Abu Dhabi records 51% rise in issuance of industrial licences amid strong non-oil growth

The emirate issued 25,647 new economic licences in 2023 with the newly licensed companies' total capital exceeding $57.3 billion

Abu Dhabi issued 219 new tourism licences in 2023, part of a drive to attract more international visitors. Photo: Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development
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Abu Dhabi issued 363 new industrial licences last year, a rise of 51.25 per cent annually, as it ramped up efforts to develop local manufacturing, according to the latest Business Activity Report issued by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development.

The emirate issued 25,647 new economic licences in 2023, an annual increase of 3.5 per cent, with the newly licensed companies' total capital exceeding Dh210.7 billion ($57.3 billion), amid robust non-oil sector growth.

“The findings show that we are delivering the objectives of economic diversification strategy through infrastructure and digital transformation and the continuous development of legislative and regulatory frameworks,” said Rashed Al Blooshi, undersecretary in the department.

“Compliance with local and global legislation, regulations and standards is a top priority for us as it guarantees a vibrant and competitive business sector.”

The sharp increase in business activity comes as the emirate seeks to become the preferred destination for talent, investments and businesses.

Abu Dhabi has taken several measures to attract international investors, boost its competitiveness and improve the ease of doing business as it seeks to diversify its economy away from hydrocarbons.

In 2022, the emirate launched a new industrial strategy to boost the contribution of the sector to the economy.

It is investing Dh10 billion across six industrial programmes to more than double the size of the emirate’s manufacturing sector to Dh172 billion by 2031.

Abu Dhabi issued 219 new tourism licences in 2023, an increase of 22.35 per cent annually, according to the report.

The hotels and tourism sector, one of the key contributors to the emirate's non-oil economic growth, is expanding at a rapid pace.

The UAE capital is “on track” to meet its target of attracting 24 million visitors in 2023, up from 18 million in the previous year, the emirate's Department of Culture and Tourism said earlier.

It opened a new airport terminal in November 2023 that will increase its capacity, spurring further growth in international visitors and trade flows, according to industry analysts.

Growth in the number new licences in the agriculture, fisheries and livestock sectors hit 288.46 per cent in 2023, compared with 2022, the report showed.

Abu Dhabi issued 24,143 commercial sector licences in 2023, comprising 94.1 per cent of the total, while new occupational licences and professional licences stood at 411 and 410, respectively.

The report findings underscore “the flexibility and vitality of Abu Dhabi’s business sector and its ability to provide attractive opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors from inside and outside the UAE”, said Mohammed Al Mansouri, executive director of the Abu Dhabi Business Centre.

Updated: January 30, 2024, 1:04 PM