The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development's (UNCTAD) World Investment Report 2019 has ranked the UAE 27th globally in terms of attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), three positions up from 2017.
According to the report, the UAE attracted $10.4 billion FDI in 2018, ranking first in the Arab world and accounting for 36 per cent of the total of FDI flows to the Arab countries.
The country ranks the second in West Asia, accounting for around 33.4 per cent of total FDI inflows to this region, added the report.
Engineer Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, UAE Minister of Economy, said that the UAE’s progress in the rankings confirms the global investor confidence in the quality and efficiency of the country’s business environment, and its leading position as a regional destination for investments.
Al Mansoori stated that the country enjoys an open economic environment and a flexible business environment, supported by a strong infrastructure and a legislative structure that has the potential to be developed further.
Furthermore, continuous efforts to promote financial and economic efficiencies, activate investment, boost local production, and to develop competitiveness ensure continuity and sustainability of the UAE’s advanced position in the global investment landscape.
The report has also ranked the UAE 2nd among West Asian countries for attracting 35.5 per cent of the total FDI to the region. Furthermore, the country has attracted 22 per cent of the total FDI to the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region.
Al Mansoori added that the UAE has secured an advanced position in terms of outward FDI as well. The UAE’s investments abroad have succeeded in adding value to both regional and global markets, and in various vital economic sectors, and these companies were able to promote the national economic competitiveness in number of industries and advanced global services such as aviation, air transportation services, transportation, mining, logistic sector, ports, infrastructure, renewable energy, real estates, constructions, telecommunications, IT, oil and gas sectors, tourism and hotels sector, banking and agriculture.
According to the report, total FDI outflows from the UAE to the world reached $15 billion in 2018, up by 7.2 per cent, to rank 19th globally.
According to the UNCTAD classification in 2017, the country ranked second in the West Asia region, accounting for 31 per cent of total FDI from the region, after Saudi Arabia.
In addition, the report ranked the UAE the second in the world with regard to the signing of bilateral investment agreements through six bilateral investment agreements out of 40 international investment agreements signed in 2018.
In terms of green investment projects, the UAE came after the United States and France, and the UAE's green investments in these projects amount to $179 million.
The World Investment Report 2019 further highlighted the role of free zones in achieving the objectives of sustainable development through FDI inflows, which is one of the challenges facing the free zones in the world. The report considers free zones in the GCC countries as one of the leading players that contribute to the achievement of the objectives of sustainable development. Their use of the special economic zones to support the strategic transformation of major industries such as financing, in addition to modern facilities, were also highlighted.
Besides, the report cited an example of the UAE's leading private economic zones. The Jebel Ali Port has successfully attracted multinational companies to establish regional distribution centres, encouraging the spread of special economic zones in the UAE, especially those operating as re-export centres.
Al Mansoori further added that the UAE’s free zones model reflects its leadership in the establishment and development of a number of specialised free zones, which contribute to the transfer and resettlement of modern technology and to attracting investments that serve the country’s development objectives.
In addition, the success of modern technology in attracting FDI to the free zones in the UAE, such as a free zone for technology and e-commerce aimed at investing in a range of information technology services, has led to the establishment of other specialized free zones such as Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, Knowledge and the Dubai Multi Commodities City and Dubai Healthcare, he concluded. – TradeArabia News Service