Businesses and investors in key financial and industrial centres across Europe got an overview of the existing and emerging economic opportunities in Dubai as the Dubai Investment Development Agency (Dubai FDI), an agency of the Department of Economic Development (DED), toured the continent.
The Dubai FDI delegation, led by Ibrahim Ahli, Director of Investment Promotion Department at Dubai FDI, interacted with senior business executives, government officials and representatives of industry associations in cities across Portugal, UK, Italy and Germany during their visit.
“The investment landscape in Dubai has seen a major changes in recent years – there is more emphasis on knowledge-based industries, particularly in acquiring new capabilities in such sectors, and ease of doing business has improved remarkably. Dubai FDI has sharpened its focus on conveying the new strengths of Dubai to investors worldwide,” said Ahli.
In Portugal, the delegation started its tour by addressing 90 large manufacturing firms in the industrial belt of Aveiro, with the support of the Association of Industries in the District of Aveiro (Aida). B2B meetings were also conducted with 30 companies after they showed interest in further learning about the business potential in Dubai.
“Aida has already brought 10 companies to the Big Five exhibition in Dubai. We had similar interactions with businesses in the Portuguese capital Lisbon too with support from the Embassy of Portugal in the UAE and the Portugal Global Trade and Investment Agency (AICEP). B2B meetings were conducted with 40 companies in Lisbon,” Ahli said.
The delegation also met with the Portuguese Minister of Health and AICEP Executive Director Pedro Ortigao Correia. Ahli said the interactions revealed a high level of interest among Portuguese officials and industries in doing business with the GCC, Middle East and Africa.
“Infarmed, the umbrella association of Portugal’s renowned pharmaceutical sector has agreed to send a delegation to the Arab Health in Dubai. They are keen on Emirates adding more frequencies to the present daily flights to Lisbon to increase cargo capacity,” Ahli said.
The UK roadshow covered four cities – London, Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh. In each city, Dubai FDI held workshop sessions, presentations and face-to-face meetings. “Senior executives from 205 companies met us in the UK, expressing interest in trading in and through Dubai. We will follow up on these leads with the support of our partners,” stated Ahli.
The UKTI (UK Trade & Investment), Middle East Association (MEA) and Scottish Development International (SDI Edinburgh) supported Dubai FDI’s UK itinerary along with the DTCM (Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing) office in London and The Links Group.
In Italy too, Dubai FDI targeted four cities – Milan, Florence, Vicenza and Rome – following up on its successful tour of the country in 2013. In Venice 70 companies from the Veneto region representing the logistics, retail, fashion, information & communications technology, construction, e-commerce and green technology sectors attended a presentation by Dubai FDI.
“We had four full days of meetings with companies in Italy, arranged by our partner Diacron and UniCredit Bank, the leading bank in Italy based on the capabilities of each company and its interest in doing business in Dubai. The firms were particularly interested in setting up business in Dubai and the attractions for their respective sector to operate in the emirate,” Ahli said.
Marino Finozzi, Veneto’s Regional Minister for Tourism and External Trade, who was recently in Dubai to promote tourism to the region, held discussions with the Dubai FDI delegation. The delegation also addressed 80 Italian business representatives in a session organised in partnership with the Industrial & Technological Pole Venice (ITP Venice).
The German roadshow took Dubai FDI to five leading cities – Berlin, Stuttgart, Hanover, Frankfurt and Munich – where it addressed industrial and manufacturing companies in partnership with AHK, the German-Emirates Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“In Germany our focus was on connecting with manufacturing and heavy industries in the country looking to expand. Throughout our interactions across Europe we were able to provide meaningful information on doing business in Dubai and the advantages of the emirate in linking businesses to fast growing markets in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia,” concluded Ahli.