Abu Dhabi intensifying efforts to attract more investment in industrial sector

Emirate's industrial sector grew by 9.7 per cent last year, Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development says

From left, Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade; Ahmed Al Zaabi, chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development; and Omar Al Suwaidi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, at the Make it in the Emirates forum in Abu Dhabi. Khushnum Bhandari / The National
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Abu Dhabi is doubling down on its efforts to attract more investment in its industrial sector and support the growth of the economy, according to the chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (Added).

“We are rolling out initiatives to increase access to financing, enhance ease of doing business and attract foreign direct investment,” Ahmed Al Zaabi told the Make it in the Emirates forum in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

Abu Dhabi last year launched a new industrial strategy to boost the contribution of the sector to the overall economy.

As part of the strategy, the UAE capital is investing Dh10 billion ($2.72 billion) in six industrial programmes to more than double the size of the emirate’s manufacturing sector to Dh172 billion by 2031, create more than 13,000 new jobs and increase the emirate’s non-oil exports to Dh178.8 billion.

Abu Dhabi also introduced a new industrial land rebate programme to incentivise land use for new manufacturers in high priority sectors to boost industrial growth, Mr Al Zaabi said.

Incentives will be offered with rates as low as Dh5 per square metre, he added.

Last year, Abu Dhabi’s industrial sector grew by 9.7 per cent a year to Dh90.8 billion, contributing 8 per cent to the emirate’s total gross domestic product and 16 per cent to its non-oil economy.

Building on the success of the Electricity Tariff Incentive Programme, which helped manufacturers increase their productivity by 6 per cent in 2021, Abu Dhabi has also introduced an expansion to the Electricity Tariff Incentive Programme to include gas prices, with discounts up to 35 per cent to support the industrial sector's growth, Mr Al Zaabi told the forum.

Other measures include partnerships with AD Ports, Tawazun and Adnoc to support the growth of the emirate’s industrial sector.

Adnoc, “through their contracts with the private sector, helped establish or expand more than 70 manufacturing facilities throughout several industrial zones since 2021, of which 50 are located in Abu Dhabi”, he said.

“In AD Ports industrial zones alone, more than 130 companies, of which nearly 50 manufacturers are Adnoc suppliers, [are] producing locally [to meet] Adnoc product requirements.”

Abu Dhabi is “progressing very well” in its industrial strategy as it aims to more than double the size of the emirate’s manufacturing sectorby 2031, Arafat Al Yafei, executive director of the industrial development bureau at Added, told The National on the sidelines of the forum.

“Today an encouraging amount of industrial FDI [foreign direct investment] is in the pipeline into Abu Dhabi, as we have seen during this round of Make it in the Emirates, with the Industrial Development Bureau signing a number of agreements with some of the global industry leaders to invest in Abu Dhabi,” Mr Al Yafei said.

“These new industrial investments, once on the ground, will expedite completing the local value chain and building the necessary industrial ecosystem that will ensure economical growth at the wider scale.”

Mr Al Yafei said 17 deals had been signed during the forum, including three international agreements for setting up industries in the emirate.

Abu Dhabi is also focused on developing, attracting and upskilling human capital in the industrial sector to meet the rising demand for knowledge-based jobs.

The capital on Wednesday also announced a new smart manufacturing incentive programme, a Dh500 million initiative to help industries digitise their operations.

Minister of Economy Abdulla bin Touq said the UAE has introduced new legislation and initiatives with the goal of transforming the business environment in terms of its quality, competitiveness and ease of doing business.

“These developments have led to increased openness of the country's markets to the global economy, offering investors a wide range of options to invest in the local market,” he said.

“Investors can choose to invest through free zones, commercial companies, start-ups, or family companies. The presence of supportive laws and regulations ensures the growth and sustainability of these businesses, providing a conducive environment for their operations.”

As a result of the amendment to the co-operatives law, “co-operatives are now empowered to engage in industrial, commercial and service activities. This expansion of their scope allows for greater versatility and contribution to the economy”, Mr bin Touq said.

The new co-operatives law encourages members of the community to establish co-operatives in sectors including technology, finance, health, tourism, creative industries as well as consumer-related sectors and others.

Updated: May 31, 2023, 3:24 PM