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Sharjah, which is home to more than 35 per cent of the UAE’s manufacturing industries, has identified seven high-potential sectors that would power qualitative and sustainable strategic investments into the emirate while strengthening its competitiveness on the global economic and investment landscape.
The seven vibrant sectors, which include Health & Wellbeing, Mobility & Logistics, Culture & Tourism, Agri-Food Technology, GreenTech, Human Capital & Innovation, and Advanced Manufacturing, have already positioned Sharjah as an attractive FDI destination, according to “FDI Future Trends & Sector Potential” report released by Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah).
“Today, Sharjah is home to many investment opportunities in various fields, especially in the new economy sectors, advanced industries, tourism, agriculture, innovation and others. With advanced infrastructure and agile legislation, the emirate has become a premier destination for businesses and a capital of industry in the region. We look forward to welcoming new companies to Sharjah that will undoubtedly benefit from the accelerating growth and ongoing support of creative projects in the emirate and the UAE,” said Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, acting CEO of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority.
Mohamed Juma Al Musharrkh, CEO of Sharjah FDI Office, said in the post-Covid world, investments in technology are outpacing all other sectors. Sharjah’s unveiling of the first 3D printing house in the region signals its competitiveness in advanced manufacturing.
“Our team provides investors with reliable market information and analytics, in addition to sharing valuable input on each case based on their extensive experience in the field, which helps investors make sound and confident decisions. We also have the Sharjah Investors Services Centre, a one-stop shop for investors to set up their businesses and complete governmental transactions in Sharjah,” said Al Musharrkh.
The business-friendly environment of the UAE and Sharjah, which is backed by modern legislation, future-ready infrastructure, a highly talented workforce, and more than 60,000 SMEs and startups remain key factors in boosting their FDI attractiveness, according to the report.
Sharjah, in particular, has enhanced its appeal as a gateway to the GCC and the wider region, thank to the six specialised free zones and 33 industrial zones, strategic location and global connectivity via sea and air routes and ports on both Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Gulf.
Sharjah navigated the challenges posed by the pandemic by successfully attracting FDI worth Dh808 million in 2021, reflecting a 60 per cent growth in FDI projects in Q3 and Q4 compared to 2019, which led to the creation of 1,117 new jobs, according to the report. The strong growth recorded by Sharjah during Covid-19 is a reflection of the high performance of the ICT sector which recorded 55.6 per cent growth, followed by the Food & Agriculture Industries at 49.7 per cent, and the Life Sciences sector, which grew by 47 per cent, and finally, the Logistics and Distribution, which registered a 46.2 per cent growth.
With an annual investment of Dh5.5 billion in education and research, Sharjah boasts a talent-rich ecosystem of world-class universities and leading innovation centres. The report noted that with an annual growth forecast of 5.0 per cent in UAE’s education sector until 2024, there are several investment opportunities emerging in Early Years Learning and Childcare specialties alongside the expansion of nurseries and K-12 offerings in Sharjah.
The report noted that Sharjah has been a preferred gateway into the region for those looking for shorter access routes from the Far East and South Asia, Australia. and Africa. The emirate is ripe with FDI opportunities in the Mobility & Logistics sector, especially after receiving a legislative boost of 43 per cent of its annual 2021 budget being earmarked for developing and improving its infrastructure facilities including roads.
The report forecasts investments in Sharjah’s culture, media and tourism sectors to reach Dh74.5 billion by 2027, with the emirate transforming itself as a destination of choice for global travellers with multi-billion dollar development projects as well as government support. Sharjah is expected to be a major contributor to the $1.1 billion UAE agricultural market projected for 2024.
Sharjah’s potential in Greentech investments is one of the highest in the region with the UAE accounting for 19 per cent of the GCC’s solid waste generation. The UAE holds a myriad of investment opportunities in the clean energy sector. In addition, the growth forecast of the UAE’s Solar Energy Market between 2022 and 2025 is 15 per cent.
Sharjah’s potential to benefit from FDI in the health and wellness sector in immense given that the UAE’s per capita health expenditure in 2019 was Dh6,035, and the growth projection for the nation’s pharmaceutical sector is 7.3 per cent annually to reach Dh17.26 billion by 2024. The UAE’s status as one of the top ten global healthcare destinations as per Medical Tourism Index, has an added positive impact.
In the field of advanced manufacturing, the report revealed that the UAE’s Additive Manufacturing sector is forecasted to reach Dh2.2 billion by 2025. Sharjah aims to maximise efficiency gains through manufacturing operations automation using advanced technologies such as IoT, Robotics, drones and others, in addition to developing 3D printing capabilities for the manufacture of spare parts and components for industries, enabling these projects to tap into the growing GCC market estimated at Dh 37.8 billion by 2023, said the report.
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