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Over the past 10 years, FDI inflows into the country have grown by 116 per cent. Image Credit: Dubai Media Office

Abu Dhabi: Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into the UAE reached nearly Dh76 billion (USD 20.7 billion) in 2021, a 3.9 per cent growth compared to 2020 levels, the Ministry of Economy said on Wednesday.

As a result, the total FDI balance in the country touched nearly Dh630 billion by the end of 2021, a 13.7 per cent growth over the year-ago period. Over the past 10 years, FDI inflows into the country have grown by 116 per cent, while the total balance of those investments during the same period grew by 113 per cent, the ministry added.

Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri, UAE Minister of Economy, said the inflows prove the strength and flexibility of the country’s economy and the attractiveness of its business and investment environment.

“This result is a natural outcome of the pioneering measures and initiatives implemented by the UAE. These policies align with a new economic model that is more flexible and sustainable, with more openness to global markets, and are also in line with future economic trends and emerging technologies. The most prominent among them is the granting of 100 per cent free and full foreign ownership of projects and investments in all economic sectors, with the exception of a limited number of activities with a strategic impact,” he said.

“Another notable initiative is the launch of the ‘Projects of the 50,’ which include several strategic and qualitative initiatives to attract pioneering projects and talents.”

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Outward FDIs

Meanwhile, the UAE’s outward FDI flows reached nearly Dh82.6 billion in 2021, with an annual growth of 19.1 per cent. They grew by 789 per cent over the past 10 years while UAE’s investments in foreign markets reached nearly Dh830.5 billion at the end of 2021, an 11.1 per cent growth compared to the end of 2020.

Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, underlined that the position occupied by the UAE in the global indicators for attracting and exporting FDI the result of a clear vision adopted by the UAE’s leadership to enhance the country’s position as a major hub on the global investment landscape.

Improving ranking

In terms of its ability to attract FDI, the UAE advanced by nine ranks in 2020 compared to 2019 and ranked 15th globally. At the same time, it advanced six positions globally in terms of outward FDI flows to rank first in the Arab world and 13 globally, according to UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2021.

The UAE also ranked first in the Arab world and 15th globally in the Kearney’s FDI Confidence Index for the year 2021, advancing four places compared to the year 2020, thus outperforming a number of major global economies such as Singapore, Australia, Portugal, Denmark, Ireland, Brazil and Finland in the general ranking of the index.