Sharjah is looking to increase the amount of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) by 15 percent in 2018, after doubling the amount of investment received last year, the head of the emirate’s FDI promotion body said on Sunday.

Sharjah has been stepping up efforts to attract more investors as part of a wider plan across all seven of the United Arab Emirates to increase and diversify sources of income, which for many decades have been dominated by oil revenues.

“We are looking at increasing this number (2017’s FDI figure) by at least, at least 15 percent,”  Mohamed Juma Al Musharrkh, the CEO of Invest in Sharjah told reporters on the sidelines of a press conference held to launch Oxford Business Group’s annual report on Sharjah’s investment plans and opportunities.

He said the current FDI figure stood at 7 billion UAE dirhams ($1.9 billion). In April, Shurooq said that it had attracted 5.97 billion dirhams worth of FDI in 2017.

As for the sectors the emirate is targeting for investment, Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, the executive chairman of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority, Shurooq, told reporters at the same event: “For 2018, we are looking at healthcare big time… We are looking at tourism sector – still, Sharjah has a huge opportunity in the tourism sector.”

Al Sarkal said that one resort has already opened this year opened in the town of Kalba in Sharjah on the Gulf of Oman coast and two others are set to open later this year. He said the Sharjah investment authorities are looking to have more hospitals and a rehabilitation center.  

Al Sarkal said that over the past few years, he has visited different countries and met with many investors to promote Sharjah, a city which officials say benefits from a low cost of living and doing business compared to other emirates, as well as hosting several culture sites, museums and good education institutes such as the American University in Sharjah.  

As for the Arab region Al Sarkal said his authority has held talks with Egypt’s famous Sawiris business family, which includes three businessmen brothers, Nassef, Naguib and Samih Sawiris, who specialise in different business sectors including construction, tourism and telecommunications. 

Al Sarkal did not say which of the three Sawiris brothers he had spoken with, but he said the conversation was about a new tourism project.  

(Reporting by Yasmine Saleh; Editing by Michael Fahy)


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