Abu Dhabi’s Dhs50 billion investment on track - GulfToday

Abu Dhabi’s Dhs50 billion investment on track


Picture used for illustrative purpose only.

From instant licences and incubators, to affordable school places and art springing up all over town, Abu Dhabi’s Dhs 50 billion (US$13.6 biillion) programme Ghadan 21 is accelerating Abu Dhabi’s development as a place where businesses, innovative ideas and diverse people can not only grow, but thrive.

Envisioned by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Ghadan 21 was launched to support and deliver the transformation of the Emirate’s economy, knowledge ecosystem, and communities from 2019 to 2021.

Ghadan 21’s initiatives are designed to impact on two levels. First, on the local population, who will see their city transformed, transport overhauled, education systems improved and jobs created. Then, in a broader context, these programmes are a way of preparing Abu Dhabi’s economy and its workforce for the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution by accelerating its transition to a knowledge-based economy and strengthening its position as a global innovation hub.

Economy | Investing in Business The increase in Abu Dhabi’s business confidence index by 3.4 points year-on-year (Q4 2018 - Q4 2019) demonstrates Ghadan 21’s impact in driving the Emirate’s sustainable development through creating opportunities and offering solutions to support the business community. It is also helping Abu Dhabi to address future transformation trends by investing in innovation and elevating the standards of living.

Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa Al Hammadi, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, elaborated on the rationale behind Ghadan 21, noting, “The private sector is a key partner in the economic development of Abu Dhabi, helping us via the Ghadan 21 programme to identify specific priority clusters and to showcase the immense advantages that Abu Dhabi has to offer for investors, entrepreneurs, researchers.

“Under Ghadan 21, the Abu Dhabi DED has launched a package of initiatives that are already empowering the private sector and reinforcing its already important role in our national economy, as well as strengthening the attractiveness of Abu Dhabi for launching the most innovative ideas that will position us for a data-driven, technology-enabled future.” “This year,” Al Hammadi continued, “will see the launch of additional incentive schemes and deregulatory measures, which will streamline processes in our economic sectors and business environment even further and enhance Abu Dhabi’s position as an ideal place to do business.” A key part of the rollout of programmes under Ghadan 21 has been aimed at contributing to Abu Dhabi’s economic growth. As such, Abu Dhabi Investment Office, ADIO’s, mandate has been expanded to increase foreign direct investment to the emirate and provide guidance to investors.

“Making Abu Dhabi one of the best places in the world to invest and innovate is at the core of Ghadan 21’s mission and at the centre of ADIO’s mandate,” says Dr. Tariq bin Hendi, ADIO Director-General. “Ghadan’s programme is helping ADIO to support businesses of all sizes establish, innovate and grow in Abu Dhabi.” Loosening the strictures around SMEs, including the introduction of instant business licences - which can be acquired online in a matter of hours - has given the private sector a significant boost, with the issuing of more than 7,400 Tajer licences to SMEs, such as online businesses and food trucks, allowing them to operate without the need for physical office space. There have also been dual licences issued to free zone companies (i.e. those established within Abu Dhabi’s free zones), allowing them to operate inland.

TruKKer - one of five start-ups that collectively are receiving investment from ADIO - is among the many small businesses that have sprung up in Abu Dhabi this year after benefiting from the introduction of several new types of business licence. The measures have been introduced as part of a series of economic initiatives designed to help spur private sector growth - which in turn feeds into a wider vision to accelerate Abu Dhabi’s development through Ghadan 21 over three years.

“It’s like the Uber of trucks,” says entrepreneur Gaurav Biswas of his Abu Dhabi-based truck aggregator start-up TruKKer, which operates 18,000 trucks across the GCC and Jordan, connecting demand from the manufacturer with customers via its tech platform. “We got a licence quickly and easily through Abu Dhabi Global Markets,” he adds. “I was terrified to start with, but we have been very pleasantly surprised by how the market here has reacted.” Tourism Push A series of tourism drivers have helped to grow the number of attractions and visitors to Abu Dhabi.

Showdown Week, a week-long programme of events tied to UFC 242, saw 12 matches take place in Abu Dhabi, which were broadcast in 165 countries and attracted 14,000 visitors.

Advantage Abu Dhabi was an additional series of 47 events that included Cirque Du Soleil, Abu Dhabi Engine Week and Abu Dhabi Family Week, and attracted a further 256,400 visitors.


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