While investments across the global economy saw a major disruption due to the uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, investors are ready to look beyond the pandemic and turn challenges into opportunities, officials have said.
Speaking at a press conference for the Annual Investment Meeting 2022 (AIM 2022) on Tuesday morning, Dr. Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Ministry of Economy, UAE, shared details about the upcoming event and highlighted how the UAE was ready to capitalize on the recently launched government initiatives that highlighted a vision of the future.
AIM 2022 will be held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, from March 28-31, 2022 under the theme ‘Investments in Sustainable Innovation For A Thriving Future’.
“Over the years, AIM has successfully attracted increasing participation and support from governments, and investments from financial institutions from more than 170 countries,” Dr. Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi said. “Our role with this event is to provide a dynamic investment platform that boasts effective investment promotional strategies for the global economy and participating nations. Additionally, the AIM platform leverages relations with private sector companies and multinational organisations to help generate high quality yields and drive greater public-private sector partnerships.”
Currently, he said that the UAE is among the world’s top 20 economies in terms of attracting foreign direct investment - reflecting the UAE’s strong economic performance. The UAE is also one of the first economies to launch stimulus packages to help all sectors, which is why the country’s economy remained resilient in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. He added that FDI inflows to the country grew by 44.2 per cent in 2020, as compared to 2019.
“The UAE is a forward thinking nation, and despite recent global challenges the UAE has been able to maintain its status as one of the best countries in the world to live and work in. Earlier this week, the UAE announced the ‘Principles of the 50’ as part of a bigger campaign to pave the way for the country’s new era of political, economic, and social development, over the next 50 years. The announcement will be a key driver in achieving the UAE’s targets at the national level,” he added.
Dawood Al Shezawi, president of Annual Investment Meeting, noted that there is no better place than Expo 2020 Dubai to celebrate the upcoming edition of AIM. The event, he said, has grown over the years bringing in thousands of investors to the UAE. “AIM has signed agreements with more than 25 international organisations over the past few years, and organised more than 400 business investment missions. We have also gathered more than 20,000 SMEs and startups from around the world to benefit from AIM’s startups programme.”
Similarly, Fahad Al Gergawi, CEO of the Dubai Investment Development Agency (Dubai FDI), and president of WAIPA, said that various business institutes were looking forward to re-establishing their business connectivity, and that there is no better place for them to do so than at AIM 2022. “We, at Dubai FDI, have witnessed all the changes that have happened in Dubai over the past 10 years and we look forward to all the changes that will come over the next 10 years. There is no better time for us to restart the engine after Covid-19 than now with the announcement of the new initiatives by the UAE government under the ‘Principles of the 50’.”
He added: “Covid-19 brought a lot of challenges in the global investment community, and we have seen investments decreasing because of uncertainty; but, we have also seen a certain enthusiasm from investors on what comes next. They want to know what comes after Covid-19 and where the opportunities will be coming from. This is what we are looking forward to discovering at AIM.”
AIM has highlighted several opportunities for investors over its long exhibition history, such as smart cities and sustainability, he added. “We are already living together as part of the future smart cities here in Dubai. Looking ahead, startups and SMEs are going to be a crucial part of future development. When it comes to sustainability, we can safely say that it is going to be a big part of our lives, which is why it is going to be a big part of AIM. At WAIPA, we have estimated that missed opportunities for investment in sustainability until 2030 are valued at $15 trillion. These are untapped opportunities that are available for investors that we are very happy that AIM is addressing and bringing to the business community.”
Marwan Jassim Al Sarkal, executive chairman, Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), UAE, noted that one of the great things about the AIM exhibition is how it brings together decision-makers from the private and public sector, and highlights opportunities not just in various cities, but each country.
“We at Shurooq have benefitted greatly in being part of AIM and talking about the opportunities that are present in Sharjah,” he said. “This year is an exceptional year because we have set a vision for the coming 50 years. We are clear on what is the objective of the UAE, and how we will work towards that vision. Expo 2020 Dubai is not just a milestone for Dubai, or the UAE, but for the whole region. The recorded participation has never been seen before in the history of the expo. We look forward to discussing ideas that will tackle future challenges especially in the fields of digitalization, food-tech, and agri-tech.”
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