Adio to open more offices globally to attract investors to Abu Dhabi

More than 50 companies benefitted from $545 million innovation programme, senior official says

Abu Dhabi's GDP exceeded Dh1.1 trillion last year, an estimated 9.3 per cent growth over 2021. Khushnum Bhandari / The National
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The Abu Dhabi Investment Office aims to open more offices around the world to attract investors to the capital, according to a senior official.

Adio, which is responsible for attracting and promoting investment in Abu Dhabi, has eight offices in the US, Israel, Germany, France, the UK, China and South Korea.

“The minute the companies know that we have offices abroad, the excitement level increases and also productivity when it comes to the project itself and so we definitely feel that it is important that we are present internationally and in the right countries,” Haitham Al Subaihi, acting executive director of business development and promotions, told The National on Tuesday.

He did not specify in which countries or regions Adio is planning new offices, but said there were a lot of opportunities globally.

“When you look at every region, they have something to offer … you look at Asia, there's a lot of ICT opportunities. In the West, you see a lot of hospitality and tourism opportunities. Different parts of the world are leading different sectors, so there are [a] lot of options” he said.

Abu Dhabi has launched a number of initiatives as it aims to attract more investment into the emirate and diversify its economy away from oil.

In June, the UAE capital launched a new industrial strategy to boost the contribution of the sector to the economy. As part of the strategy, it is investing Dh10 billion ($2.72 billion) across six industrial programmes to more than double the size of the emirate’s manufacturing sector to Dh172 billion by 2031.

The emirate also announced measures such as rent rebates, discounts on utility bills and loan guarantee packages to support businesses and stimulate economic growth during the pandemic.

Abu Dhabi's gross domestic product exceeded Dh1.1 trillion last year, an estimated 9.3 per cent growth over 2021, with the non-oil sector accounting for half of it, Ahmed Al Zaabi, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, said on Monday.

The emirate aims to increase its non-oil exports by 143 per cent to Dh178.8 billion by 2031, he told the Annual Investment Meeting conference in Abu Dhabi.

“Abu Dhabi is witnessing the rise of the falcon economy, which continues to go from strength to strength, driven by agile policies and a robust regulatory and legal framework, making us an anchor for companies looking to expand the operations in the region,” Mr Al Zaabi said.

More than 50 companies have benefitted from Adio’s Dh2 billion innovation programme launched in 2020 to support companies with financial incentives, according to Mr Al Subaihi.

“The innovation programme that was launched a few years ago was dedicated to five key five key sectors — AgriTech, FinTech, health care, tourism and ICT,” he said. “And with it came the support of allowing the businesses to set up easily within Abu Dhabi, the more that they spent on their cost structure, the more they received as rebates from this programme and this has been very successful.”

Adio added a number of companies to the programme, including local cycling shop Wolfi's, technology companies Fairwater Capital, Frontera Capital and Cofe App and Israel’s Liquidity Group.

“Beyond that, we want to make sure that our deal has all the right components and needs of what investors looking for,” said Mr Al Subaihi.

“They might look for a rebate programme to make their initial start-up in the emirate, a successful one for growth and stability, but they might need land as well. And we do have a land lease programme called Musataha to build their future projects or their expansion.

“We also have a public to private partnership and this focuses on long-term infrastructure, infrastructure projects, and is dedicated to the private sector in order for them to have guarantee on a long term business within Abu Dhabi itself.”

Updated: May 10, 2023, 5:19 AM