Dubai’s inspiring expedition towards economic acceleration and increased FDI—a lesson for the pandemic-stricken world

Dubai’s inspiring expedition towards economic acceleration and increased FDI—a lesson for the pandemic-stricken world

Op-ed by Hisham Al Gurg, CEO, Seed Group and the Private Office of Sheikh Saeed bin Ahmed Al Maktoum


As I scrolled down the headlines on various global and regional news sources, there were some common phrases that reoccurred. Ongoing pandemic, economy growing in fits and starts” and ‘predictions for post-covid recovery’ were the most common reiterations.

It is clear that most of the world is still struggling to come to grips with the economic stagnation that the COVID-19 pandemic led to. However, things are different in Dubai. Within a few months of the downturn of events due to the global health crisis, Dubai’s economy started looking up and bridging the gaps between expectations and reality.

The emirate opened its doors to international travel quite early, and while the rest of the world was still debating how to deal with the pandemic and its aftermath, Dubai was already on the mend.

And today, almost two years since the onset of the contagion, Dubai is leading by example. Its inspiring expedition towards economic acceleration and steadily increasing foreign direct investment (FDI) is more of a lesson for the pandemic-stricken world.

A recent report released by Dubai FDI Monitor hints towards a thriving FDI sector in the emirate. It stated that Dubai’s economy continued to rebound from the pandemic and attracted US $4.3 billion in FDI from 378 projects in the first nine months of 2021.

The report also added that the FDI reinvestment projects in the UAE for the said period accounted for 11 per cent of the total FDI projects in Dubai and that FDI led to a surge of 36 per cent in job creation, adding 16,430 new jobs to the market. These figures further cement the position of the emirate as a magnate for organisations the world over.

The report added that there were 378 FDI projects during that time period, an increase of 16 percent. During this time period, the majority of FDI went to strategic sectors, with 52 percent going to greenfield projects.Furthermore, 64% of inbound FDI capital was invested in high and medium-tech products.

Reflective of the faith of global investors in Dubai as a preferred place to operate, this uptick in FDI is backed by various policies and government support, for example, full foreign ownership, the provision of Golden Visas, and the city’s responsiveness to constantly evolving business needs. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the FDI Global Cities of the Future 2021/2022 report by fDi Intelligence ranked Dubai third among the top global FDI locations of the future.

In a separate report by the Dubai Statistics Centre (DSC), the data showed a substantial economic upswing in the emirate in the second and third quarters of 2021. It stated that the second quarter of 2021 saw the emirate’s GDP at constant prices register 17.8 percent growth, while the third quarter witnessed a 6.3 percent surge from the corresponding periods in 2020.

The data also mentioned that the emirate’s GDP growth in the first nine months of 2021 was a result of 7.6 percent growth in trading activities. As per the report, the economic growth registered is a direct result of government support that was extended to alleviate the repercussions of the pandemic.

All these numbers speak volumes about Dubai’s ability to rise above challenges. We overcome adversity, whether it is a minor setback or a major one such as the pandemic – we overcome adversity.Our leadership put in place strategic policy measures, extended business support, boosted the confidence of investors, and hosted a global event like Expo 2020 – all this while the world reeled under the aftermath of the pandemic.

This makes Dubai one of the most supportive cities in the world for people looking to live here, entrepreneurs looking to start their business here, and travellers looking to unwind on its pristine beaches and golden sands.

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