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Tue 25 Jun 2019 04:23 PM

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Abu Dhabi gov't creates $1bn fund to boost R&D business

Nine new initiatives announced under Ghadan 21 programme to help private sector in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi gov't creates $1bn fund to boost R&D business

The Abu Dhabi Government has created a AED4 billion ($1.09 billion) fund to boost research and development in the emirate as part of widespread measures to increase business in the capital.

The fund is dedicated to provide rebates on R&D spend and costs of new activities in Abu Dhabi. It was included in a raft of initiatives revealed on Tuesday as part of the Abu Dhabi Development Accelerator Programme “Ghadan 21”, which was launched at the start of 2019.

In a move to increase growth and diversify its economy away from a dependence on hydrocarbons, the programme will provide large energy discounts for businesses and give easier access government services and financial assistance from banks.

Saif Mohamed Al Hajeri, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, said: “Building a sustainable, globally-competitive, knowledge-based economy requires a solid partnership between the private and public sector. The Government of Abu Dhabi is full committed to enabling the private sector by providing a supportive business environment, creating new public-private partnership opportunities and enhancing the ease of doing business.”

The Abu Dhabi Instant Licence will help open doors to doing business and investing in the emirate. Approvals are processed instantly online and licence holders in most cases can begin conducting business activities immediately.

Al Hajeri added: “The latest Ghadan 21 initiatives and Abu Dhabi Instant Licence are vital private sector accelerators as they are focused on speed, flexibility and simplicity – reducing operating costs, introducing new investment opportunities and establishing innovative licensing frameworks. They are initiatives that will help drive forward our goal to increase the private sector’s contribution to Abu Dhabi’s GDP from the current 32 percent to 37 percent by 2021.”

As well as a reduction in tariffs for businesses and new licences for technology businesses, there was also good news for SMEs with the launch of the SME Credit Guarantee. The SME Growth Loan will provide more accessible financing opportunities for SMEs in the emirate, with a guarantee of up to 75 percent of the loan value provided by the government to Abu Dhabi banks, in case of default.

Further steps to boost the economy include an open data programme for investors and traders, improvement in ease of doing business with the Tamm programme and the development of Ecotourism Incentive Packages to drive tourism in the Western region of Abu Dhabi.

The three-year Ghadan 21 programme, from 2019 to 2021, includes an AED50 billion fund that is being spread across four strategic pillars: economic, knowledge, liveability and social.