Dubai Chambers and the three chambers operating under its umbrella – Dubai Chamber of Commerce, Dubai International Chamber and Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy – have continued to make significant progress towards achieving their strategic priorities and unveiled an impressive set of results from 2023 that align closely with the objectives of the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33).

The chambers' strategic priorities focus on enhancing Dubai’s favourable business environment, attracting foreign investments and international companies to the emirate, assisting member companies to expand abroad, and accelerating the growth of Dubai's digital economy.

During the annual media briefing organised today at Dubai Chambers’ headquarters, it was revealed that 67,222 new companies joined as members of Dubai Chamber of Commerce in 2023. This impressive figure is the highest number of new members during any year in the chamber’s history and represents year-over-year (YoY) growth of 20 percent. The number of active members of Dubai Chamber of Commerce also grew by 26.8 percent compared to 2022 to reach a total of 217,788, while the value of members’ exports and re-exports increased to over AED 284 billion, with YoY growth of 4.3 percent.

Dubai International Chamber successfully attracted 138 overseas businesses to the emirate. These included 34 multinational companies (MNCs) – an increase of 580 percent compared to 2022 – and 104 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), representing YoY growth of 550 percent. The chamber also supported the international expansion of 77 local companies, achieving a record annual growth rate of 756 percent, and increased its network of international representative offices to 31 with the launch of 16 new offices around the world in 2023.

Meanwhile, Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy continued to strengthen the emirate’s digital leadership by attracting nine MNCs operating in the digital industries to Dubai, together with 549 high-tech startups to achieve an annual growth rate of 916 percent. The chamber also successfully hosted Expand North Star, established a new platform to support and attract businesses to Dubai, oversaw the launch of the 'Create Apps in Dubai' initiative, and published six insightful reports on the emirate's digital economy.

The annual media briefing event featured an interactive media Q&A session with the participation of Abdul Aziz Abdulla Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Chambers; Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy, and Remote Work Applications and Chairman of Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy; Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Chairman of Dubai International Chamber; and Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, President and CEO of Dubai Chambers.

Dubai Chamber of Commerce issued 735,155 certificates of origin in 2023, while the number of member exporters achieved YoY growth of 9.1 percent to rise to 13,688. In addition, 5,492 ATA Carnets were issued and received for commodities with a combined value of AED 5 billion, representing a remarkable YoY growth in value of 47 percent.

The chamber announced the establishment of 76 new sector-specific Business Groups in 2023, bringing the total number to 105. A combined total of 145 meetings were also held with Business Groups and Councils. The chamber’s Business Advocacy sector reviewed a total of 111 laws and draft laws in cooperation with Business Groups, with the resulting recommendations achieving an adoption rate of 53 percent. Dubai Chamber of Commerce also received 141 mediation cases with a combined value of around AED 49.6 million, with 75 percent of the cases successfully settled.

Commenting on the achievements, Abdul Aziz Abdulla Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Chambers, said, “2023 has been another year of landmark achievements for Dubai Chambers in which we furthered our commitment to serving our members’ interests. The record growth in the number of new member companies is a testament to our success in enhancing the competitiveness of the business community. Supporting the private sector remains a key priority for Dubai Chambers as part of our drive to achieve the wise leadership’s vision to advance sustainable development and achieve the objectives of the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33).”

Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy organised 10 workshops on various topics impacting the digital industries to identify the challenges facing the sector, while two additional workshops brought together key government entities to explore effective solutions. The chamber also organised 24 roadshows encompassing the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe to help attract international digital companies of types and sizes.

In October, the chamber hosted Expand North Star, a four-day mega event billed as the world’s largest gathering of startups and investors. The event attracted 33,060 participants from across the globe, together with 855 investors managing assets worth over US$ 1 trillion. The exhibition featured 1,604 startups from 91 countries, including more than 400 companies specialising in artificial intelligence and 52 unicorn companies with a combined value of US$ 663 billion.

Last year also witnessed the launch of ‘Create Apps in Dubai’ initiative by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai. Led by Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, the initiative aims to equip 1,000 Emiratis with the knowledge and skills to build a successful career in mobile application development. ‘Create Apps in Dubai’ seeks to triple the number of app developers by 2025, as well as support 100 new national projects for the development of cutting-edge applications that will be made available in digital app stores. As part of the initiative, Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy launched the Emirati Training Academy and the ‘App Olympics’ competition.

The chamber also launched the ‘Business in Dubai' platform in October to provide practical support to businesses looking to launch or expand their activities in the emirate. The platform offers a package of institutional services in partnership with several partners, in addition to a business matchmaking service designed to connect companies with potential partners, investors, and customers. The chamber signed 14 MoUs with partners to deliver services through the platform, which attracted 365 applications from companies wishing to benefit from the services available.

Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy, and Remote Work Applications and Chairman of Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, emphasised the important role of digital technology in providing opportunities and building prospects to drive growth. The chamber is working to achieve its strategic objectives by designing programmes and initiatives that develop the emirate’s digital infrastructure and building Dubai's digital future by enhancing entrepreneurship and innovation to enable Dubai to reach the ranks of the world's leading future economic models.

He stated that the visions of the UAE government are based on envisioning the future of the technology sector, adopting proactiveness, building readiness, and enhancing resilience in facing its challenges by empowering national talents and youth with the digital skills necessary to enhance innovation and create the next generation of technology leaders.

Dubai International Chamber launched a total of 16 new international representative offices in 2023 to expand its global network to 31 offices across five continents. The new openings place the chamber firmly on track to achieve the target of establishing 50 offices by 2030 outlined in the ‘Dubai Global’ initiative launched by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai. Working with its new and established international offices, the chamber facilitated a total of 3,762 meetings with overseas investors seeking to expand into Dubai.

The chamber led a total of 116 foreign trade missions to promote Dubai and attract investments, representing a YoY increase of 190 percent. The missions visited 68 cities in 44 countries, an increase of 113 percent in the number of cities visited compared to 2022. Dubai International Chamber also hosted 237 visiting delegations with a total of 600 participants.

In addition to attracting foreign companies and investments, the chamber successfully launched several initiatives to support the overseas expansion of Dubai-based businesses including the 'New Horizons’ and 'Global Expansion Series’ initiatives.

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Chairman of Dubai International Chamber, commented, “The chamber plays a vital role in supporting the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33) through its integrated network of overseas offices, which are dedicated to attracting investments, supporting the international expansion of Dubai companies, and introducing the emirate’s competitive advantages to global investors. Our achievements over the past year serve to further cement Dubai’s position as a globally renowned incubator for foreign direct investment.”

Launched under the umbrella of Dubai Chambers in May last year, the Dubai Centre for Family Businesses conducted 40 family visits and developed three educational certification programmes for family members and advisors. These included the Dubai Family Business Management Programme and the Family Business Advisory Certification Programme, which attracted the participation of 22 advisors.

The centre also successfully concluded six sessions in its ‘Governance Series’ programme with the participation of 234 family business representatives and facilitated training and education programmes for 86 family business leaders as part of the Dubai Family Business Management Programme.

In addition, the Dubai Centre for Family Businesses developed six guidance toolkits for family enterprises and hosted the inaugural edition of the Campden Global Owners and Family Office Congress, the world’s largest gathering for family businesses, with the participation of over 300 companies and family offices. The centre also signed an agreement with the Family Firm Institute to facilitate access to educational material for family businesses in Dubai.

Serving the needs of Dubai’s business community

Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, President and CEO of Dubai Chambers, added, “Dubai Chambers has successfully achieved many of its strategic objectives, despite the global climate of economic uncertainty. We are committed to strengthening partnerships between the public and private sectors and driving economic growth while focusing on the interests of our members and businesses in Dubai. This year, we will continue to work closely with our partners to support the emirate’s dynamic business community through impactful initiatives, programmes, and services.”