UAE offers incentives to attract digital companies under new FDI programme

News Desk
July 07, 2022

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates is cutting red tape to make it easier and quicker for digital companies to incorporate, the latest economic policy announcement as the government seeks to further...

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DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates is cutting red tape to make it easier and quicker for digital companies to incorporate, the latest economic policy announcement as the government seeks to further diversify the economy away from oil revenues.

Trade minister Thani Al Zeyoudi, flanked by executives from many state-linked entities, on Wednesday announced the changes that include better access to the financial and banking system.

"We want to show digitally enabled companies from Europe, Asia, the Americas, that the UAE is the world's best place to live, work, invest and scale," the minister told reporters, setting a target for 300 digital companies to incorporate within a year.

Those setting up in the UAE, home to financial centre Dubai and oil-rich Abu Dhabi, would have visas issued sooner and be offered attractive commercial and residential leases, he said.

As other governments step up national efforts to increase renewable energy sources and move away from fossil fuels, the UAE is rolling out a series of initiatives to double the economy to $816 billion by 2030.

"We want to show that we are here to help; from commercial licences and work visas, to opening bank accounts, finding office space and the perfect place to live," Al Zeyoudi said.

Some company executives complain about the bureaucracy involved in setting up a business, including in hiring international staff in a country where citizens are a minority.

Still, the UAE's Dubai has established itself as the region's premier business hub and is already home to many multinational corporations and international businesses.

But regional competition has intensified as Saudi Arabia takes steps to remould itself as a leading financial

and tourism centre under the leadership of de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, challenging Dubai's dominance.

"We're moving from a regional hub to a global hub," Al Zeyoudi said. "We're competing with the big, big boys now."

The UAE was ranked first in the Arab world and 19th globally in terms of FDI inflows, according to the World Investment Report 2022 issued by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) in June. The country attracted $20.7 billion worth of FDI last year, up 4 percent from 2020.

The UAE was ranked 17th globally in terms of FDI outflows that totalled $22.5 billion in 2021, a 19 percent increase on the previous year, the Unctad report said.

“We want to be one of the top 10 countries globally to attract FDI, so that overall KPI has been already set and all these initiatives are contributing to [its] achievement,” Al Zeyoudi said.

The UAE, the Middle East's business and finance centre, is already home to several major multinational companies. It is seeking to attract technology entrepreneurs and start-ups from across the world as part of efforts to develop its future economy.

As part of its latest initiative, the Ministry of Economy signed partnerships with seven entities in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to convince digital companies to establish offices or headquarters in the UAE.



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