The Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, inflows into the UAE grew by 2.2 percent in 2016 to US$9 billion from $8.8 billion in 2015, according to the World Investment Report 2017 released by UN Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD, where the UAE is ranked 12th on the list of top countries for FDI for the period from 2017 through 2019, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, has revealed.
"The country is developing well thought-out strategies in line with the National Agenda of the UAE Vision 2021 by aligning efforts and ensuring synergies across all sectors at the federal and local levels in alignment with the directives of our wise leadership," the minister added.
FDI is considered a key enabler for sustainable economic growth on account of its significant role in ensuring cash inflows for mega-sized developmental projects and Despite the decline in global FDI rates in 2016 comparatively with 2015, the foreign investment inflows to the country, according to the report, increased by 2.2 percent to $9 billion against $8.8 billion in 2015, he added.
UNCTAD criteria for assessing FDI sets a threshold of 10 percent of equity ownership to qualify an investor as a foreign direct investor, said the minister, noting that there are myriad foreign investments in the country below this 10 percent equity ownership and that’s why if these investments are calculated, the total FDI in the country would go beyond the $9 billion mark.
He expected more FDIs to the country over the coming five years as a direct result of the mega projects launched in areas of renewable energy and retail industries, adding that the cumulative FDIs to the UAE jumped to $117.9 billion by the end of 2016 from $109 billion by the end of 2015, a growth of 8.2 percent supported by increasing investments in areas of transformational and other heavy industries, including aluminum and petrochemicals, in addition to other sectors, like tourism and aviation.
UAE-bound FDI until the end of 2016 accounted for 16.9 percent of total FDI to Western Asian nations, with UAE claiming 26.5 percent of total FDI to GCC by the end of 2016.
The UAE came second only to Turkey on the list of top countries attracting FDI in West Asia, accounting for 32.3 percent of total FDIs coming to the region during 2016, which are estimated at $27.8 billion, he stated, adding that the UAE comes on top of GCC states on the same list, claiming 50.2 percent of the total FDI, estimated at $17.9 billion during the same year.
The UAE boasts a stable investment-conducive and business-friendly environment supported by resilient infrastructure and robust legislation that woo investors from all over the world, the minister stressed.
With regards to UAE investments aboard, the UAE came on top of Western Asian countries , accounting for 50.9 percent of total foreign investment flows from West Asia to different world countries, the minister said, putting at $15.7 billion the value of UAE investment outflows during 2016.
The report indicated a remarkable increase of 97 percent in the value of mergers completed by UAE companies overseas, rising from $5.87 billion in 2015 to $11.57 billion in 2016, making up to 59.3 percent of total merger operations conducted by companies in West Asia in 2016.