Tecom’s Dubai Industrial City sets target of 500 factories by 2026

Free zone attracts $272 million worth of investment from global and local manufacturing companies amid new industrial strategy and Cepa deals

Saud Al Shawareb, executive vice president of industrial leasing at Dubai Industrial City, centre, says products manufactured at Dubai Industrial City are being exported to more than 80 countries. Khushnum Bhandari / The National
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Dubai Industrial City, which is part of the Dubai-listed Tecom Group, aims to have more than 500 operational factories in its free zone by 2026, up from 300 currently, amid UAE's industrial strategy and Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements, a senior executive has said.

The new factories will cater to various sectors, including food and beverage, and logistics services, Saud Al Shawareb, executive vice president of industrial leasing at Dubai Industrial City, told The National on the sidelines of the Make it in the Emirates forum in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

“Our products are mostly decarbonised, are environment friendly and are being exported to more than 80 countries around the world,” Mr Al Shawareb said.

He added that the products are produced through 40 megawatts of renewable energy generated by the factories.

Dubai Industrial City is part of Tecom Group’s portfolio of 10 business districts.

About Dh1 billion ($272 million) worth of new factories will also be established this year in base metal, food and building materials sectors in the free zone, Mr Al Shawareb said.

These include investments by Universal Rubber Belt Manufacturing and local polymer solutions provider Stars Plastics Industries.

“Our new agreements will boost the local market for the ever-expanding pool of Made in UAE products that are steadily gaining buyer confidence in the global market,” Mr Al Shawareb said.

The latest deals come as the UAE, the Arab world's second-largest economy, focuses on industrial development and free-trade agreements to boost exports.

In 2021, the UAE launched its industrial strategy “Operation 300bn” to position it as a global industrial hub by 2031. The 10-year comprehensive road map focuses on increasing the industrial sector's contribution to the country's gross domestic product from Dh133 billion in 2021 to Dh300bn in 2031.

The strategy focuses on boosting production in 11 priority sectors, supporting the growth of national industries, attracting foreign investment, modernising legislation and ensuring availability of dedicated financing for local industrial companies.

Last year, the UAE increased the industrial sector’s contribution to national gross domestic product to Dh182 billion, a 38 per cent increase from Dh132 billion in 2020, Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Cop28 President-designate, told the forum this week. This was achieved through a set of initiatives aimed at boosting industrial manufacturing and exports.

The value of the UAE’s industrial exports rose to Dh175 billion last year, a 49 per cent increase from 2020, on the back of the National Strategy for Industry and Advanced Technology launched by the ministry, he said.

Dubai Industrial City has also signed a preliminary agreement with the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology and Emirates Development Bank, where the bank has allocated more than Dh1 billion in financial support to its companies after the lender provided Dh513 million worth of loans to companies last year, Mr Al Shawareb said.

It also signed an agreement with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment to support the government's net-zero plan by 2050 and to decarbonise the industrial sector.

Cepa agreements signed by the UAE are also helping to attract new investments to Dubai and the UAE, he added.

The UAE has already signed such agreements with India, Israel, Indonesia and Turkey, and is working to finalise deals with countries including Kenya, Georgia and Cambodia.

In a separate panel discussion at the forum on Thursday, Mr Al Shawareb underscored the importance of adopting advanced technology to encourage sustainable practices in the industrial sector in line with net-zero targets.

“A circular economy, powered by advanced technologies is not only the cornerstone of environmental stewardship but also a catalyst for reducing operational delays, streamlining supply chains and enhancing product quality, while drastically cutting down on waste," he said.

Updated: June 01, 2023, 2:36 PM