UAE plans to ease doing business expected to boost FDI inflows

Minister of Economy calls on global investors and entrepreneurs to take advantage of the country's attractive investment climate and business-friendly policies

UAE Minister of Economy Abdullah bin Touq at the opening of Sharjah Investment Forum 2023
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The UAE government's measures to further ease doing business will contribute to boosting foreign investment inflows into the country in top-priority projects, the UAE's Ministry of Economy said.

A raft of policies, from allowing 100 per cent foreign ownership of companies to more flexible visa schemes, will help to attract more capital and talent to the country, Abdullah bin Touq said on Wednesday in a keynote speech at the Sharjah Investment Forum.

"These policies will create a market that is able to attract all types of capital, whether financial, technological, or human resources," the minister said.

"I call on all regional and global investors and entrepreneurs to consider the country's attractive investment climate and leading investment-friendly policies and to benefit from the opportunities provided by our ambitious growth plans and vital economic sectors."

The UAE aims to attract $150 billion in foreign investments by 2031 to diversify its economy from oil. In 2021, the UAE attracted foreign direct investments worth $21 billion, growing 15 per cent from pre-pandemic levels and accounting for 40 per cent of total FDI in Arab countries.

The UAE’s non-oil foreign trade reached a record Dh2.23 trillion ($607.1 billion) last year, as the Arab world’s second-largest economy accelerated efforts to reduce its dependence on hydrocarbons and boost its economic partnerships globally. This was the first time the UAE’s non-oil foreign trade crossed the Dh2 trillion mark, with values for the January-December period increasing more than 17 per cent compared with the same period in 2021.

The economy minister delivered the speech at the opening of the two-day Sharjah Investment Forum under the theme "Redefining Economies: Making Significant Strides for a Better Future".

Under a strategic partnership between the UAE Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT) and the Emirates Development Bank, the ministry facilitated financing, totalling Dh699 million in 2022, for industrial companies to adopt advanced technology solutions through the bank, it said in a report on Wednesday.

Last year, the bank introduced new financing worth Dh3.14 billion for industrial companies in the UAE to boost local manufacturing.

In 2023, this financing is expected to increase to Dh3.5 billion for industrial companies in 11 priority sectors, in line with initial targets for funding, Omar Swaina Al Suwaidi, undersecretary of the MoIAT said on the sideline of the event.

The industrial sector is projected to have contributed more than Dh180 billion to the UAE's gross domestic product, according to the ministry report. This compares with about Dh151 billion in 2021.

Meanwhile, Mohammed Al Musharrakh, chief executive of Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah), emphasised the need to support sustainable and green investment opportunities and prioritise sectors such as agriculture, health, and education to drive global economic growth.

“The emirate of Sharjah is a model of a sustainable future economy, with its waste-to-energy city and emphasis on sustainability in its economic sectors, including 35 per cent of the country's factories as well as investing nearly $1.5 billion annually in education, research, and future skill development," he told the forum.

"To further enhance its potential, it is critical to forge partnerships with local, regional and global investors to ensure sustainable and qualitative growth.”

Updated: February 09, 2023, 4:03 AM