Capital targets 9% rise in FDI annually

Delegates attending a panel discussion during Abu Dhabi Economic Forum. (ERIK ARAZAS)

Abu Dhabi plans to raise foreign direct investments by nine per cent annually, which is achievable due to the fall in inflation rates, according to Nasser Ahmed Al Suwaidi, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development.

"The emirate's target is to make FDI account for 23 per cent of GDP by 2030. Abu Dhabi Government is working on many levels to improve the effectiveness of the emirate's business environment and attract foreign investment." Al Suwaidi said in a speech delivered on his behalf by Mohammed Omar Abdullah, DED's Undersecretary, at the opening of the Fourth Abu Dhabi Economic Forum.

The two-day event started at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi yesterday, with hundreds of foreign and local businessmen attending the forum.

"Abu Dhabi presents many facilities to investors, which it seeks to constantly increase. We have reduced the procedures necessary for obtaining business licences, the required documents and the minimum limit for capital to set up a company. In addition, Abu Dhabi has become more open to foreign capital and has developed rules regarding foreign ownership. Foreigners have the right to own 100 per cent of a business in special cases in free zones such as Al Saadiyat Island," Al Suweidi said.

"We are going ahead with more economic reforms and preparing an environment that is attractive for investment by eradicating obstacles. One of the most important things we are doing currently to improve the business environment is setting up a business centre under economic department's umbrella.

"In addition, there is an attempt to create more efficient and effective judicial systems to enhance confidence and facilitate operations," he added.

Al Suweidi said the emirate seeks to make non-oil exports 11 per cent of Abu Dhabi's GDP, which will limit the GDP's fluctuations by reducing the variable oil component. The diversification will also make Abu Dhabi a more attractive destination for investment, he added.

"The indicators related to the emirate's economy, investment growth rates and different sectors have seen big growth over the past few years," he said.

"Nominal GDP grew by 24 per cent in the 2003 to 2008 period and the economy witnessed a transformation due to structural reforms being implemented, which consolidated rapid growth in the non-oil sectors," Al Suweidi said in a statement.

 

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