Dubai Chamber membership tops 245,000 in 2019 amid smart transformation push

18,260 new member companies joined Dubai Chamber in 2019, marking a year-over-year increase of 28%

HE Hamad Buamim during the annual media briefing

HE Hamad Buamim during the annual media briefing

  • Dubai Chamber achieved 96% smart transformation of core services resulting in AED 50 million in cost savings
  • HE Buamim: 2019 performance figures reflect Dubai Chamber’s proactive approach to keeping pace with the evolving needs of Dubai’s maturing business community
  • As an Official Partner, Dubai Chamber will host over 33 business events during Expo 2020 Dubai, attracting over 20,000 government and business leaders from around the world

Dubai, UAE:  A total of 18,260 new member companies joined Dubai Chamber in 2019, marking a year-over-year increase of 28%, while its total membership rose 9% over the same period, the non-profit public organisation revealed during its annual media briefing held earlier today.

Smart transformation

Dubai Chamber achieved 96% smart transformation of its core services in 2019 as it processed nearly 1 million transactions electronically during the year. As a result of its smart transformation push, the Chamber recorded an 81% drop in visits to its branches last year.

Between 2016 and 2019, Dubai Chamber implemented 90% of its Dubai Paperless Strategy plans and saved 23 million papers, resulting in AED 50 million in cost savings. Following the introduction of smart attestation services in the first quarter of 2020, the Chamber expects its smart transformation rate to increase further to 98%.

Trade documentation and performance

Over 778,000 Certificates of Origin were issued by Dubai Chamber in 2019. The number of attestations increased slightly to 18,832 last year. A total of 5,784 ATA Carnets were issued and received in 2019, while the value of goods covered by these documents surged 78% to reach AED 5.7 billion in 2019. In addition, the value of Dubai Chamber member exports reached AED 226 billion.

International outreach and expansion

The number of international delegations received by Dubai Chamber increased 33% percent year-over-year in 2019 to 2,456 and 37 countries were represented by visiting delegations. The Chamber held meetings with over 4,596 visiting delegates in 2019, up 31% from 2018.

Meanwhile, 111 trade missions and outbound delegations were organised by Dubai Chamber and its 11 representative offices. Delegations led by Dubai Chamber participated in 109 international events in 2019, and visited 34 countries and 69 cities during the year. The Chamber international offices held 2,096 meetings with investors and companies during the same year.

International expansion was a top priority for Dubai Chamber in 2019 as it opened new representative offices in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Shenzhen, China in 2019. Currently, the Chamber operates 11 offices across Africa, Eurasia and Latin America, and plans were announced last year open a new office in Mexico in the near future.

Business events and networking

Dubai Chamber organised and supported 58 business forums and events in 2019, which were attended by 7,721 participants (up from 54 business events and 6,217 attendees in 2018). A total of 1,077 bilateral business meetings were held in 2019, marking an increase of 49% from 724 meetings in 2018.

Among the most high-profile events were the 3rd Global Business Forum Latin America 2019 in Panama, the 5th Global Business Forum Africa 2019 in Dubai, 2nd Dubai Association Conference, MRM Business Awards, World Chambers Congress 2019 and The Retail Summit 2019.

Key achievements and activities

H.E. Hamad Buamim, President & CEO of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, described 2019 as a pivotal year for the Chamber marked by membership growth, international expansion, new initiatives, achievements and milestones which accelerated Dubai’s smart transformation and enhanced its proactive approach to keeping pace with the evolving needs of Dubai’s maturing business community.

Dubai’s position as a global business hub has strengthened over the last year, H.E. Buamim explained, as reflected in the higher number of international delegations received by the Chamber, which he says reflects a growing interest among foreign investors and companies who are keen to explore business opportunities in the emirate.

Business advocacy

H.E. Buamim highlighted the active role played by Dubai Chamber in developing and implementing initiatives to support the Dubai stimulus plans, enhance economic competitiveness and improve ease of doing business in Dubai. In 2019, Dubai Chamber stepped up its business advocacy efforts with the launch of the International Advisory Council, a council joined by Fortune 500 companies in Dubai, which supports the Chamber as it works with the newly formed Dubai Council to boost business activity in Dubai.

On a national level, Dubai Chamber participated in meetings where it provided members of business groups and business councils a platform to share their feedback and views on market conditions. As a result of these meetings, the Chamber reviewed several government service fees and made recommendations to reduce some existing fees that apply to businesses in the UAE.

The Dubai Chamber Business Advocacy Committee reviewed 42 drafts throughout its 45 meetings and 24 meetings held by its sub-committee in 2019. The Committee’s recommendations and findings are sent to the Supreme Legislation Committee in the Emirate of Dubai.

2020 Agenda and Expo 2020 Dubai

As an Official Expo 2020 Dubai Partner, Dubai Chamber will leverage the Expo platform to expand Dubai’s trade links with other countries around the world and build new bridges of cooperation between different business communities. The Chamber will host 33 business forums and events during Expo 2020 Dubai that are expected to attract over 20,000 government and business leaders from around the world.

Among these events are 30 country focus briefings exploring investment opportunities in Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Zambia, Rwanda, Benin, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, South Africa, South Sudan, Ghana, Mozambique, New Zealand, Fiji, Vietnam, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Macedonia, Albania, Cyprus, Mexico, Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico and Paraguay,

The largest events to be organised by Dubai Chamber at Expo 2020 Dubai are the inaugural Global Business Forum ASEAN (2020), the next editions of GBF Africa and GBF Latin America (2021) and the World Chambers Congress 2021, while the Chamber will also host an on-site Business Connect Centre networking facility.

Support for startups

Dubai Startup Hub, an initiative of Dubai Chamber, supported over 7,000 startups through its initiatives, programmes and events. The Co-Founder Dubai programme and a revamped Market Access programme were launched in 2019 – giving startups access to development and growth opportunities, while the Dubai Smartpreneur Competition received 256 submissions in its fourth cycle in 2019, attracting business ideas in the areas of blockchain technology, artificial intelligence and digital transformation.

To promote Dubai as a startup destination, Dubai Startup Hub engaged with startup communities through several roadshows. More than 25 startup ecosystems, including Moscow and India, were covered in 2019. In addition, 16 Dubai Startup Hub members were given an opportunity to exhibit at GITEX Future Stars 2019 where they met with potential investors and business partners.

Legal and arbitration services

Dubai Chamber’s legal services department received 430 cases in 2019, of which 121 cases were settled. The value of settled mediation cases reached approximately AED 23.1 million and the value of handled mediation cases reached over AED 62 million.

The legal services department hosted workshops and events at the Chamber which raised awareness on a wide range of legal topics and issues impacting the business community such as Practical Approaches to Successful Franchising, the UAE's Bankruptcy Law to Documentary Credits Operations, the UAE Labour Law and the UAE VAT Law.

The Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC), an initiative of Dubai Chamber providing impartial and efficient administration to commercial disputes, received 207 cases in 2019. DIAC’s new board of trustees was formed by a decree of HH Sheikh Mohammed. Board of trustees joined by legal experts and business leaders. The board outlined new plans and efforts to boost Dubai’s position as a global centre for commercial arbitration.

Dubai Association Centre

Dubai Association Centre (DAC) granted 5 new licenses to associations setting up in Dubai in 2019, bring the total number of DAC-licensed associations to 65. The Centre hosted the 2nd Dubai Association Conference and opened its new offices in Dubai.

CSR and sustainability

Dubai Chamber’s Centre for Responsible Business organised a total of 30 events  in 2019 attended by 4,442 participants representing 637 companies. Over 1,200 employee volunteers participated in Dubai Chamber’s Give & Gain Week 2019, dedicating 4,700 hours and benefitting 1,200 individuals in the process.

The University of Dubai, an initiative of Dubai Chamber, reached another milestone as it became the first LEED certified net-zero energy building in region and achieved LEED Platinum Certification under the Existing Building Operation and Maintenance category. Around AED 5.4 million was invested by Dubai Chamber into a solar project to secure the certifications – an investment that is expected to save the university AED 1.2 million during the first year of the project’s operation.


Established in 1965, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry is a non-profit public entity, whose mission is to represent, support and protect the interests of the business community in Dubai by creating a favourable business environment, supporting the development of business, and by promoting Dubai as an international business hub.

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Ruba Abdel Halim
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© Press Release 2020

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