DIFC and Dubai FDI sign pact to attract foreign investment into emirate

The two government entities will collaborate to increase business growth by launching new industry initiatives

Startupbootcamp has moved its regional headquarter to the Dubai International Financial Centre. Courtesy DIFC Authority
Startupbootcamp has moved its regional headquarter to the Dubai International Financial Centre. Courtesy DIFC Authority

The Dubai International Financial Centre and the Dubai Investment Development Agency (Dubai FDI) entered an agreement to attract more foreign investment into the emirate.

The two government entities will work together to boost business growth by launching new industry initiatives, collaborating on joint roadshows and events and exchanging information, the agencies said yesterday.

“We will collaborate closely to identify investment opportunities and provide businesses with world-class, seamless entry into the MEASA [Middle East, Africa and South Asia] region,” Arif Amiri, chief executive of the DIFC Authority, said.

“The joint initiatives will also support DIFC’s strategic goal to drive the future of finance by opening doors to innovative companies and start-ups in geographies where Dubai FDI has an established reputation.”

The partnership will “promote further public-private engagement and develop new opportunities for investors while also bringing added value to existing companies looking to expand their footprint in the region,” Fahad Al Gergawi, chief executive of Dubai FDI, said.

The DIFC was established in 2004 as the emirate’s international financial free zone.

It plans to increase the number of financial companies within the zone to 1,000 and employment to 50,000 people by 2024. About 25,638 people worked in the centre at the end of last year, a 9 per cent jump from 2018.

Dubai FDI, an agency of Dubai’s Department of Economic Development, intends to stimulate and sustain foreign investment in the emirate.

The UAE’s stable economic and political environment has propelled the country into 19th position on a global foreign direct investment confidence index.

The country, the second-biggest Arab economy, moved two places higher than its 2017 position on the 2020 Kearney Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index, the global management consultancy said last month.

Various measures to attract foreign investment have been taken to reduce the country’s reliance on oil revenue and diversify its economy. A new FDI law in the Emirates was introduced in November 2018.

A list of 122 economic activities across 13 sectors, in which foreign investors would be allowed to have complete ownership, was also announced in July last year.

These include renewable energy, space, agriculture, manufacturing, transport, logistics and hospitality.

Measures were also taken to cushion the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the private sector, with the UAE Central Bank unveiling stimulus packages worth Dh256 billion.

Global foreign direct investment flows are forecast to decrease by up to 40 per cent this year, down from $1.54 trillion in 2019, under severe pressure from the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Unctad’s World Investment Report 2020 released on June 16.

If this forecast were realised, global FDI would fall below $1tn for the first time since 2005.

The decline could also continue into next year, with FDI projected to decrease by another 5 per cent to 10 per cent before recovering slowly in 2022, Unctad’s report said.

“The outlook is highly uncertain. Prospects depend on the duration of the health crisis and on the effectiveness of policies mitigating the pandemic’s economic effects,” Mukhisa Kituyi, Unctad’s secretary-general, said.

Updated: July 22, 2020 03:18 AM


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