According to Dubai FDI Monitor, a total of 1,173 FDI projects were announced in Dubai last year. Image Credit: Dubai Media Office

Dubai retained its No. 1 spot globally for attracting greenfield FDI projects in 2022, further reinforcing its position as the world’s top foreign direct investment hub, according to the latest data from the 2022 Financial Times ‘fDi Markets’ report.

Retaining its top spot for a second successive year, Dubai achieved 89.5 per cent year-on-year growth in total announced FDI projects in 2022, while total FDI capital surged 80.3 per cent over the same period.

Data also revealed that the total estimated FDI capital flowing into Dubai in 2022 was Dh47 billion compared to Dh26.07 billion in 2021.

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Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai said: “Dubai’s ability to secure the No. 1 global ranking for greenfield FDI projects for the second year in a row demonstrates its ability to sustain its compelling investment value proposition even at a time when the worldwide economy is facing headwinds.

“Over the years, Dubai has forged dynamic partnerships with global investors to accelerate innovation and create enduring economic value. Dubai leads the world in attracting FDI in a wide range of industries, especially future-oriented sectors, a fact that is a testament to the strategic vision articulated in the Dubai Economic Agenda D33, which aims to consolidate Dubai’s position as one of the world’s top urban economies.”

The emirate ranked first in attracting FDI projects into tourism, business services, financial services, transport and warehousing, consumer products, and software & IT services sectors. Dubai also emerged as the 2022 world leader in attracting FDI projects in the creative industries cluster, in research and development projects, and in attracting FDI project headquarters by hosting international companies’ global and regional headquarters.

Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, said: “The growth of the city’s share in global greenfield FDI projects clearly indicates our strategy’s effectiveness and also highlights the city’s position as the capital of the global digital economy and a hub for innovation and technology, further ensuring that increasing FDI inflow remains a top priority and key goal of the D33 Agenda.”

Overall in 2022, Dubai ranked seventh globally in attracting greenfield FDI capital and fifth globally in FDI jobs. From a MENA perspective, Dubai ranked second in FDI capital and first in FDI jobs. Compared to 2021, greenfield FDI (wholly owned) and new forms of investments increased by 6 per cent in 2022.

The emirate’s share in attracting global greenfield FDI projects reached 4 per cent, an increase of 1.9 per cent compared to 2021, with a record 837 projects enabling the city to achieve the highest growth in global shares across the past seven years. Dubai attracted a total of 1,173 FDI projects in 2022.

Dubai FDI Monitor’s data also revealed that an estimated 38,447 jobs were created in Dubai in 2022 compared to 24,932 jobs in 2021.

The top five source countries for FDI projects accounted for 54 per cent of the total in 2022, split among the US (20 per cent), the UK (13 per cent), India (12 per cent), France (5 per cent), and Switzerland (4 per cent). Additionally, the top five source countries for FDI capital accounted for 72 per cent of the total estimated flows into the emirate in 2022, split among Canada (41 per cent), the UK (12 per cent), the US (11 per cent), India (4 per cent), and Switzerland (4 per cent).

The top five sectors - transportation & warehousing, hotels & tourism, renewable energy, software & IT services, and consumer products - accounted for 76 per cent of the total estimated flows into Dubai and 68 per cent of announced FDI projects — the transportation & warehousing sector led the pack with a dominant 45 per cent share of FDI capital. Dubai FDI Monitor data also revealed that the top five business functions accounted for 78 per cent of total estimated flows into Dubai, while 93 per cent accounted for the total announced FDI projects in 2022. Business services also remained a prominent business function based on FDI projects and FDI capital in 2022.