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BUSINESS

How foreign direct investments are strengthening Dubai’s economy

By Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, President and CEO of Dubai Chambers 

Here, Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, President and CEO of Dubai Chambers, explores global trends in foreign direct investments (FDI) and highlights Dubai’s role as an international FDI leader.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) projects are key to Dubai’s economic ambitions. These cross-border investments fuel growth through capital accumulation, create valuable jobs, increase productivity, and equip us with emerging technologies. 

Across the world, Dubai is seen as an ideal location for FDI projects, and these flourishing enterprises are now supporting home-grown talent and attracting new workers into the emirate. Within Dubai Chambers we’re building on this success by securing even more FDI projects and catalysing a dynamic investment environment across Dubai. 

The global FDI landscape 

Over the past few years, the state of global FDI has been heavily impacted by uncertainty across markets and fragmented global trade. Geopolitical disruptions and high food and energy prices have also made sustaining FDI a real challenge for many countries. These challenges, which have been felt most keenly in developing nations, can only be addressed effectively through concerted, collaborative efforts from the global community. 

Despite global challenges, Dubai has emerged as a world leader in FDI. In 2023, Dubai’s Financial Market reached its highest point in 8 years, and the resilience of the emirate’s economy has been a real draw for international investors. Dubai’s strategic location – with proximity to major trade routes – favourable tax incentives, and strong economic policies have also positioned the emirate as an attractive market for FDI inflows and economic growth. 

Dubai’s FDI success 

One of the central aims of Dubai Chambers is to maintain and increase FDI into the emirate. We’ve made great progress in recent years, with Dubai seeing an 80% increase in FDI inflows between 2021 and 2022. 

We were also extremely proud to see Dubai named as the top global destination for attracting greenfield FDI projects in the most recent edition of the Financial Times’ ‘fDi Markets’ data. This data showed that the emirate attracted 511 greenfield projects in H1 2023. The data also highlighted that Dubai’s global share in the attraction of greenfield FDI projects rose to 6.58% during the first half of 2023 – up from 3.83% over the same period in 2022.  

The most recent data released by the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism’s (DET) FDI monitor also confirms extremely healthy FDI growth. The data shows that the city of Dubai announced 880 FDI projects between January – June 2023, which is a year-on-year growth of 70% 

By ensuring that Dubai maintains its status as a major FDI hub, we’re supporting the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33), which aims to double the size of the emirate’s economy over the next decade. A healthy FDI ecosystem within the emirate encourages economic diversification and promotes innovation. It also leads to significant job creation: it has been estimated that FDI projects have created 5,212 business services jobs, 3,525 IT and software jobs, and 3,090 food and beverage jobs in H1 2023 alone. 

Exploring Dubai’s FDI future 

Next month, Dubai Chambers is hosting the Dubai Business Forum in Madinat Jumeirah. This must-attend event is aimed at global corporations, visionary leaders, and fast-growth businesses. It will provide the perfect opportunity for the global business community to forge partnerships, cultivate international networks, and unlock new opportunities. During the event, participants will be able to learn more about the future of FDI in Dubai and can gain expert insight from heads of state, policymakers, and industry leaders. 

At the Dubai Business Forum, we’re also running a dedicated space for businesses to forge and announce new initiatives, investments, and commercial alliances. This space, called The Deals Hub, reflects Dubai Chambers’ commitment to driving growth in international trade and investment and builds on Dubai’s position as a global leader in FDI. 

To register for the Dubai Business Forum, head to dubaibusinessforum.com 

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