UAE launches new initiative to attract 300 technology firms

Companies to be offered benefits including rapid licence processing, leases at discounted rates



by

Waheed Abbas

Published: Wed 6 Jul 2022, 11:19 AM

Last updated: Wed 6 Jul 2022, 5:59 PM

The UAE’s Ministry of Economy on Wednesday launched a new initiative to attract over 300 technology and digital-focused firms in the first year in a bid to make the country a global hub for technology companies.

“We are moving from regional to a global hub. We are now competing with the ‘Big Boys’ to attract global companies in new-age technologies,” said Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Trade.

The NextGenFDI initiative has been launched in cooperation with seven strategic partners including Dubai South, Abu Dhabi Global Markets, Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai Internet City, Dubai MultiCommodities Centre and Emirates NBD bank.

The minister said the UAE is aiming to be one of the top 10 countries to attract foreign direct investment (FDI).

According to the UN Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) latest report released last month, the UAE was ranked 19th on the list of the world’s largest FDI recipient countries and first in the Arab World.

Foreign direct investment flows into the UAE increased five per cent to $21 billion (Dh77 billion) last year, maintaining its ranking among the world’s top 20 FDI recipient nations.

New initiative benefits

The global technology companies will be offered additional incentives to set up their presence in the UAE including a rapid licence process for the companies and visas for their employees and accelerated banking services. In addition, they will also be offered commercial and industrial leases at more economical and discounted rates, said Dr Thani.

The initiative will focus on companies that offer services in the field of software development, artificial intelligence, data science, computer programming and others.

“We are moving from regional to a global hub for investment, trade and digital industries. Through this initiative, we will ensure that ecosystem is even more attractive for global companies. More benefits will be announced in due course,” he said.

The minister added that the initiative will help next-generation companies from Asia, Europe and America to establish a presence in the UAE.

“We are ready to seize opportunities to attract new generation companies in the field of software development, computer programming, and other new-age technology sectors. We want digital and technology majors from Europe, Asia and the USA to set up operations here because UAE is the best place to live and work. We are targetting more than 300 companies from around the world in the first year,” Dr Thani said at the launch of the initiative on Wednesday.

Khalifa Al Zaffin, head of Dubai South, said the fast-growing community is already home to some major e-commerce and logistics companies.

Juma Al Hameli, chief of staff at Abu Dhabi Global Markets (ADGM), said the initiative will help remove any complexity of establishing new companies.

“Abu Dhabi and UAE have not only been able to remove obstacles for new businesses but also have a strong ecosystem that attracts organizations to move to the UAE and grow,” he said, adding that ADGM offers easier access to capital, angel investors and venture capitalists.

Arif Amiri, CEO of DIFC Authority, said they will be working together with like-minded institutions to further multiply the impact of FDI in the UAE.

Ammar Al Malik, CEO of Dubai Internet City, said this initiative is a natural partnership to attract the best talent and utilise the amazing ecosystem that Dubai and UAE offer.

Ahmad Hamza, executive director at Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), said all the organisations have proven that they are successful. “We came together to make it a bigger success. The UAE has demonstrated that it is a global hub for companies to set up and grow. We had a record year at DMCC in 2021, registering just under 1,500 companies. We hope to attract more companies with this initiative,” added Hamza.


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