DUBAI: H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, revealed that Dubai has achieved the top ranking globally in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2021, with a record number of 418 greenfield FDI projects.
Sheikh Hamdan expressed his gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, for his exceptional leadership and attributed Dubai's remarkable achievements and global rankings to His Highness's farsighted vision.
Unveiling the annual 'DUBAI FDI Results and Rankings Highlights Report 2021', published by Dubai Investment Development Agency (Dubai FDI), an agency of the Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), Sheikh Hamdan stated, "Dubai's rise as the world's top ranked destination for foreign direct investment has been driven by the visionary leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. Under His Highness's directives, Dubai has created a stable, sustainable economic environment and a vibrant business ecosystem for companies and entrepreneurs to launch new ventures, tap new opportunities and expand their business both in the country and beyond its borders. Over the years, Dubai has also demonstrated its resilience to global economic fluctuations, earning the confidence of global investors, and enhancing its reputation as one of the world's leading lifestyle and business destinations.
"His Highness's vision fostered strong public–private partnerships that created a unique collaborative model for rapid sustainable development and led to the establishment of growth-friendly regulations and business-enabling services. Under his leadership, Dubai's government departments, free zones, and private sector partners combined their strengths to create a fertile ground for talent, enterprise, and investment in the emirate. As the winds of change sweep the world, foreign investors continue to gravitate to Dubai because of the supportive platform it has created for companies of all sizes to innovate, develop future-oriented technologies and add value to the economy."
The annual 'DUBAI FDI Results and Rankings Highlights Report 2021' ranked Dubai first globally in attracting greenfield FDI projects in 2021, up from the third position last year, with a staggering 418 greenfield FDI projects. The report was based on data from the Financial Times Ltd. 'fDi Markets', the world's leading source of data on greenfield FDI projects.
Moreover, 'fDi Markets' data for the year 2021 showed that Dubai continued to maintain and improve on its lead position across key FDI attraction metrics, ranking first in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA), and third globally, up from fourth place last year, in FDI capital inflows. In Reinvestment FDI projects, Dubai ranked first in the MENA region and third globally, (up from fourth place last year), and seventh globally, (up from eleventh-place last year), in FDI capital inflows. As for FDI job creation, Dubai ranked first in the MENA region and fifth globally, up from the sixth-place last year.
The 'DUBAI FDI Results and Rankings Highlights Report 2021' is based on ‘Dubai FDI Monitor,' which tracks, validates, and provides analysis on all types of FDI projects into Dubai, including greenfield FDI projects, data on FDI Reinvestment projects, Mergers and Acquisitions, Joint-Ventures, and New Forms of Investments (NFIs), along with the recently added Venture Capital (VC) Backed FDI. The report revealed significant growth in all key FDI indicators compared to the previous year, where the estimated value of FDI capital flows into Dubai exceeded AED26 billion from a total of 618 announced FDI projects in 2021, with a growth rate of 5.5 percent compared to 2020. Both FDI projects and FDI job creation witnessed a significant increase of 36 percent in 2021 compared to 2020, with an estimated 24,868 jobs in 2021, compared to 18,325 jobs in the previous year.
Helal Al Marri, Director-General of the Department of Economy and Tourism in Dubai, stressed that Dubai's top global ranking in the vital economic indicator of FDI attraction has been made possible by the Dubai leadership's efforts to promote public-private sector partnerships, which have become a key driver of the emirate's sustainable development.
Al Marri said, "Dubai's remarkable performance in FDI attraction in 2021 reflects the confidence of investors, multinational companies, start-ups and global talents in the investment and business environment in Dubai, notably the emirate's success in overcoming the impact of the recent global health and economic challenges, while promoting economic growth and creating new opportunities in the future economy. The remarkable success of Expo 2020 Dubai, the largest event in the history of the World Expo, which saw the participation of 192 countries and more than 24 million visitors, and its enduring impact on facilitating varied trade and business partnerships, which are major drivers of economic recovery and growth globally, is a testament to our leadership's commitment to make Dubai the preferred global destination to work, live, visit and invest."
Al Marri added, "The year 2021 witnessed the largest legislative transformation in the history of the UAE, with over 50 laws in all fields updated and reformed, paving the way for the adoption of new policies and regulations that will further enable the economy in Dubai to keep pace with global developments and sustain its leading position in future."
Al Marri pointed out that Dubai attracted 43 Headquarters (HQ) FDI projects in 2021, leading regionally in this category and ranking second globally behind Singapore, surpassing major cities such as London and New York, in hosting global and regional headquarters of international companies. Dubai also ranked third globally in terms of HQ FDI capital flows, which amounted to AED2.8 billion, according to data from 'fDi Markets.' "These achievements reaffirm the strength and strategic advantages of the highly developed infrastructure of specialised free zones in Dubai and the emirate's pioneering initiatives in adopting legislations to encourage and facilitate investment in the future economy in line with its ambitious strategy to lead the digital economy," Al Marri concluded.
Fahad Al Gergawi, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Investment Development Agency, (Dubai FDI), said, "Dubai's regional and global pre-eminence in FDI attraction indicators is the fruit of the vision and guidance of the leadership, which manifested in setting a clear goal in the Dubai Plan 2021 to make the emirate the preferred global FDI destination, and laying strong foundations for the emirate's economy, which has proven its efficiency, resilience, stability and sustainability time and again despite global challenges."
Al Gergawi pointed out that Dubai's rise to the top position globally in attracting greenfield FDI projects in 2021 is an unprecedented achievement as the city surpassed London and Singapore for the first time with a remarkable lead of over 50 FDI projects.
"Dubai has successfully attracted a record share of the total greenfield FDI projects globally for the second year in a row. The share of greenfield FDI projects attracted into Dubai exceeded the two percent barrier for the first time in 2020 with 2.1 percent, and reached a new high of 2.8 percent share in 2021," Al Gergawi added.
"Sustained FDI accomplishments and rankings despite the economic changes and challenges the world has witnessed in the past few years have demonstrated the strong fundamentals of the investment environment in Dubai. It will also accelerate the transition from bridging gaps and applying best practices to a new mindset of close cooperation with global investors and partnerships with FDI source countries. Dubai today has emerged as a role model for best practices in FDI attraction and facilitation, and aftercare services," Al Gergawi said.
In another testament to Dubai's ever-evolving investment environment, the emirate ranked first in MENA and tenth globally in Global Venture Capital FDI Projects, according to the 'Global Venture Capital FDI Ranking 2022' report published by 'fDi Intelligence' based on data gathered during 2003-2021. Further data from 'Dubai FDI Monitor,' supported by MAGNiTT, revealed that 84 Dubai-based startups successfully attracted Venture Capital (VC) Backed FDI worth AED2.34 billion in 2021.
"Dubai is leading a global dialogue on the future of Impact FDI in collaboration with international associations and multilateral organisations in the FDI segment. This initiative has helped enhance Dubai's future readiness for new trends shaping investor decisions while shining the spotlight on Dubai's mature ecosystem that supports local and global startups and attracts FDI into innovation and sustainability," Al Gergawi added.