Dubai's Danube Group chairman on Covid-19 restoration, 2022 plans – Gulf Enterprise

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The UAE’s economic system has obtained a powerful increase from Expo 2020 Dubai and is on its manner again to progress, states Danube Group founder and chairman Rizwan Sajan
How has 2021 been for Danube Group?
It was a 12 months of restoration for all our companies following the influence from the Covid-19 pandemic. The worldwide pandemic created the most important problem that now we have ever seen in our lifetime. The whole lockdown of the enterprise was unprecedented. On prime of that, the excessive degree of uncertainty and insecurity – with the rising loss of life toll – had an influence on the psychological well being of individuals working at numerous companies inside the organisation. So this 12 months, we targeted on the restoration of our enterprise from the pandemic and it has been good to this point primarily as a result of UAE authorities’s management and its success in containing the pandemic. We have now made nice strides in retaining our staff and our shoppers.
We have now accelerated our drive in direction of our e-commerce enterprise, which is delivering good outcomes. The longer term is digital, and now we have taken a brand new route in direction of that area. Additionally, Expo 2020 Dubai, which started in October this 12 months, has labored like a tonic for our companies and has helped us to realize new floor.
Have companies within the UAE utterly recovered from the pandemic, in your opinion?
Nearly. Some sectors are performing higher than others, comparable to the true property sector, which has seen a rise within the variety of transactions and the restoration of the misplaced worth of properties. This progress has been led by the UAE’s immigration reforms, discount of charges and prices and the choice to eradicate the requirement to mandatorily have an Emirati sponsor for native firms. We have now seen quite a lot of rich individuals from totally different nations relocate to the UAE.
Some sectors will take time to completely get well – perhaps in 2022 or 2023. However the temper is upbeat and investor confidence is again. International traders are organising firms and relocating their households to the UAE as a result of security, safety, high quality of life, world-class infrastructure and connectivity and ease of doing enterprise that it presents. That is creating employment. The retail sector is selecting up and so is tourism and hospitality.
I feel by the primary quarter of 2022, most industries will get well considerably. Nevertheless, the complete restoration will rely upon how the Covid-19 state of affairs adjustments in different nations in addition to the unfold of latest and lethal variants – that may put issues in jeopardy.
What are the most important adjustments you have got seen within the economic system publish the Covid disaster?
The largest change has been the rising adoption of digital channels, the unfold of e-commerce and a common reluctance for bodily conferences. As a result of concentrate on digital and e-commerce, we’re seeing a sea change in client behaviour whereas retailers are choosing omnichannel distribution. We have now additionally re-worked our technique to strengthen our omnichannel distribution. General, we see that individuals have change into extra cautious.
Expo 2020 is presently underway in Dubai – what sort of an influence is it having/and can it have on the economic system?
Expo 2020 has revived the UAE economic system from the results of the Covid-19 pandemic. When the federal government deliberate for the occasion, no person anticipated a worldwide pandemic, which might carry the world to a standstill. Nevertheless, Expo 2020 really jump-started the UAE economic system. In a matter of months, now we have seen flights beginning to function at virtually full capability and accommodations working at a really excessive occupancy. We have now seen retail actions decide up, eating places have began to obtain visitors and orders. So, there’s a buzz within the air. In some elements of the UAE, issues look fairly regular – virtually the identical as pre-pandemic, apart from face masks and different precautionary measures being adopted.
That are the sectors providing the strongest potential for progress for the time being?
Industries providing the most important potential embody IT and e-commerce, amongst others. Retail, tourism, F&B, schooling, healthcare and hospitality may also proceed to develop.
Additionally, what are the challenges that native UAE companies are going through proper now?
Financial institution financing is an issue. I feel the banks ought to restart lending to small and medium enterprises, particularly those that survived the Covid-19 pandemic and are strong companies. They want finance to increase their companies. Banks might help them develop, rent new individuals and this fashion, the general economic system will increase.
One other problem for companies is the seamless transformation of the brick-and-mortar operations to digital e-commerce – with out compromising on the standard of service and buyer expertise.
Trying forward, do you have got any growth plans within the pipeline – each by way of verticals and geographies?
Sure. Through the pandemic, we launched our hospitality division that’s going properly. We’re additionally taking Danube Dwelling – our retail and residential furnishing model – to totally different nations, together with Uzbekistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and the CIS and African nations. My son Adel Sajan, who takes care of Danube Dwelling, plans to take the model to greater than 50 nations – actually, we’re eyeing all of the nations that Emirates Airline flies to.
Lastly, what are Danube’s plans for 2022 and past?
We’re targeted on doing what we do finest – make our prospects glad. The 12 months 2022 might be a 12 months of progress and growth. This 12 months now we have employed extra individuals regardless of the pandemic, now we have added two new manufacturers and it has made us stronger in each space of operation. Our power comes from our teamwork. So, as a substitute of firing individuals, we retained them and employed extra throughout this disaster. The pandemic helped us concentrate on our core power – our imaginative and prescient and our nice workforce – and as we speak we have a look at our future with extra confidence. Since now we have overcome the disaster with a fastidiously deliberate technique that labored properly and helped us to navigate our manner out of the disaster, we at the moment are consolidating our operations and getting ready for the subsequent part of progress.