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UAE a regional hub for over 24 per cent of world's 500 largest companies

SHARJAH: Business and trade activities and events have played a major role in leading the UAE regionally and globally in more than 10 sub-indicators in the doing business report and being a regional hub for more than 24 per cent of the world's 500 largest companies, said Hamid Mohammed bin Salem, Secretary-General of Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

In an exclusive interview with the Emirates News Agency, WAM, Bin Salem said that the activities carried out by the General Secretariat of the Federation have contributed to providing job opportunities, increasing exports, and growing of productive and service sectors in the national economy during the past years.

"For over 42 years, the General Secretariat has pursued the policy of developing the Federation to enable it to fulfil its ambitions and aspirations through a series of initiatives," he said, stressing that the General Secretariat achievements in 2018 are in total worthy of appreciation.

The annual report of the General Secretariat included a detailed presentation on its activities and achievements in developing various economic sectors such as trade, industry, tourism, real estate, and capital markets. It also covered other topics that dealt with the Federation's support to member chambers, the government sector, and the development of the investment climate in the country.

The report indicated that the number of meetings held by the General Secretariat from the beginning of January until the end of December 2018 reached 17 meetings, during which the Secretariat examined the challenges facing the private sector and commercial sectors.

The General Secretariat has witnessed a distinguished external activity in promoting the investment climate of the country in various forums and regional and international meetings such as the Secretariat's participation in official visits to Egypt, Romania, Kazakhstan, and Algeria. Also, the formation of UAE trade delegations to Nepal, Poland, Uganda, Kenya, Malaysia, Singapore, Russia, and other countries.

The Federation's General Secretariat in coordination with chambers of commerce and related bodies organised more than 134 activities which included symposiums, forums, conferences, workshops, and panel discussions on economic issues of interest to the private sector.

On the role of women in entrepreneurship, statistics revealed a tangible presence of women as businesswomen. The number of businesswomen registered with the Chamber increased to more than 25,000 in 2018 compared with 21,000 in 2017, and with more than 50,000 trade licenses were issued to women entrepreneurs.

The number of Emirati businesswomen reached nearly 12,000, representing about 48 per cent of the number of businesswomen in the country. They have 28,000 commercial licenses with investments of AED30 billion.

As for the economic sectors where Emirati businesswomen are active, the report said that women presence varies from sector to sector based on available statistics. The general trade sector, especially the clothing, fashion, personal and household goods topped it, with more than 20,000 registered business records.

The approximate proportion of private sector board chairwomen in 2018 was 4 per cent, compared to 2 per cent in 2013, and the ratio of female board members in the private sector was between 9 -14 per cent.

In 2018, the UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry held more than 26 events attended by over 789 local and international delegates, resulting positively on the country's business sector.

The Chamber was able to increase its members in 2018 by 5 per cent compared to last year while retaining the membership of 95 per cent of former members, the report concluded.