Dubai ranks first in the world in attracting FDI projects in 2021

The emirate experienced significant growth in all key indicators compared to the previous year


Issac John

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Published: Sun 8 May 2022, 3:41 PM

Last updated: Sun 8 May 2022, 5:57 PM

Dubai topped the global ranking as the most sought-after destination for greenfield foreign direct investment projects in 2021 on the back of “a sustainable economic environment and a vibrant business ecosystem for companies and entrepreneurs.”

Dubai emerged as the destination of choice for 418 greenfield FDI projects in 2021, surpassing London and Singapore for the first time with a remarkable lead of over 50 FDI projects as it continued to maintain and improve on its lead position across key FDI attraction metrics.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, attributed the emirate’s remarkable feat in attracting 418 greenfield FDI projects in 2021 to the exceptional leadership and farsighted vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Over 50 laws updated

Dubai’s success comes in the wake of the largest legislative transformation in the history of the UAE, with over 50 laws in all fields updated and reformed in 2021, paving the way for the adoption of new policies and regulations that will further enable the economy in Dubai to keep pace with global developments and sustain its leading position in future.

“Dubai has created a stable, sustainable economic environment and a vibrant business ecosystem for companies and entrepreneurs to launch new ventures, tap new opportunities and expand their business both in the country and beyond its borders,” Sheikh Hamdan said as he unveiled ‘Dubai FDI Results & Rankings Highlights Report 2021,’ published by Dubai Investment Development Agency (Dubai FDI), an agency of the Department of Economy and Tourism (DET),

In FDI capital inflows, Dubai ranked first in the Middle East and North Africa region, and third globally, up from fourth place last year. In Reinvestment FDI projects, Dubai ranked first in the Mena region and third globally (up from fourth place last year), and seventh globally, (up from eleventh-place last year), in FDI capital inflows. As for FDI job creation, Dubai ranked first in the Mena region and fifth globally, up from the sixth-place last year.

Dubai recorded significant growth in all key indicators compared to the previous year. In 2021, the estimated value of capital flows into Dubai exceeded Dh26 billion from a total of 618 announced FDI projects in 2021, with a growth rate of 5.5 per cent compared to 2020 while the UAE attracted Dh76 billion in FDI in 2021, up 3.9 per cent from 2020, as a result of measures the country took to develop various economic sectors and improve the ease of doing business.

Jobs creation

Both FDI projects and FDI job creation in Dubai witnessed a significant increase of 36 per cent in 2021 compared to 2020, with an estimated 24,868 jobs in 2021, compared to 18,325 jobs in the previous year.

“Over the years, Dubai has also demonstrated its resilience to global economic fluctuations, earning the confidence of global investors, and enhancing its reputation as one of the world’s leading lifestyle and business destinations,” the Crown Prince said.

The FDI report was published by Dubai Investment Development Agency (Dubai FDI), an agency of the Department of Economy and Tourism (DET).

Strong public–private partnerships

The vision of Sheikh Mohammed fostered strong public–private partnerships that created a unique collaborative model for rapid sustainable development and led to the establishment of growth-friendly regulations and business-enabling services, he said as he unveiled the annual “DubaiFDI Results and Rankings Highlight Report 2021.”

“Under his leadership, Dubai’s government departments, free zones, and private sector partners combined their strengths to create a fertile ground for talent, enterprise, and investment in the emirate. As the winds of change sweep the world, foreign investors continue to gravitate to Dubai because of the supportive platform it has created for companies of all sizes to innovate, develop future-oriented technologies and add value to the economy,” said Sheikh Hamdan.

Confidence of investors

Helal Al Marri, director general of the Department of Economy and Tourism in Dubai, said Dubai’s achievement has been made possible by its leadership’s efforts to promote public-private sector partnerships, which have become a key driver of the emirate’s sustainable development.

“Dubai’s remarkable performance in FDI attraction in 2021 reflects the confidence of investors, multinational companies, start-ups and global talents in the investment and business environment in Dubai, notably the emirate’s success in overcoming the impact of the recent global health and economic challenges, while promoting economic growth and creating new opportunities in the future economy,” said Al Marri.

43 Headquarters FDI projects

Dubai attracted 43 Headquarters (HQ) FDI projects in 2021, leading regionally in this category and ranking second globally behind Singapore, surpassing major cities such as London and New York, in hosting global and regional headquarters of international companies. Dubai also ranked third globally in terms of HQ FDI capital flows, which amounted to Dh2.8 billion, according to data from ‘fDi Markets.’

Fahad Al Gergawi, chief executive officer, Dubai Investment Development Agency, (Dubai FDI) said Dubai’s regional and global pre-eminence in FDI attraction indicators is the fruit of the vision and guidance of the leadership, which manifested in setting a clear goal in the Dubai Plan 2021 to make the emirate the preferred global FDI destination.



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