The UAE will continue to drive foreign direct investment (FDI) capital into the region as investors prefer the emirate due to its business-friendly policies, excellent infrastructure, and structural changes aimed at diversifying the economy, experts say.

Hatem El Safty, CEO of Business Link, said the UAE will attract a major share of $66 billion in potential FDI inflows into the Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan (MENAP) in 2023 as global investors consider the emirate an ideal destination for investment.

Referring to a recent report released by the Institute of International Finance, he said the emirate is expected to attract $22 billion in FDI inflows this year due to its business and visa reforms while the MENAP region is expected to receive $56 billion in FDI inflows.

“We have observed how willingly people invest in the UAE and allowing 100% foreign ownership in businesses is a genius stroke by the government to attract an even more significant number of potential investors,” El Safty said.

The UAE recorded a 116 per cent growth in FDI over the past 10 years, signalling the development and diversification of the economy despite geopolitical tensions, global economic slowdown, and volatile oil prices in international markets.

In 2022, the UAE attracted foreign investments in various sectors. The oil and gas sector account for 59 per cent of the total FDI contributions, followed by 10 per cent in IT and communications as the country is implementing a number of steps to encourage investment in the industrial sector and increase its contribution to Dh300 billion ($81.68 billion) from Dh133 billion within 10 years.

“The growing number of investments reflects global trust in the UAE’s economy. At Business Link, we have particularly noticed an upsurge in e-commerce and IT-related industries since the pandemic hit the global economy two years back," said Faisal Qureshi, Chief of Marketing at Business Link Business Setup Consultants.

The UAE continues to entice global attention in terms of foreign investments and entrepreneurship due to ease in doing business initiatives, consistent economic policies, and business-friendly measures. Investors received several incentives from the government which eliminates the hindrance to the flow of investments. Some of these include:

• 100 per cent company ownership

• Various legal ownerships

• No minimum capital requirements

• Golden Visa eligibility

• 40+ free zone setup options

• No income tax

“We have noticed a spike in business centuries as investors have shown interest in the UAE economy. It is likely that high-net-worth individuals will relocate to the emirate and expand their business operations in the region,” Qureshi said.

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