to boosting the competitiveness of family businesses, protecting their interests, and investing in their leaders to ensure their sustainable future while recognising their vital contribution to the objectives of Dubai Economic Agenda D33, which aims to raise private sector investments in development projects to Dhs1tn (£209bn) by 2033”.

The Dubai Centre for Family Businesses, established May 2023, is responsible for ensuring the sustainability and growth of family businesses in Dubai, as well as enhancing its economic value.


UAE looks to double economy to over $800bn

The United Arab Emirates is looking to boost economic growth with the aim of doubling its gross domestic product to over $800b by the end of the decade.

“The focus is to grow by 7%,” Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, the country’s economy minister, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. He said the government was looking  to double our economy to Dhs3tn ($817bn) in output by the end of 2030.

The UAE saw its economy expand almost 8% in 2022, due in part to higher crude prices and production. This year, the International Monetary Fund projects its GDP growth will slow to 3.5%.

The Gulf country is seeking bilateral trade deals and partnerships to achieve its goals and is confident it has the policies in place to navigate any potential challenges such as slower Chinese growth or disruptions to the global financial system, according to the minister.

During the recent visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Abu Dhabi, the UAE pledged to ramp up financial help for Turkey with deals that could be worth more than $50bn. The two countries are still working on finalizing the details, which will “come in very shortly and very soon,” Al Marri said.