Ras Al Khaimah: A stable ‘A’ rating from Fitch and Standard & Poor’s, low debt, political and social stability, a high ranking on the World Bank’s ease of business, and strong macroeconomic fundamentals are the ingredients Ras Al Khaimah hopes will attract investors.

His Highness Shaikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qassimi, Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah and Member of the UAE Supreme Council, said the emirate was keen to make doing business easy.

“It was important to me to take Ras Al Khaimah to be part of this successful venture, to become a successful partner in the emirates,” Shaikh Saud said in his opening speech at the first Ras Al Khaimah Finance and Investment Forum at the Rixos Bab Al Bahr hotel.

Juma Mohammad Al Kait, UAE Assistant Undersecretary for Foreign Trade, said foreign direct investment (FDI) into the UAE reached $11 billion (Dh40.4 billion) in 2015, having grown 9.3 per cent annual since 2011, which represented 27.5 per cent of all inflows into the Arab region.

Ras Al Khaimah’s share of the FDI cake in 2015 was $1.05 billion, he said, helping its GDP grow by 5.2 per cent during the year. The UAE as a whole grew 3.8 per cent.

He added that no sector in Ras Al Khaimah contributed more than 20 per cent to GDP.

“From its modest beginning as a fishing, trading and agricultural community, Ras Al Khaimah has emerged as an economically diverse emirate overflowing with potential and guided by a visionary leadership,” he said.

Ramy Jallad, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority, said the emirate was a cost-effective place to do business, with good infrastructure, agility and big enough to take advantages of economies of scale.

“Cost effectiveness, at the end of the day, is really the bottom line that everybody looks at, no matter what you say. Whether it’s the right ecosystem or the wrong ecosystem, people always look at the cost effectiveness of running their own operation,” he said during in a panel on the emirate’s outlook for 2017.

In a later interview, he said the emirate was encouraging firms to look at running their back-office operations in the emirate. He said the emirate was seeing significant growth in firms specialising in global trading, and was keen to grow its manufacturing sector and encourage SMEs. He said there was already a growing body of firms supplying global companies.

“There’s a lot more we can do to encourage growth that is required in the automation field, in the IT spectrum,” he said, “especially when it comes to SMEs, which are always looking for cost-effective solutions.”