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Tue 27 Aug 2019 09:40 AM

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FDI in Dubai to exceed $10.4bn in 2019, says investment agency CEO

The US, UK, France, India and China accounted for more than half of FDI in 2018

FDI in Dubai to exceed $10.4bn in 2019, says investment agency CEO
Fahad Al Gergawi, the CEO of Dubai Investment Development Agency (Dubai FDI).

Dubai expects foreign direct investment (FDI) in the emirate to exceed 2018’s figure of AED 38.5 billion ($10.48bn), according to Fahad Al Gergawi, the CEO of Dubai Investment Development Agency (Dubai FDI).

“We’re looking at probably a better year, where numbers could be even higher than the performance we had in 2018,” Gergawi said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “We’re in a city of optimism always, and His Highess [Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum] has shown us this is the way.”

Gergawi, however, did not give a specific figure for how much FDI Dubai expects this year. In 2018, the emirate recorded 41 percent year-on-year growth.

According to Dubai FDI statistics, 23 percent of total FDI projects were from the United States, compared to 13 percent for the UK, 9 percent for France, 7 percent for India and 5 percent for China.

Sector wise, retail and wholesale trade accounted for 25 percent of the total, compared to 17 percent from accommodation and food services, 8 percent for administrative and support services and 6 percent each for software publishers and finance and insurance.

“Investment generally in the last years has grown in Dubai tremendously,” Gergawi added. “Looking at last year’s performance, coming from where we were before, it was a tremendous one.”

Focus on ranking

In Q1 2019, FDI rose 54 percent compared to the same time period the previous year, according to Gergawi, without taking into account Uber’s acquisition of Careem.

“We are more into focusing on ranking. Dubai’s ranking is within the cities of London, Singapore and Hong Kong, and we want to continue within this league,” he added. “Our ranking for the lsat five years got us to to number one in performance among global cities, and first again in renewable energy.”

During the interview, Gergawi said he was largely unconcerned with FDI headwinds such as political instability related to Qatar, Yemen and Iran, as well as "trust issues" that exist within the UAE.

“We have to look at reality…..Dubai is also gateway to the region where we are,” he said. “Multinationals that are here are serving countries around the region….these are fundamentals of the city.”

Additionally, Gergawi said that changes to allow 100 percent foreign ownership of some businesses will mean that fewer businesses “will think twice” about investing.

“This is very important for the government right now, and it’s important for us to fulfil,” he said.