James Wolfensohn, president of the World Bank Group, in a meeting with Anis al-Jallaf, chairman of the board of the DIFC, stated that, in principle, the bank would be prepared to launch an AAA-rated $100 million bond on the market, which is scheduled to begin trading in the first quarter of 2003. ‘This was a very pleasant and unexpected gift,’ says Hussein al-Qemzi, chief operating officer of the DIFC. ‘It came totally out of the blue, so we are now planning to visit Washington in June to introduce our ideas to the bank.’

The next milestone in the creation of the financial centre in Dubai will be the formal announcement of the chairman of the market’s regulatory body. DIFC says it has selected two candidates and plans to confirm its selection in two-three weeks. This will be followed in late June by the finalisation of the first draft law governing the market. The regulatory framework will then come into effect in October ready for the opening of trading in early 2003.

Initially the DIFC will operate from its offices in Emirates Towers until a purpose-built financial zone is built on land that has already been allocated south of the Sheikh Zayed road (MEED 22:2:02, Cover Story).