By Andy Sambidge
Country jumps to 11th place in new AT Kearney Global Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index
The UAE's attractiveness as a country to invest in is improving despite the Middle East region continuing to see political and social volatility, AT Kearney has said in a new report.
The UAE moved up three places to claim 11th position in the 2014 AT Kearney Global Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index (FDICI).
The US maintained its top ranking from last year followed by China, Canada, the UK and Brazil. Germany, India, Australia, Singapore and France completed the top 10.
In the Middle East, AT Kearney said the UAE has risen steadily in the index since 2012 after a dip in confidence experienced after the global financial crisis.
Nearly 40 percent of global investors said that UAE as an FDI destination had a more favorable outlook than in 2012. This is in the same range as countries such as Brazil and China, and significantly higher than several European countries, AT Kearney said.
The report highlighted the UAE's well-developed infrastructure, strategic location, and tax-free base as reasons for increased international investment.
The improved verdict on the UAE, which measures FDI inflows for 2013, came despite continued volatility in Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen.
Anshu Vats, partner at AT Kearney Middle East, said: "The UAE's traditional strengths of well-developed infrastructure, talent base, strategic location, and ease of doing business offers international investors easy access to many of the world's fastest-growing markets including the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa.
"Additionally, the UAE has developed investment opportunities, diversifying the industrial base and attracting innovative SME industries to the region. These efforts have delivered very positive results: Dubai securing Expo 2020 and Abu Dhabi's 2030 strategy being tangible examples of the value proposition the country has presented to international industrial and investment communities.
"Continued progression of this strategy could see the UAE progress even further on its upward trend in international confidence," said.
Globally, the report showed that nearly four out of five respondents are more optimistic about the world's economy than they were a year ago.
Paul A Laudicina, founder of the FDI Confidence Index and A.T. Kearney chairman emeritus, said: "Despite volatility and economic uncertainty on a global scale, the findings from the 2014 FDICI suggest that a corner is being turned. Corporations sitting on massive cash reserves are increasingly confident that they can parlay these into productive investments with attractive returns."
Respondents include C-level executives and regional and business heads. The 300 participating companies represented 26 countries and span all industry sectors.