Dubai’s Cass Business School, an affiliate of City University London, has hosted a delegation from South Africa’s Banking Sector Education and Training Authority (BANKSETA), in a move further strengthening the ties between UAE and South Africa’s banking community.

In a two-day series, a range of topics were discussed including the DIFC, the UAE economy, Islamic Banking, business culture in the UAE, and the new trends in retail banking.

Ehsan Razavizadeh, Dubai head for City University London, said: “International relationships and connections are increasingly important in business. We must take every opportunity to learn from other parts of the world, share knowledge and better our businesses and society.

Richard Thomson, the programme director for Bankseta and Wits Business School, added: “Our partnership with Cass Business School in Dubai has grown from strength to strength and our delegates derive huge benefit from the learning opportunities Dubai has to offer.”

According to figures provided by the South African embassy in Abu Dhabi, the UAE is the 24th largest investor in South Africa, and is its largest trading partner in the GCC region.

The UAE is also the 21st largest export market to South Africa, and total bilateral trade between South Africa and the UAE is estimated at $3bn.

The discussions were led by guest speakers including: Dina Haddad from DIFC, Dr Burcu Kapar from City University London, Dr Sohail Zubairi, CEO of Dar Al Sharia Legal & Financial Consultancy, Ammar Shams, regional CSR head at HSBC and Vikram Krishna of Emirates NBD.

Originally established by the South African labour department, BANKSETA aims to develop skills within the country’s banking and microfinance sectors, and aims to seek, identify and develop high-potential future leaders of the South African financial services industry.