Foreign investment to UAE set to surge by 35% after legal reforms

Amendments to companies' law will encourage investors and residents to invest in SMEs, Dubai Economy chief says

Night view of new high-rise office buildings and Burj Khalifa in Business Bay Dubai United Arab Emirates.
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Foreign investment to the UAE is expected to increase by 35 per cent after an overhaul of the commercial companies' law, Dubai Economy said on Sunday.

The changes will "have [a] far-reaching impact on the flow and quality of foreign and domestic investments, as well as overall economic growth of the country", said Sami Al Qamzi, director general of Dubai Economy.

The UAE reformed its commercial companies' law last month and annulled the requirement for onshore companies to have an Emirati shareholder. It also introduced other measures to improve the ease of doing business.

The move is intended to boost the country's competitive advantage and attract foreign capital to the Arab world's second-largest economy.

“Allowing foreign nationals 100 per cent ownership of commercial companies will lead to a significant increase not only in foreign and domestic investment, as these amendments allow full freedom for investors to manage and operate their businesses,” Mr Al Qamzi said.

The amendments are also expected to encourage individual investors and residents to invest in the small and medium enterprises, “which is a critical link in production chains”.

Sectors such as manufacturing, high-tech industries, digital economy, entertainment, engineering and legal consulting services are expected to attract long-term investment that will enhance "competition, partnerships and acquisitions among existing local and foreign companies".

Demand for high-skilled, high-wage jobs is set to increase due to improvement in the flow and quality of investment, according to the DED.

The amendments will also improve the country's position on the World Bank's Doing Business report, which will bring in more capital, Mr Al Qamzi said.