A new report by the Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah) which offers key insights into the factors driving high investor confidence in the emirate’s diversified economy and its continued appeal as an attractive destination for foreign direct investment (FDI) has been hailed by high-level officials in both the public and private sectors of the emirate.
The report, titled ‘FDI Future Trends & Sector Potential’, outlines the robust business-friendly policies in the emirate, its future-ready infrastructure and high innovation levels as being pivotal to the emirate’s ability to overcome sudden shifts in the financial and economic landscape as witnessed during the pandemic.
The report has also identified seven high-potential sectors that are today charting the post-pandemic growth of Sharjah, and which are boosting its competitiveness as a knowledge-based economy.
Agile and responsive
Commenting on Sharjah’s strong economic position that is raising the emirate’s global profile and reinforcing its status as a prominent financial and business hub in the region, Sheikh Fahim bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman, Department of Government Relations, said: “Sharjah’s agility and quick responsiveness in implementing innovative strategies to accelerate growth during the pandemic have yielded sustainable results in the form of innovative workflows, development of advanced management tools, adoption of a remote work culture, and led to the scaling up of essential human resources skills, especially for staff of communication and IT departments.”
Sultan Abdullah bin Hadda Al Suwaidi, Chairman of Sharjah Economic Development Department, said: “Sharjah is working to stimulate various economic sectors, especially the new sectors in the knowledge-based and digital economy, where various sectors are witnessing a large influx of investments. He added that Sharjah looks forward to attract more investments in various fields by encouraging national companies.
He pointed out that the country in general and Sharjah in particular are characterised by a stable investment, economic, and political environment that is able to continue economic growth despite the recessions in the global economy through different periods.
Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, commented: “The sustained growth across the emirate during the pandemic facilitated our strong efforts in delivering and keeping pace with Sharjah’s transformation into a unique tourist, cultural and family destination.”
Underlining the efforts of Sharjah Media City (Shams) to further enhance the emirate’s competitiveness, Dr. Khaled Al Midfa, Chairman, commented: “The media is an important economic sector that plays a pivotal role in guiding public opinion. Following the onset of COVID-19, the media sector has shifted focus from large corporations to a new generation of individual content creators. As a leading free zone entity, we are adapting to the changing environment, nurturing new dynamic ideas to support entrepreneurs, and positioning the media sector at the core of the comprehensive economic system in Sharjah and the UAE.”
Citing the growing importance of tech-driven services across sectors, Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO, Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP), said: “Sharjah aims to enhance the scope of vocational training, with a clear-cut focus on smart industries. We are also keen on merging technology with education by utilising the potential of various emerging technologies to bring mixed reality applications to learning.”
Outlining potential opportunities to support Sharjah’s clean energy vision, Khaled Al Huraimel, Group CEO, Bee’ah, said: “Innovations in waste management are supporting the emirate’s drive towards a zero-waste and carbon-neutral future and are being implemented through recycling, material recovery using artificial intelligence, and innovative waste-to-energy solutions where a low carbon development pathway is attained by transforming non-recyclable waste into energy.”
Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, CEO, Expo Centre Sharjah, pointed out that the economic fallout during the pandemic revealed the importance of the exhibitions industry as a strategic tool for the recovery and renewal of vital economic sectors, given its multi-sector impact, especially in the fields of retail, trade, tourism, and hospitality, amongst others. “Expo Centre Sharjah is keen to accelerate efforts to regain the momentum of the exhibitions and conference sector in Sharjah and to collectively engage with and stimulate the broad-based recovery of the commercial and industrial sectors,” he said.
Commenting on Sharjah’s thriving entrepreneurship ecosystem that is fueling the aspirations of changemakers in high-impact sectors, Najla Al Midfa, CEO, Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa), said: “One of our core beliefs at Sheraa is that entrepreneurs are a force for lasting impact and positive change, and this was reinforced during the pandemic. We witnessed startups reimagine the world and develop solutions that fueled the nation’s post-Covid recovery. Startups are the backbone of a diversified and resilient economy, and Sharjah is the home of innovative founders creating the jobs of the future.”
Highlighting the ongoing digital transformations in the healthcare sector, Dr. Abdul Aziz Al Muhairi, Director, Sharjah Health Authority, said: “The powerful role of technological advancements in the healthcare sector and its impact on economies worldwide was in the global spotlight during the pandemic. New technology has an increasingly vital role in the healthcare sector, and we are open to investors interested in partnering with us to grow this sector.”
Abdulaziz Shattaf, Assistant Director General for the Communication and Business Sector, Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), outlined upcoming plans to enhance the scope and reach of the commercial events and activities organised by the entity through a clear-cut marketing strategy. He said: “This strategy aims to open effective communication channels between shopping centres and all stakeholders including consumers and will turn the spotlight on the distinctive advantages that make Sharjah one of the most prominent tourist and commercial destinations, regionally and globally.”
Ahmed Alkhoshaibi, Group CEO of Arada, said: “In the post-pandemic period, Sharjah’s real estate sector has witnessed increased interest amongst local and international investors, who are drawn to the world-class integrated communities steadily reshaping the emirate into a truly global destination for residents, workers, and visitors.”
Spotlighting innovations in the transport and logistics sector that have positioned Sharjah as an international trade hub, Charles Menkhorst, CEO, Gulftainer, said: “What Sharjah needs now is a smaller high-quality, innovative gateway port for industry-specific cargo capabilities like e-commerce, pharmaceuticals, and temperature-controlled goods that are coming into Sharjah and the northern region.”