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UAE, UAE, ABU DHABI - Diplomacy

The Hon. E. David Burt, JP

MP, Premier of Bermuda


The Hon. E. David Burt, JP, MP is Bermuda’s youngest-ever premier. He is a graduate of the George Washington University in Washington, DC, graduating with a double major in finance and information systems. He was awarded the George Washington University Presidential Administrative Fellowship and received his master’s in information systems development in 2003. An entrepreneur, he founded GMD Consulting Limited, an IT consulting company focusing on project management. He served as president since its inception until 2016, when he stepped down upon being appointed leader of the opposition. In the past, he has served on the Tourism Board, the National Training Board, as a director of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, and was also director of the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation.

"Bermuda and the UAE are small countries that have an outsized impact on the global economy."
Bermuda and the UAE have much in common, punching above their weight in their regional economies.
Bermuda’s GDP rose by 5.4% to USD6.3 billion in 2021, with 14 industrial groups positively contributing to this growth. What policies are in place to foster a diversified and sustainable economy?

Bermuda’s economy faced challenges after the financial crisis because it was highly concentrated, particularly in financial services, and the 2008 financial crisis created a significant dislocation in the sector. In addition, tourism, which only receives about 5% of foreign exchange earnings, also faced some challenges. We did not start to fully recover until 2012, and there was a period of low growth and challenges. Since I was elected in 2017, we have focused on creating the foundation for sustainable growth driven not by government spending but rather private-sector investment. We made changes to long-standing laws to attract and retain more investment into the country and increase the dynamism of our particular economy and make the government more efficient for long-term growth. The first budget I delivered in 2018 reflects these policies. We have taken many measures to encourage international business investment and job creation in the sector, which is a key driver of our economy. One of these measures was to provide tax exemptions for businesses that hired additional workers, which contributed to consecutive year-over-year growths in the international business sector. As a result, the international business sector’s contribution to GDP reached the highest level ever in 15 years, a result that was only previously seen before the financial crisis. We also reformed our immigration policies and legislation to allow long-term residents to apply for permanent residency to ensure Bermuda would not lose these talents and encourage them to invest more in the economy such as real estate and so on. This would ensure that more of the money earned in the country remains in Bermuda. Post-pandemic, we developed an economic recovery plan with 31 key initiatives, 80% of which are currently on track. Our focus is on ensuring we continue to diversify the economy and provide additional avenues for investment. Leveraging Bermuda’s excellence in regulation, we are expanding from core traditional financial services to a broader range of financial services such as digital assets. We are also exploring the areas of subsea and international communications. Additionally, in the energy sector, we have an energy regulatory sandbox where we want to encourage the development of energy solutions for the world. One of our current initiatives as part of our economic recovery plan is called a wave energy system. Finally, we are also focused on the blue economy, given that Bermuda has a 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone. Even though we do not have any other competitors because the closest land mass is over 600 miles away, we have never been able to fully utilize our oceans. It is unfortunate that a country like Bermuda that has some of the best tuna in the world does not have a major fishing market. The blue economy is currently for domestic consumption at the moment, and we will look into international export.

What industries do you plan to develop in cooperation with the UAE in the coming years?

Bermuda and the UAE are small countries that have an outsized impact on the global economy. The UAE is a global leader in the industries that it has focused on developing and exceling, similar to Bermuda. Both countries also have a strong culture of innovation. When you are an island where the closest land mass is 600 miles away and there are no natural sources of fresh water, you have to be innovative to ensure the economy not only survives, but thrives. That is where Bermuda stands. While the links between Bermuda and the UAE are evident in the financial services industry. We also aim to develop the areas of trade and transport. Bermuda is an ideal platform for the UAE to access the US market specifically, whether from travel, transportation, logistics, or even financial services platforms. Additionally, one of the things we aim to deepen is our insurance relationship. Some major Emirati companies such as Mubadala and IDIA have made investments in insurance companies in Bermuda. One of the things all companies look for is to ensure they are adequately covering their risks. Bermuda’s world-renowned risk capital is the perfect place for companies to efficiently manage their risks.



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