Investments in UAE expected to rise by 20 per cent this year - GulfToday

Investments in UAE expected to rise by 20% this year

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The landmark law is predicted to further strengthen the already business-friendly climate in the country.

The UAE Government’s new foreign direct investment, FDI, law passed in 2018 could accelerate FDI flows by up to 20 per cent this year, from the eight per cent average growth rate, as per the recent estimates of the Ministry of Economy.

The landmark law is predicted to further strengthen the already business-friendly climate in the country.

The law is going to take a prominent spot in the upcoming global FDI discussions at the Annual Investment Meeting 2019 in Dubai happening from 8th to 10th April, 2019. High-level representatives from the country are expected to present the key provisions of the law before a global audience alongside other factors that make the Emirate a preferred FDI destination in the Arab region.

“Attracting international investments is critical to the sustainable development of any country, and in the case of the UAE, to its economic diversification strategy. Higher FDI results in more job opportunities and stronger international ties and can lead to the faster realisation of the objectives of both UAE Vision 2021 and UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030,» Dawood Al Shezawi, CEO of Annual Investment Organising Committee, said.

Under the law, a powerful FDI unit will be established within the Ministry of Economy. It will propose FDI policies, identify priorities, formulate relevant programmes, and lead the implementation of the Cabinet-approved proposals. It will also oversee the establishment of a comprehensive database for UAE investments as well as assist in the registration and licensing of FDI projects, to name a few.

“As the country prepares for a post-oil future and continues to transition to a knowledge- and innovation-driven economy, the FDI law is going to be an influential factor that will drive the UAE’s socio-economic growth and development in the 21st century,» Al Shezawi said.

The outlook on the UAE’s development remains upbeat. The International Monetary Fund has estimated that the country’s real gross domestic product, GDP, will experience a 3.7 per cent increase this year compared with 2.9 per cent in 2018. Non-oil GDP is also forecasted by the Central Bank of the UAE to expand at 3.4 per cent in 2019 compared to 2.6 per cent in 2018.

“At this year’s AIM, we are bringing the discussions deeper by looking into the impact of next-generation technologies such as Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Blockchain on investment and global trade. As such, the event’s theme, ‘Mapping the Future of FDI: Enriching World Economies through Digital Globalisation,’ will help direct our dialogues towards the adoption of a new way of thinking amidst these digital explosions. The enactment of the new FDI law comes at a time when disruptive technologies are being implemented left and right,» he said in conclusion. Meanwhile, the UAE tops the list of countries in the Middle East with the highest number of financial technology (fintech) start-ups to date, reveals Bloomberg Intelligence in its latest report.

The UAE with 67, was followed by Turkey at 44 and Jordan and Lebanon at 30 each. Overall, the number of fintech start-ups in the region is forecast to expand from 96 in 2019 to 465 by 2020. An Accenture analysis based on CBI Insights data, has predicted that investments in the fintech sector will jump to $2.28 billion by 2022 from $ 287 million in 2019.

The figures were made public ahead of this year’s AIM Startup taking place in Dubai from 8th to 10th April in conjunction with the Annual Investment Meeting, AIM.

This year’s theme of «Harnessing Global Digitization to Empower Startups and SMEs» will highlight the shift in consumer expectations against the backdrop of global adoption of digital technologies.

Dawood Al Shezawi, Chairman of the Organising Committee of AIM Startup, noted that the recent numbers supported other findings disclosing that not only start-ups have been flocking to the local and regional fintech sectors due to their promising growth prospects but that the UAE has remained a preferred destination for their operations as well regardless of their industries.

“We have looked into several factors for this trend and we can confidently say that the UAE’s high data connectivity makes it a fertile ground for start-ups and enterprises. In today’s era where you have tech-savvy customer base expecting exceptional service at all times, the issue of data connectivity will help make or break your business. The Emirates has one of the superb infrastructural systems in this regard across the region and it is further raising its game to transform itself into a leading global business and connectivity centre by accelerating its national 5G connectivity programme,» he said.

The country ranked first in the Middle East and North Africa and 23rd globally in the Global Connectivity Index, GCI, 2018 released by Huawei. The report described the UAE’s broadband market as «one of the most advanced both regionally and globally». The broadband and data centre outperformed its neighbours and most countries across the world, the report added.

AIM Startup 2019 will focus on the opportunities and challenges brought about by the fourth industrial revolution and its impact on small businesses. More than 500 start-ups are joining the 2019 edition to engage with investors, government representatives, corporate executives, and industry experts.

WAM