Memos from the Market: New Perspectives on Attracting Investment in the UAE

By Tapan Sahni

"Until you step into the unknown, you don't know what you're made of."

Roy T Bennett (author – ‘the light in the heart’).

These lines make one think about exploring uncharted areas. Since the early 1990s, some UAE cities have been popular tourist destinations. The cities are home to luxurious hotels, shopping malls, and golf courses; for these reasons, real estate is an ever-so-booming sector in UAE. Adding to the list, the fast-growing sectors are retail, tourism and travel, along with e-commerce solutions. But if we look at things from the perspective of inward investment, there is enormous scope beyond tourism, and there are many promising sectors.

According to fDi Markets, a service from the Financial Times, the UAE has grown year on year in terms of inward FDI, noting a record 509 projects in 2021, with an investment of $6.75bn. The government recently announced ‘Projects for 50’ which aims to attract over $150bn in FDI over the next 10 years.


Dawood Al Shezawi, President of the AIM organizing committee said the ‘Projects of the 50’ program will cover important sectors including economy, entrepreneurship, advanced skills, digital economy, space, and advanced technologies. This ambitious goal set by the government will throw light on the growing industrial clusters within the country.

Investment Trends

The UAE has become a favourite destination to try and test autonomous transportation as it compliments the existing superlative road infrastructure. The Government's push is towards cities of the future that are connected. Smart Cities would pave the way for the development of various sectors that are interconnected. An influx of population will require meeting inhabitants' expectations in newer ways. 


Retail & e-commerce, and healthcare will require automation and deployment in real time to care for the highly demanding population. Besides meeting the demand of the rising population, the pandemic has left us in deep thought about the healthcare industry. Non-invasive diagnostics are likely to attract significant investments in the next decade. This will also lead to the generation of much data; hence, ICT infrastructure needs to be strengthened. 


Agriculture accounts for a lesser percentage of the GDP. Still, the government is keen to invest in this sector to reduce dependency on the global supply chain and adopt advanced agricultural technology. The need for food security is one of the crucial open questions the government is trying to answer; the efforts in this sector have already been made by building the world's biggest vertical farm to grow essential food items. UAE farmers are already using modern technology to become self-sufficient. 


The UAE continues to be a promising investment destination with significant economic growth and development potential. The Ministry of Economy has developed an environment which is promoting investment in the promising sectors mentioned above. As per the Ministry of Economy, more significant incentives will be provided to investors with the aim of raising their rank on the Ease of Doing Business Index. The Government's initiatives to create the right environment for investors will help boost growth and enhance competitiveness in the regional and global markets.

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