Interview with HE Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, UAE Minister of Economy
The UAE, the second biggest Arab economy, is leading the Arab World in attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). In 2016, the UAE attracted 29 percent of the total FDI inflow in to the Arab World, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, UAE Minister of Economy, told the media in an interview ahead of the Annual Investment Meeting, taking place at the Dubai World Trade Centre from Monday, April 9 to 11, 2018.
Al Mansoori, explained that the UAE has succeeded in maintaining its position as a regional and international destination for FDI.
The FDI inflow in to the UAE reached $10.3 billion (Dh37.8 billion) in 2017, according to the UAE Competitiveness and Statistics Authority up from $9.6 billion (Dh35.23 billion) recorded in 2016. This takes the total FDI stock of the country to $128.94 billion in 2017.
Q: Could you tell us about the UAE’s position in the Arab World in terms of attracting Foreign Direct Investment?
Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori: The UAE is leading the Arab World in attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). In 2016, the UAE attracted 29 percent of the total FDI inflow in to the Arab World.
The UAE also topped the Arab countries in terms of attracting new foreign investment projects. From 2003 to 2016, the UAE attracted 4,492 foreign investment projects out of a total of 12,192 new investment projects in the Arab countries during that period, reflecting the competitiveness of the national economy at the state level creating efficient business.
The UAE is working to attract quality investments that serve its development objectives and achieve value-addition to the national economy.
Globally, FDI flow has been on the decline. How could this be reversed?
According to preliminary data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), global FDI flows are forecast to decline by 16 percent in 2017, from $1.81 trillion in 2016 to $1.52 trillion in 2017.
However, FDI inflows to developing economies is expected to stabilise in 2017, reaching about $653 billion, an increase of 2 percent over 2016.
These indicate the need for countries to continue their efforts to attract more investments in the sectors that add value and to develop the appropriate policies and frameworks to make the best use of the presence of foreign direct investment to serve their development objectives.
There is also a need to push forward efforts to link developed and emerging markets, and create partnerships among them to achieve inclusive and sustainable growth.
How significant is the role of FDI in an economy like the UAE?
FDI play a crucial role in strengthening economic growth and raising the efficiency of national economies, pointing out that the UAE is constantly adopting the best policies and economic trends to keep pace with changes in the nature and trends of foreign investments.
The UAE has consolidated its position as a global destination for business and finance.
What is your view of the Annual Investment Meeting taking place in Dubai this week?
Annual Investment Meeting taking place at the DWTC from April 9-11 will address obstacles to accelerate FDI inflow.
The Annual Investment Meeting is a collaborative platform for linking advanced and emerging markets and exploring potential partnership opportunities.
Annual investment Meeting will offer intensive sessions and discussions to explore how partnerships between developed markets and emerging markets can be employed, promote responsible foreign direct investment, find solutions to the challenges facing the global economy today, and ensure the right of future generations to live in a world which is socially prosperous and economically responsible.
The Annual Investment Meeting seeks to explore promising investment opportunities in vital sectors, including energy, mining, manufacturing, infrastructure, logistics, agriculture, tourism and ICT.
More than 140 countries participate in the eighth session of the Forum and about 20 thousand investors and visitors from around the world.
The UAE is committed to support all efforts and initiatives aimed at promoting regional and international dialogues on the development of investment and trade promotion linking all countries and economies with each other and providing a global platform to discuss the most important opportunities and challenges and ways to overcome them.
The Annual Investment Meeting is a pioneering event.
Over the past seven years, the forum has provided an interactive platform for creating joint cooperation between the parties involved in the development of investment from around the world and contributed to highlight the most important opportunities and incentives.
The Annual Investment Meeting has attracted participants from more than 140 countries around the world, as well as the presence of about 20,000 investors and visitors from different economies – both developed and emerging.
How significant is the Annual Investment Meeting in increasing the flow of FDI?
The Annual Investment Meeting being held under the title, Partnerships for Total Growth and Sustainable Development, reflects the UAE’s vision and approach to meet the requirements of sustainable development through re-discovery of resources, diversifying sources of income in best method and exploring investment opportunities between different countries, he stressed.
Businesses and investors with potential investment opportunities and partnerships in various markets face various challenges as global economy changes. Annual Investment Meeting is a platform which will help businesses and investors to meet and create collaborations.
More than 40 ministers, one Head of State, more than 100 heads of investment organisations, 90 speakers are part of more than 1,000 delegates to participate at the three-day conference, exhibition, workshops, etc
More than 50 Country Pavilions and 100 Investment Promotion Agencies will offer investment opportunities to a large pool of investors.
More than 20,000 investors, financial institutions, institutional investors, delegates, government officials and participants will participate at a series of events – exhibition, conference, country presentations, investors hub, investment awards and capacity–building workshops – to help attract investment in specific economic sectors and free zones or special economic zones.
AIM will be spread across 8,000 square metres of net exhibition space in which participants from 140 countries will promote their investment projects, opportunities, services and attractions.
AIM includes 3-day series of conferences with world-renowned speakers from private and public institutions including high-level officials from the UAE, Russia, China, Georgia, Indonesia, Nigeria, Tatarstan, Portugal, and many more.
What is the role of start-ups in the UAE economy?
Start-ups are a vital sector and it is of special interest to the UAE government, which has a direct impact on pushing the country’s efforts to diversify the national economy and enhance the contribution of innovation and move towards a knowledge-based economy which is in line with the National Agenda and the UAE Vision 2021.
How do you see the development of AIM Startup as a platform?
AIM Startup intends to link start-up companies with major institutions, major investors and representatives of international companies, and groom them for potential partnership opportunities and their access to international markets.
AIM Startup was launched at the annual investment forum last year and witnessed a significant turnout.
During the current session, we look forward to raising the level of participation and enhancing the desired objectives, pointing out the participation of about 200 leading companies from inside and outside the country from the MENA region mainly.
Al Mansoori added that the conference is an ideal platform to support emerging companies, enhance their presence in regional and international markets, provide opportunities for access to new markets, and establish business partnerships with investors, entrepreneurs, representatives of international companies and government entities.
The start-up companies were selected through regional competitions held from November 2017 to February 2018, in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain and Egypt to compete for investments, as well as an opportunity to present their products in the market, front of regional and global audience.
Credits: Pan Asian Group