Etihad Credit Insurance (ECI), the UAE Federal export credit company, has unveiled its remarkable growth trajectory in its latest annual report for the year 2023. With a gross exposure of AED9.6 billion by the end of 2023, ECI has experienced a staggering 21-fold increase compared to 2019. This was announced during a media briefing led by Raja Al Mazrouei, Chief Executive Officer of ECI, in the presence of other senior officials from the company.

Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy and Chairman of ECI Board of Directors, said, “Under the guidance of our wise leadership, the UAE has achieved outstanding successes on regional and international levels, solidifying its standing as the region's leading hub for trade and investment. With an emphasis on emerging industries and SMEs, we will continue to broaden and diversify our economy according to the ‘We the UAE 2031’ vision, which aims to increase the country's non-oil exports to AED800 billion and raise the volume of non-oil foreign trade to AED4 trillion by the next decade.”

Bin Touq added, “Etihad Credit Insurance has significantly contributed to advancing this national vision by fostering the expansion of domestic trade and enterprises and facilitating crucial economic relations through comprehensive economic partnership agreements (CEPAs). The company’s innovative credit solutions and strategic collaborations have enhanced the competitiveness of UAE businesses worldwide. This not only diversifies the UAE’s economic landscape, but also propels its non-oil exports forward.”

He stated that ECI’s recent commitments to clean and green energy initiatives further signify its role as a driving force towards sustainability. “ECI's support has been financial as well as strategic, contributing to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through support for non-oil trade, while also ensuring compliance with international standards,” Bin Touq added.

The report highlighted ECI’s notable role in fostering the expansion of the UAE’s non-oil exports, covering 3.1 percent out of AED441 billion in 2023, compared to 1.9 percent in the previous year. This growth was supported by a diverse portfolio, with over two-thirds of beneficiaries comprising small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), while large corporations represented another 20.9 percent. This underscores ECI’s significant contribution to the UAE’s progress towards its 2031 foreign trade targets.

Raja Al Mazrouei, Chief Executive Officer of ECI, said, “We are committed to providing innovative credit solutions, facilitating easy access to finance, offering expert market insights, and nurturing strategic collaborations in line with our vision and mission to foster sustainable and secure non-oil trade for the UAE’s economy. We empower UAE businesses to confidently participate in global trade, driving towards a robust and well-diversified economy. Leveraging our innovative approach and meticulously crafted 2023 business plans, ECI has emerged as a beacon of stability for UAE enterprises. We have seen a significant increase in the demand for our services, with a remarkable surge in insured trade and investment transactions. Our dedication to protecting the interests of UAE exporters is evident in the numbers, with a 25 percent increase in policies issued compared to 2022.”

Al Mazrouei added, “As we continue to adapt and grow, expanding ECI’s services to strengthen national exports stands as our primary objective, marking a significant leap forward in our capabilities and outreach. This new strategic phase aims to double the growth rate of UAE exports through ECI and increase our contribution to the non-oil GDP by 7-fold by 2031.”

The report stated that ECI’s global outreach efforts resulted in the support of UAE exporters across 17 sectors in 110 countries, amounting to a non-oil trade and investment of AED14 billion in 2023. This success was facilitated by approximately 21 agreements signed with government export credit agencies worldwide, solidifying ECI’s position as a trusted partner for international trade.

Additionally, the report highlighted ECI’s commitment to supporting clients beyond credit insurance. This commitment was demonstrated by the company’s effective handling of overdue payments, leading to the collection of AED82 million. It showcases ECI’s significant contributions to facilitating access to financing for UAE exporters, with over AED1.8 billion worth of credit coverage provided to financial institutions over the past five years. It also stated that ECI secured AA- international rating by Fitch for the fifth consecutive year, reflecting on the company’s ability to mitigate potential risks and reiterating its strong presence in global markets.

Furthermore, the report stated that ECI has given a credit cover of AED4.7 billion to UAE’s industrial sector, a key contributor to non-oil exports, with AED1.4 billion committed in 2023 alone, enabling manufacturers’ exports achievement and in line with the company’s partnership with the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT).

It further highlighted ECI’s projects that aims to support economic development and improve the quality of living, including credit insurance commitment of USD 500 million to boost Africa’s clean energy transition as part of the UAE’s USD 4.5 billion Africa Green Investment initiative, announced during the Africa Climate Summit held in September 2023. The report underscored ECI’s strong track record of managing claims and recoveries across its portfolio. The company supported clients with the management of late payments worth AED415 million, of which AED353 million or 83 percent were successfully recovered, it added.

It stated that ECI-backed trade finance lending crossed AED1 billion in the first year of a partnership with DP World Trade Finance. The partnership aims to broaden SME access to trade finance by mitigating the potential risks and covering industries including agricultural commodities, chemicals, manufacturing, and construction materials.

The report also outlined ECI’s plans to leverage the UAE’s Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements (CEPAs) to further enhance trade and strengthen commercial relations. These efforts will be supported by ECI’s expanding information database, which grants access to over 300 million corporates globally, empowering UAE-based exporters with valuable insights and intelligence.