New Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce strategy to boost economy and attract FDI

Three-year road map is in line with government initiatives to diversify economy and increase growth momentum, its chairman says

The Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman Abdulla Al Mazrui at the strategy launch event in Abu Dhabi on Thursday. Photo: ADCCI
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The Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry is embarking on a three-year transformation journey that will help boost the private sector’s contribution to the economy and increase the flow of foreign direct investment into the emirate.

Under its 2023-2025 road map, the trade body is planning to empower Abu Dhabi’s private sector and work with local businesses and government entities to boost trade and commerce, ADCCI chairman Abdulla Al Mazrui said on Thursday.

The new strategy is in line with the Abu Dhabi government's initiatives to diversify its economy and follows goals set by the emirate's long-term development road map.

“We were selected to run the chamber a year and a half ago. The government came with a number of initiatives [during this time for] liberalising the economy and opening up for foreign investment to come to the country,” Mr Al Mazrui told The National at the strategy launch event in Abu Dhabi.

“So we, as representatives of the private sector, have a responsibility and obligation to do our part on those initiatives to encourage and facilitate our members to play a key role in attracting investment, form joint ventures with foreign partners and create growth in different sectors of the economy.”

Abu Dhabi’s economy bounced back strongly from the pandemic-enforced slowdown in 2021 and sustained momentum last year as the emirate initiated several programmes to boost trade and FDI.

The emirate's economy expanded 11.2 per cent in the first six months of 2022 on an annual basis, driven by the oil and non-oil sectors, despite mounting global macroeconomic challenges, the Abu Dhabi Media Office said in November, citing data from the Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi.

The size of the emirate's real gross domestic product at constant prices surpassed Dh543 billion ($148 billion) at the end of the six-month period.

The value of non-oil GDP grew by Dh28.4 billion to Dh273 billion at the end of the first half of 2022.

In May last year, S&P Global Ratings forecast that Abu Dhabi's real GDP growth would accelerate to more than 5 per cent in 2022, with real GDP reaching 2019 levels in 2023.

The emirate aims to boost the level of FDI in 2023 through measures such as the Musataha programme that will enable international investors to rent land, a senior government official said last month.

In June last year, Abu Dhabi launched a new industrial strategy to boost the contribution of the sector to the overall economy. As part of the strategy, it is investing Dh10 billion in six industrial programmes to more than double the size of the emirate’s manufacturing sector to Dh172 billion by 2031.

The ADCCI will roll out several initiatives of its own, including working closely with leaders from each sector of the economy to help the government achieve its trade and FDI objectives, Mr Al Mazrui said.

“We have three years to execute this strategy and we are going to work very closely with the government because everything is based on … public-private partnership.”

The chamber will also assume a broader advocacy role to represent the private sector, especially family-owned businesses in the emirate to make sure that “Abu Dhabi becomes the number one choice in the Middle East North Africa region, both for business and for talent by 2025”, said Karl Magnus Olsson, an ADCCI board member and head of its transformation committee.

Innovation and digitisation are among the key planks of the trade body’s three-year strategy, which aims to make Abu Dhabi businesses globally competitive.

“This is our vision,” said Mr Olsson, who is also co-founder of Careem.

The ADCCI, which will play a broader role in international match-making for local businesses, is also setting up a new global arbitration centre in Abu Dhabi to replace its Commercial Conciliation and Arbitration Centre, Mr Al Mazrui said.

The new centre has been created “from scratch” and will soon be launched in the emirate’s financial hub, Abu Dhabi Global Market, he added.

Updated: February 02, 2023, 2:07 PM