Dubai attracts AED38.5 billion worth of FDI in 2018

Photo: WAM

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, has expressed his happiness at Dubai’s number one ranking globally among the ‘Top fDi Performers 2018’ and termed the achievement "a precursor to Dubai’s future achievements."

Dubai’s top FDI ranking follows the city being featured among the best performers in reports like the Global Cities of the Future; Digital Economies of the Future; Aerospace Locations of the Future; and top global free zones of the year. The ‘Top fDi Performers 2018,’ published by the Financial Times’ fDi Intelligence magazine is based on data compiled by fDi Markets, the world’s leading online platform that monitors capital flows and new FDI projects around the world, and fDi Benchmark, which identifies the best FDI destinations based on comparison of latest FDI data.

The report highlighted that Dubai has dominated global FDI rankings throughout 2018, followed by London, Paris, Dublin and Singapore, as the leading city globally in foreign direct investment, FDI, in 2018.

Sheikh Hamdan emphasised that the latest achievements revealed in the annual ‘DUBAI FDI Results & Rankings Report 2018’ of the Dubai Investment Development Agency, Dubai FDI, an agency of the Department of Economic Development, DED, in Dubai, reflect global investors’ continued confidence in Dubai’s ability to sustain economic growth, and further boosts its global leadership. The first rank is a precursor to Dubai’s future achievements, he added.

Sheikh Hamdan said, "We are proud to announce the latest results of FDI capital inflows in 2018, which has reached AED38.5 billion, a growth of 41 percent over 2017, taking Dubai to the sixth place from 10th in global capital flows into greenfield projects. Dubai has also attracted 523 FDI projects in 2018, an increase of 43 percent over 2017, elevating the emirate’s global ranking in the number of new investment projects to third from fourth."

He stated that Dubai’s continued achievements in FDI are the result of the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, who laid the foundations for a world-class investment ecosystem in Dubai. FDI plays a central role in the transfer of knowledge and technology as well as in attracting global talent, which are the pillars supporting the emirate in achieving its goals set in the Dubai Plan 2021 and the 50-Year Charter aimed at strengthening Dubai’s position as a pivotal hub in the global economy, said Sheikh Hamdan.

His Highness expressed his appreciation for the concerted efforts that have made the latest achievement possible, particularly the cooperation among government entities, free zones and the business community in Dubai in developing opportunities and new investment projects in various economic sectors, thereby enhancing Dubai’s position as a preferred FDI destination. His Highness also commended the initiatives of Dubai FDI which helped improve the emirate’s investment ecosystem, highlighting the role of ‘Dubai FDI Monitor,’ the FDI open data platform which provides the latest information and data round the clock. "Dubai FDI Monitor is a testament to Dubai’s commitment to enhance competitiveness and transparency of the emirate’s investment ecosystem, using innovative technologies and services to serve the global investor community," His Highness said.

Sami Al Qamzi, Director-General of DED, hailed Dubai’s success in achieving record levels of FDI inflows despite global FDI flows declining by 19 percent in 2018 as reported by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD. He said the achievement reflects the resilience, diversity and competitiveness of Dubai’s economy on a global scale.

He underscored that following the directives of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and Sheikh Hamdan, the emirate has continuously developed its investment ecosystem, offering new strategic advantages for investors and the business community, including developing the emirate's infrastructure and regulatory environment as well as launching a range of incentives to accelerate economic growth. These efforts have contributed to enhancing business competitiveness and investor confidence as key drivers of sustainable economic development in the emirate.

Al Qamzi noted that fDi Benchmark, which identifies the best FDI destinations in the world by comparing FDI data, has clearly identified Dubai’s leading position and strong presence in all areas of investments in 2018. Dubai has been ranked first globally among the top 20 cities for renewable energy investments between 2013-2018 and second globally in the ‘Global Cities of the Future 2018 – 2019’ report in terms of economic potential. Dubai also ranked first among the top FDI cities in the ‘City FDI Performance Index,’ issued for the first time in 2018, which further confirms the success of the Dubai Government’s plans and strategic initiatives in creating investment opportunities in the emirate.

He said that the Eight Principles of Dubai, which places economic diversification on the top of its strategic priorities to create new economic sectors, and the 50-Year Charter launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, further strengthen the sustainability and growth of FDI in the emirate, taking the city to further global prominence.

Al Qamzi said that the ‘DUBAI FDI Results & Rankings Report 2018’ has added a new index which monitors the contribution of FDI to job creation. As per the index, about 25,000 new jobs were created in 2018, an increase of 77 percent compared to 14,065 jobs in 2017, effectively placing Dubai in ninth position globally in job creation through FDI. Recent policies which support the role of investors, innovators, skilled professionals and students in building an innovation and knowledge-based economy for Dubai and the UAE further adds to Dubai’s attractiveness for the world's most promising talent.

Al Qamzi cited medium and high-tech FDI projects being a major tool in job creation, accounting for 28 percent of the jobs added in 2018. Medium and high-tech FDI projects comprise 43 percent of the total FDI projects in 2018 and accounted for 15.6 percent of total capital inflows. The ‘Dubai FDI Monitor’ classifies medium and high-tech FDI projects based on the definition of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD.

Fahad Al Gergawi, CEO of Dubai Investment Development Agency, Dubai FDI, reiterated that the record results achieved by Dubai in 2018 and its leading position among the top FDI destinations globally reflect the vision of the leadership of Dubai and translates the emirate's strategic initiatives into milestones as reflected in the ‘DUBAI FDI Results & Rankings Report 2018.’ He added that it clearly indicates the readiness of Dubai’s investment ecosystem which offers unique investment opportunities and supports the growth and expansion plans of global conglomerates and start-ups. "The results and rankings speak volumes of Dubai’s transformation into a smart and sustainable city and a global hub for talent, innovation and entrepreneurship," he added.

Al Gergawi further noted that Dubai has continued to advance to become the third most attractive location in the world for greenfield FDI projects and also promote the growth of FDI projects classified as New Forms of Investment, NFI. NFI accounted for 28.9 percent of total investments in 2018, compared to 20.7 percent in 2017. He said that the data analysis provided by ‘Dubai FDI Monitor’ reveals the trends that are shaping future growth, while clearly indicating Dubai's success in attracting a large number of small and medium-sized investments with high levels of technology and innovation capacity.

He explained the importance of the growth of NFI, which signifies investors' interest in building strategic partnerships with local companies as well as the great diversity of investment opportunities in Dubai with unique market entry opportunities through multiple partnership models. "NFIs will enhance the emergence of mature domestic companies, development of emerging companies and new business models capable of boosting the transfer of knowledge and technology, attracting new talent and contributing to the transformation of Dubai into a knowledge-based economy," he added.

Al Gergawi said the ‘DUBAI FDI Results & Rankings Report 2018,’ showed that the number of FDI projects rose to 523 in 2018, a 43 percent increase compared to 367 projects in 2017. The report revealed that 63 percent were new projects and 28.9 percent were NFI, 5 percent were re-investment projects, two per cent were joint projects and one per cent mergers and acquisitions. Strategic investment projects comprised 94 percent of total FDI inflows to Dubai in 2018, with 55 percent of the projects introduced in 2018.

He highlighted Dubai FDI’s pioneering efforts in developing strong FDI monitoring capabilities which help to effectively promote Dubai, as well as support investment facilitation and provision of after-care services to investors. The ‘DUBAI FDI Results & Rankings Report 2018’ detailed the most important data and achievements of the emirate based on globally recognised data and rankings sources such as the fDi Markets, fDi Benchmark, as well as the data analysis provided by ‘Dubai FDI Monitor,’ which tracks greenfield projects, new forms of investment projects, reinvestment projects, merger and acquisition projects, joint venture projects and NFI.

In terms of FDI source markets, the ‘DUBAI FDI Results & Rankings Report 2018,’ showed that the United States retained its leading position in FDI capital flows to Dubai with a 37 percent share while India came second with 12 percent , followed by Spain (9 percent ), China (7 percent ) and the UK (5 percent ). Together, all the five countries accounted for 70 percent of total FDI capital inflows and 51 percent of FDI projects into Dubai in 2018.

In terms of top attractive sectors, FDI flows were largely concentrated in the accommodation & food services sectors with 46 percent of total FDI capital, commercial construction (15 percent ), residential buildings construction (8 percent ), arts, entertainment & recreation (5 percent ), and finance & insurance (4 percent ). The top five sectors accounted for 78 percent of all FDI capital and 27 percent of FDI projects into Dubai in 2018. In terms of distribution of FDI projects, the retail and wholesale sector ranked first, gaining 25 percent , while accommodation & food services stood second at 17 percent followed by administration & support services (8 percent ), and software publishers, finance and insurance (6 percent ). The top five sectors account for 62 percent of all FDI projects and 54 percent of FDI capital into Dubai.

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