Stock Dubai skyline tourism hotel
The sector’s estimated value of FDI capital flows topped Dh4.9 billion in 2021. Image Credit: WAM

Dubai consolidated its status as a global cultural hub and investment destination, ranking first in the MENA region and second in the world in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) in the cultural and creative industries (CCI) in 2021, it was announced on Sunday.

The emirate attracted 233 new projects in the sector, surpassing other major cities such as New York, Singapore and Berlin.

The Dubai FDI Monitor report was based on data from the Financial Times’ ‘fDi Markets,’ a leading data source on greenfield FDI projects.

The sector’s estimated value of FDI capital flows topped Dh4.9 billion in 2021, and has touched Dh50.9 billion across 787 projects in the five-year period from 2017 to 2021, revealed Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and member of the Dubai Council.

In terms of the number of new jobs in the creative economy, Dubai held on to its top rank regionally and fourth globally with 6,204 new jobs created from FDI.

“These results reflect the maturity and stability of the investment environment in the emirate’s creative economy. Dubai has created outstanding FDI opportunities in the sector by building a robust ecosystem and an advanced business-enabling infrastructure for creative entrepreneurs.”

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A magnet for FDI

According to the Dubai FDI Monitor report, FDI projects during 2017-21 created 32,542 new jobs. Dubai ranks fifth globally in terms of projects, eighth in terms of FDI capital flows into the creative economy, and fourth in terms of jobs created during the past five years, data from Financial Times Ltd ‘fDi Markets’ shows.

“Dubai’s success in continuously enhancing the well-being of its citizens, residents, and visitors and elevating the quality of services provided to them has raised the global creative community’s confidence in the emirate and made it a preferred global business, lifestyle, and entertainment destination,” Sheikha Latifa said.

According to data, greenfield FDI accounted for 71 per cent of the total FDI projects in Dubai’s cultural and creative industries in 2021, followed by mergers and acquisitions projects (12 per cent), reinvestment FDI projects (9 per cent), new forms of investments (5 per cent) and joint venture (2 per cent).

Futuristic global hub

“2021 witnessed increased inflows of FDI capital into Dubai’s creative economy despite the pandemic, which reflects the emirate’s flexibility and readiness to face all challenges, nurture talent and help businesses maintain their stability, sustainability and competitiveness,” Hala Badri, Director General of Dubai Culture, said.

“At Dubai Culture, we continue to work to enhance Dubai’s position on the global creative economy map and support and attract talent by developing mechanisms, strategies, legislative frameworks, regulations and policies that ensure ease of doing business in creative fields. We also continue to explore partnerships with government, semi-government and private entities, experts, consultants, and creative sector representatives to create new opportunities that ensure prosperity for all. We endeavour to consolidate the emirate’s position as a global destination for investment in the cultural and creative industries.”