Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, the Minister of Economy in the UAE, has stated that the country has one of the most active business environments globally, which is supported by both national and foreign private sectors. Additionally, it boasts numerous developmental initiatives, an attractive labor market for international talents, and is implementing comprehensive economic initiatives to increase the national business environment’s capacity to attract capital.
Ahead of Investopia 2023 in Abu Dhabi, Al Marri spoke to Emirates News Agency (WAM) about the global economy’s current international challenges that have resulted in changing priorities and investment trends, with a focus on five key sectors: healthcare, transport and logistics, agriculture and food security, technology, and green energy. The UAE has utilized advanced technologies to develop capacities and meet the growing demand in these sectors. Moreover, the country aims to adopt a new and more open development model that aligns with the leadership’s future vision and the UAE Centennial 2071.
Al Marri emphasized that the ambitious economic initiatives and programs launched by the UAE in the past few years aim to enhance the country’s ability to address new economic concepts, such as virtual reality, data revolution, and artificial intelligence, and to create significant commercial and investment opportunities in priority areas.
Investopia was launched as part of the UAE’s efforts to create investment opportunities in new economic sectors, with an ambitious goal to attract AED550 billion in foreign direct investments (FDI) to the country by 2031 and AED1 trillion by 2051. The UAE has adopted economic diversification policies that move away from oil, providing sufficient flexibility to address current economic challenges. However, the country’s future growth prospects require focusing on the ‘New Economy’ concept and taking opportunities created by advanced technologies in vital sectors such as space, agriculture, medicine, and engineering.
According to Al Marri, the UAE economy recorded its fastest growth rate in over a decade in 2022, with the first half of 2022 witnessing unprecedented growth of nearly 8.5%, despite the global economic slowdown. The country’s foreign trade also totaled AED2 trillion, and it maintained its position as one of the 12 best tourism destinations in the world by attracting over 10 million tourists annually. Additionally, FDIs rose from US$10 billion in 2018 to nearly US$21 billion by 2021.
Al Marri also mentioned that positive investment indicators in 2022 showed confidence in continuing rapid growth to achieve the goals of doubling the national economy and creating a new economic model based on knowledge, innovation, and creative talents.
The UAE’s strategic location between Asia, Europe, and Africa, coupled with its state-of-the-art infrastructure, world-class transport system, advanced communication technologies, and stable financial sector, makes it an attractive destination for investors. The country’s economy is diversified, with a strong focus on non-oil sectors such as tourism, trade, finance, and manufacturing.
The UAE’s government is committed to supporting the private sector and has implemented numerous initiatives to attract foreign investment, such as offering tax exemptions, reducing business setup costs, providing subsidized land, and simplifying the process of obtaining licenses and permits.
The UAE has also made significant investments in developing its infrastructure, including the construction of world-class airports, seaports, and highways, as well as state-of-the-art healthcare facilities, educational institutions, and research centers. Moreover, the country has established free trade zones that offer various incentives to investors, such as 100% ownership, tax exemptions, and duty-free import and export.