The UAE also ranked first in West Asia, receiving 54.4% of the total FDI inflows, amounting to $36.5 billion, and first in the MENA region, receiving 40.2% of the total FDI inflows, at $49.4 billion. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: Even as competition builds within the region for foreign investments, the UAE is putting more distance between it and the others. The country is ranked first regionally and ninth worldwide in the Global Competitiveness Report 2021.

It was also ranked first on 22 economic indicators globally in the report issued by the Global Competitiveness Center. The priority for the next 50 years remains “accelerating economic development and unlocking opportunity, especially by encouraging small and medium-sized enterprises and instilling a culture of entrepreneurship throughout the country”.

Global capital and talent

One of the key pillars of the UAE’s ambitions is to attract foreign investments in key sectors, particularly those associated with the knowledge economy and advanced technologies. These would be in Artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, Blockchain, innovative medical technologies, high-speed transportation, augmented virtual reality, self-driving cars and renewable energy - all fields in which the UAE wants to excel in the immediate term.

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The UAE ranked first in the Arab world and 15th globally in terms of its ability to attract foreign direct investment, according to the results of the Global Foreign Direct Investment Report issued by the UN Conference on Trade and Development. It attracted FDI of $19.9 billion in 2020, a growth of 11.24 per cent over 2019, despite having to endure the worst of the pandemic.

The UAE also ranked first in West Asia, receiving 54.4 per cent of the total FDI inflows, amounting to $36.5 billion, and first in the MENA region, receiving 40.2 per cent of the total FDI inflows, at $49.4 billion.

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A Dh3 trillion economy

The UAE Central Bank estimates the economy would restore higher growth rates for the national economy by year-end, with forecasts of 2.5 per cent growth in real GDP terms. And a 3.6 per cent growth in non-oil GDP terms. The government is working with all stakeholders to double the national economy over the next 10 years to reach Dh3 trillion by 2031.

An ideal industrial base

The UAE has become a global and regional headquarters for more than a quarter of the world’s Top 500 companies. It remains a primary investment destination for foreign capital, where the country’s major projects in tourism, industry, transport and renewable energy projects are principal targets. Today, the UAE is one of the most advanced countries in the world in creating a regulatory environment that protects the investor and supports commercial activity, providing a flexible and competitive legislative and procedural umbrella that helps stimulate foreign investment and ensures business stability.

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Free zones contribute greatly, and the UAE is home to more than 28 business and logistical zones. The total trade in goods for free zones rose to Dh658.9 billion in 2019, an 11 per cent increase on the previous year. The value of imports from free zones amounted to Dh340.6 billion in 2019 while free zone exports rose to Dh41.1 billion.

The UAE is also invested in the energy sources of the future, with renewable energy as a top priority. The Emirates Energy Strategy 2050 targets a mix of renewable and clean energy sources to ensure a balance between economic needs and environmental goals. The country will invest Dh600 billion until 2050 to ensure that the demand for energy and sustainable growth in the country’s economy is met.

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Projects of the 50

Projects of the 50 sets in motion key initiatives that will determine the nation’s economic success, with a particular focus on developing a knowledge economy. It is a comprehensive economic and developmental blueprint to showcase the capabilities available in the UAE to investors, entrepreneurs and talents of different nationalities and in various economic sectors.

The UAE is ready to take on the next 50 years…