The United Arab Emirates is looking for foreign direct investment (FDI) across a broader range of industries, the Ministry of Economy has said.
Speaking to Zawya on the sidelines of the Sharjah FDI Forum on Monday, Juma Al Kait, an assistant under-secretary for foreign trade affairs in the UAE’s Ministry of Economy, said that the emirates is targeting investments in a more diverse range of sectors over the next few years. Inflows in recent years have focussed on the real estate and retail sectors.
“For the coming period, we expect there will be more diversity in sectors that the country aims to empower… such as health, education, space, water, technology and transportation. Transportation is very important for the future,” he said.
The UAE has invested billions of dollars in transportation-related projects such as Etihad Rail, the Dubai Metro and the Dubai tram system. There are also two competing Hyperloop systems being developed – a Hyperloop TT system on the Abu Dhabi-Dubai border and a Virgin Hyperloop One system in which Dubai ports operator DP World has a stake.
Work on Hyperloop TT’s first leg at Aldar Properties’ Alghadeer masterplanned community could begin as soon as next year, the firm recently said.
Asked if investments in those sectors are targeted in the coming 1-2 years, Al Kait said: “Yes, those are our targeted areas for the coming period.”
He added: “Overall we seek to raise the foreign investments coming to the state to higher rates. Today we are talking about 7.8 percent, we seek to reach 15 percent in the few coming years.”
The UAE’s Minister of Economy Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori said during a press conference last month that he expects FDI inflows into the country to reach between $11 billion-$11.5 billion in 2018.
An $11 billion figure would represent a 5.8 percent increase on foreign direct investment from 2017. An $11.5 billion figure would represent an increase of 10.6 percent.
Last year, the emirate’s FDI stood at $10.4 billion, a 7.8 percent increase on 2016.
“We are not targeting a specific country, but we are targeting what is special in this country… such as countries that are pioneers in the fields of researches, innovation, clean and renewable energy and those with experience in technology,” Al Kait said.
He said the biggest investors are from the United Kingdom, India, the United States and France, adding that the investments “are mostly in certain areas such as real estate, retail and banking. Those are the sectors that are attracting investors at the current stage”.
(Reporting by Yasmine Saleh; Editing by Michael Fahy)
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