NextGenFDI. The name is futuristic, just like the UAE that’s setting a scorching pace in the technology investment landscape. Digital tech matters in the next phase of development and the country is making no attempt to hide its fascination and support for revolutionary ideas as it makes a pitch to attract investments in the space.
This is an exciting era in the country’s business evolution and the UAE considers itself the Silicon Valley of the Middle East. But it is not content as the sector is evolving and constantly changing with entrepreneurs and dynamic investors coming up with innovative business models that are shaking things up while making processes easier and sustainable. There’s a start-up for everyone and the UAE has its eyes set on becoming a long-term technology destination of choice for investors.
Under the NextGenFDI programme, the country plans to lure 300 digital companies with the right mix of incentives. Licensing processes, visas, finance and leasing will be made easier for these firms.
The target is to be achieved in six months to a year. Steep but doable as the UAE already has among the best digital infrastructure in the world. It has been assiduously working to speed up digitalisation in all sectors after the pandemic. The post-pandemic economy will, however, be challenging but the country believes that with the right investments, talent and leadership, it has a winning formula to take its digital success forward.
Over 10 years, the UAE set a smart agenda and laid the groundwork for a vibrant digital economy. This smart economy has become smarter and proved its worth during the worst of the pandemic lockdown when life and work continued virtually uninterrupted in the country.
Now, after establishing its credentials as the Middle East’s digital hub, the country wants a larger share of the global pie. “We’re moving from a regional hub to a global hub, we’re competing with the big boys now, the competition in the last [few] years was with the region, now we’re moving to become a global hub and attract companies and FDI,” said Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Foreign Trade, on Wednesday.
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the UAE rose to $20.7 billion in 2021 from $19.8 billion the previous year, according to the UNCTAD World Investment Report 2022. The country has looked beyond multilateralism while signing bilateral free trade deals with India, Indonesia and Israel in the last six months.
Our report on Tuesday said 27 bilateral agreements are being planned which ties well with the UAE’s ambitions to become a global digital powerhouse.
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