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The Yacht Club and Restaurant at Marina Hamra in Ras Al Khaimah. RAK, and indeed the UAE’s location near the growing markets of Africa, India and China make it a central place in the Arab world. Image Credit: Gulf News archive

Ras Al Khaimah: The emirate will scale down investment abroad and focus instead on home ground, it was announced Tuesday.

The emirate expects to post 12 per cent growth in gross domestic product this year from the current Dh4.3 billion.

"The vision is to address some of the challenges of the economic environment and go beyond that to create better opportunities for our people and investors here," said Shaikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah.

RAK had been venturing abroad over the last couple of years in search of higher investment returns. The RAK Investment Authority, however, is still involved in an Indonesian coal mine venture as "it makes sense", Shaikh Saud pointed out. "It is a good idea and we could look at how to apply the knowledge gained here."

Kyrgyzstan and Bulgaria were also on the list as well as Egypt, Lebanon and India. Investments with the Georgian government in a seaport on the Black Sea kicked off, but Rakeen, the emirate's real estate development arm's Tbilisi Heights mixed-use project looks scaled down.

"We won't invest abroad any longer, but continue with projects under way, including an aluminium plant in India and the port in Georgia," said Dr Khater Massaad, CEO, Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (Rakia).

RAK, and indeed the UAE's location near the growing markets of Africa, India and China make it a central place in the Arab world.

"My job is to develop Ras Al Khaimah and our focus was always on our emirate. So many companies have invested here, they and our own do much better here than elsewhere and this is what investors want to succeed," Shaikh Saud said.

Occupancy

Occupancy at Al Hamra, one of the emirate's free zones, is 90 per cent and its industrial component enjoys 85 per cent. The Al Ghail free zone only started operating last year and already 20 per cent of it has been snapped up by companies from all over the world.

"Investors of all kinds of ethnicities and religions are respected and can feel safe and at home here," Shaikh Saud said.