Businesses in UAE gear up to welcome innovative 2022

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The mega-event Expo2020 Dubai has been a game-changer and catalysed business opportunities for the UAE and participating nations.
The mega-event Expo2020 Dubai has been a game-changer and catalysed business opportunities for the UAE and participating nations.

Sectors will have to brace for constant changes to remain afloat as evolving trends give rise to new opportunities.


Sandhya D'Mello

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Published: Thu 30 Dec 2021, 10:46 PM

Last updated: Fri 31 Dec 2021, 8:46 AM

Businesses in the UAE are all set for welcoming 2022, equipped to strive forward as new trends unfold. Thankfully, the robust digital adoption in the nation has ensured that the work will continue and remain uninterrupted. The new 4 1/2-day work week  — Monday to Friday — starting from January 2022  will help the businesses to align with global markets and will help boost productivity. The tech-enabled industries will have to gear up as demand will only accelerate from key sectors, making it more competitive for existing players. Some of the sectors that will continue to evolve in 2022 are eCommerce, qcommerce, edtech, healtech, fintech, proptech, entertainment, cryptocurrency just to name a few.

The UAE is looked upon as a global role model to handle pandemic in 2020 and 2021 with business sentiment soaring to peak and industries applauding the visionary policies and strategies to not only combat pandemic impact but also ensure that the economy remains competitive enough to boost businesses.

Some of the milestones of 2021, include approval of the Dh290 billion federal budget for five years until 2026 and launch of the industrial strategy “Operation 300bn” to empower and expand the industrial sector. Further, the launch of ‘Projects of the 50’ will establish a new phase of internal and external growth of the state in various economic sectors which should make the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) target of overall real gross domestic product (GDP) of 4.2 per cent in 2022 against  2.1 per cent in 2021 achievable. The mega-event Expo2020 Dubai has been a game-changer and catalysed business opportunities for the UAE and participating nations.

Bharat Bhatia, chairman, and CEO of Conares.
Bharat Bhatia, chairman, and CEO of Conares.

Bharat Bhatia, chairman, and CEO of Conares, said: “The challenges that we faced in the past are simply opportunities to learn, so we can build towards a better future. The economy is getting back to pre-pandemic levels and there is greater opportunity for growth in the construction sector in the UAE. Despite the many ups and downs, we have a lot to look forward to in 2022 as we move forward with hope in our hearts and a smile on our faces.”

Sustainability will continue to dominate in 2022 as businesses will strive to build sustainable growth making resilience a strong code of conduct for individuals and businesses. Businesses will have to brace for constant changes and continue to innovate to remain afloat as the evolving trends give rise to new opportunities too.

Dr Azad Moopen, founder chairman and managing director, Aster DM Healthcare.
Dr Azad Moopen, founder chairman and managing director, Aster DM Healthcare.


Dr Azad Moopen, founder chairman and managing director, Aster DM Healthcare, said: “As per The World Health Organisation, almost half of the world lacks access to essential health services and over 100 million are pushed into poverty due to out-of-pocket health expenses. This stark reality was brought to the forefront during the pandemic very strongly with public healthcare systems across the world collapsing to manage and cater to increasing demands. More than ever the need to make quality healthcare affordable and accessible on time has been felt strongly.”

While it is important to increase healthcare spending as a percentage of GDP by the developing countries, the key to the penetration is digitisation. This will make at least primary healthcare available even in the remotest corners of the world through the ubiquitous mobile phones.

Dr Moopen added: “As we step into 2022, with renewed vigour to deliver our caring mission with a global vision to serve the world with quality healthcare that is affordable and accessible, we at Aster DM Healthcare remain at the forefront of adopting digital technology. We hope this will help us to enable access to millions to our services in a cost-effective way. As a blessing in disguise, Covid-19 has played the role of a catalyst in pushing the sector to innovate and come up with need-of-the-hour solutions.”


Sustainability will be foregrounded in all facets of life in the UAE in 2022. If anything, the pandemic was a supply-chain lesson, which reinforced the need to pursue sustainability on all fronts, particularly in food and water.

Chandra Dake, executive chairman and group CEO of Dake Group, said: “In the new year, as the great reset pans out, we will witness greater activity around Agtech, low-input farming, and decarbonisation in the agriculture sector. I’m glad to be entering the new year with so much to look forward to. All credit goes to leaders, whose proactive measures, crisis response, and science-based targets made today’s upbeat sentiment possible. I speak for all residents and business persons in the UAE when I say that we are grateful for the rulers’ ceaseless work in handling the pandemic. I wish everyone in the UAE a happy new year, and sincerely hope that personal sustainability features in their resolutions as it does in mine.”

Similarly, Dr Mostafa Al Guezeri, managing director, Hitachi Energy, said: “Our goal in 2022 is to advance the world’s energy system to be more sustainable, flexible, and secure. As the pioneering technology leader, we collaborate with customers and partners to enable a sustainable energy future for generations to come. Since the pandemic prompted changes in the energy market through supply line disruptions and inflationary trends, we intend to differentiate that in this competitive sector with burgeoning growth in areas such as electric transportation, renewable energy, and smart infrastructure.


Dubai has ranked as the fastest-growing e-commerce market in the Middle East and North Africa thanks to a very advanced technological infrastructure and the growing number of tech-savvy consumers. Dubai Customs expects e-commerce sales to rise 23 per cent to $27 billion (Dh100 billion), in 2022.

Real estate

The year 2022 will see greater market-driven developments, increased proptech adoption, and retrofitting activities, informs Sanjeevv Bhatia, chairman of SB Group and CEO of Netix Global BV.

“The UAE’s 4.5-day workweek will come into effect on January 1, 2022. So, we are about to witness a paradigm shift from day one. For a global company like the SB Group, this change is consequential — our teams can reduce operational latency and manage time zone differences effectively, adding to overall productivity. This move is one among the many that the UAE leadership has made to enhance the nation’s competitiveness. More power to them as they pursue greater causes in 2022. Real estate, in particular, continues to be the sector generating maximum initiatives and favourable policies from the government,” added Bhatia.

The UAE economy is likely to see an upward movement in 2022. History says that the country that hosts the Expo sees a steady growth in the months to follow. “Around 93 per cent of the UAE’s population is vaccinated, which makes the country a safer place and people are looking forward to visiting the country. This will give a major boost to the economy fuelled by the growth in tourism and investment as the country’s culture is a perfect mix of East and West. All this is majorly due to the exemplary initiatives by the UAE Government,” said Anis Sajan, vice-chairman, Danube Group.

“The UAE has seen quite a few changes like ease in doing business, golden visa for select residents and the recent one being the change in the working week to get in sync with the rest of the world.”

Imran Farooq, Group chief executive officer, Samana Group, said: “The year 2021 was very different and challenging. It would not be wrong to say that it changed the dynamics of the entire world and impacted the entire humanity, created ripple effects on every section of society, the industry, the economy, and the way we work and look at things.”


The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates (CBUAE) announced in July 2021 a roadmap to integrate a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) into the country’s financial, investment, and trading ecosystem. This followed years of research, analysis, and idea-sharing by the CBUAE and some of the key entities in the UAE’s Crypto ecosystem and forms part of the country’s 2023-2026 strategy to promote digital transformation. Evidently, Crypto has been evaluated as an innovative and important asset class in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the financial, investment, and trading landscape.

Arshad Khan Co-Founder & CEO, Arabian Bourse.
Arshad Khan Co-Founder & CEO, Arabian Bourse.

Arshad Khan co-founder and CEO of Arabian Bourse, said: “I see the UAE economy strengthening further in the next year. Several initiatives taken by the government in 2021 will add to improving the economic parameters. Expo 2020 and initiatives in the areas of blockchain and cryptocurrencies, in particular, will add significant strength to the overall growth.”

Jolivette Dela Cruz, Managing Director of Chef Signature

Year 2021 was a challenging year for everyone due to the Covid-19 situation. For me as Entrepreneur, I’ve been through a lot with our businesses. Moreover, before the year ends – the Emirate open us with other opportunities. One is opening the first Franchise of OFF THE HOOK in Sharjah. We have given the chance to be part of the team to operate and to manage OTH Sharjah. My other two businesses are back on track, start moving forward and quietly recovering.

There are Government measures in place to support and to boost this recovery for businesses like stimulus package, the discount offered during license renewal or new licensing and more. There are changes in UAE legislations which are aligned with the international best practices which improve the ease of doing business in UAE. Herewith UAE become appealing with the entrepreneurs .

I believe UAE economic will strongly recover from pandemic in 2022 and surely will be back with it’s pre-pandemic stage. UAE good governance, best practices in handling the pandemic situation and changes in doing business will boost the Emirate’s Economy in 2022. One indicator I have seen is the positive impact of the Expo 2020 with different sectors of business.

Abdul Jebbar PB, Group Managing Director, Hotpack Global

2021 was a challenging year for everyone. The disruption of the global supply chain was difficult to deal with for everyone and the new year is going to bring new challenges with it as well. However, it will also bring new opportunities, so I hope that everyone is able to reflect on the past with humility and move forward in hope of a better future.

Naren Vijay, Executive Vice President – EMEA, Lumenore

The new year is a cause for celebration because it’s always exciting to think about what new innovations and opportunities the next year is going to bring. What makes the new year special is that it serves as a reminder that things will keep changing and that it is up to you to make the most of the opportunities that these changes present.

Abdulla Nalapad, MD Nalapad Investments

The year 2021 was a welcome return to normal for children, parents and teachers. We should all be proud to have shown such resilience in these trying times and understand that we are capable of achieving anything if we want it. We hope to keep that momentum going through to 2022 and not slow down, no matter what life throws at us next.

Mohammed Mahabub Alam, Chairman of Tokyosat Group and Mahabub Perfumes, Dubai

The year 2021 has been a year of recovery, while 2022 will be a year of growth for all of us. The Expo 2020 has helped the overall UAE economy and we are witnessing the benefits of it through increased tourist traffic, higher spending in the retail sector and increased investment in real estate. Dubai International Airport once again has become the world’s busiest airport that shows the increase in passenger movement, thanks to the visionary leadership of the country.

Shahinoor Shah, Director of E-First Global, Dubai, UAE

The year 2021 was a learning period for all of us in the UAE as we all were in growth mode and to adapt to the changes quickly and diversify with changing demands in the market.The 2022 will be a year of growth for the UAE economy, much better than what we have seen last couple of years. The Government of the UAE has opened the doors to so many new opportunities for all over the world.”

Shabbir Merchant, Chairman, Champion Group

The UAE economy is all set to grow in the coming year. Most industries that were impacted during peak Covid times have revived and are getting back on track. Companies are hiring and scaling up their resources to be able cater to growing market demand.Additionally the oil price gains and sustained demand will work to UAE’s economy advantage. I am confident that the economy will grow further by bold initiatives and policies by the UAE government.

2021 in UAE was unprecedented where we witnessed the launch of the world’s greatest show - Expo2020. We were privileged to work on projects at Expo, launched new solutions, invested in the latest machinery, and scaled up resources to gain new clients. More importantly, the pandemic was curbed which helped the overall healthcare scenario in UAE and brought back everyone’s confidence.

Ahmed Shaikhani, President, Pakistan Business Council, Dubai.

2021 was a challenging year but we have witnessed how the UAE and its leadership had showdown with it, overcame and managed the Covid-19 crises so well that the country, especially Dubai, has become a role model in the world in handling such situations. Dubai has done a great by organizing the vaccination drive and sanitizing the entire city.

Covid-19 temporarily affected the Expo plans but did not stop it. Dubai delayed it for a reason - to manage the vaccination drive first. And when the Expo was launched, it went with a big bang and is now an extremely successful event among all international events. Till mid December 2021, Expo 2020 Dubai visit numbers climbed to more than 6.3 million and it is boosting the visitors by a range of entertainment and country pavilion activities.

The new Covid-19 variant is impacting again but I am pretty sure the UAE will overcome it as the country has the experience of handling such crises.

Looking at the success of Expo and revival of Dubai real estate and other industries, I can say with conviction that the year 2022 will be a promising year for every business.

We at Pakistan Business Council always supported the initiatives of the local government and followed the new guidelines from the rulers. Pakistan Business Council works hand in hand with local authorities and ministries, especially Dubai Chamber, for supporting the bilateral trade between Pakistan and the UAE, which has started showing up the results. I, on behalf of Pakistan Business Council, wish a very happy New Year and even greater successes to the UAE and expatriates living here. —

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