The Dubai Investment Development Agency (Dubai FDI), an agency of Dubai Economy, hosted two webinars recently to connect with potential investors and partners from France and Switzerland and to explore opportunities in the strategic sectors of food & agribusiness, and technology.
In step with Dubai FDI’s engagement strategy for 2020, the webinars will provide a platform for stakeholders to explore foreign direct investment (FDI) opportunities at a time when in-person trade missions have been affected by the coronavirus COVID-19 restrictions.
Ibrahim Ahli, Director, Investment Promotion Division, Dubai FDI, said: “Europe and the UAE have a strong bilateral partnership forged on trade, cultural and social exchange. Both the food & agribusiness and the technology sectors are strategically important for Dubai and present enormous opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs from Europe.”
Ahli added: “Such mutually beneficial partnerships are the way of the future. Ensuring continuity of business is crucial at this time for all countries. These webinars help us present investment opportunities so that we remain on track to economic recovery and growth.”
The investor outreach, organised in partnership with multi-services platform M-HQ, kicked off with the food & agriculture sector in focus with investors from France, and was followed by the webinar on the technology sector with investors from Switzerland.
The UAE is France's second largest trade partner in the region. Non-oil trade between the two countries was valued at AED 27.62 billion in 2019. The UAE is also among the top importers of French products in the food and beverage category, with demand for French F&B products increasing by 50% over the 10 years up to 2019. French cream, cheese and butter continue be favourites in the UAE, with imports of these products totaling more than 7,500 tonnes in 2018.
The UAE's non-oil trade with Switzerland has surpassed AED 516 billion over the 10 years from 2010 to 2019. The non-oil trade of AED 65.23 billion with Switzerland in 2019 was an increase of 16.5% over the previous year and also positioned Switzerland as the UAE's fifth-largest trade partner.
The Dubai Advantage presented to potential investors at the two webinars by Dubai FDI was strengthened by the presence of key Dubai Government entities related to each of the sectors in focus. The webinars brought focus on the efforts under way to enhance stakeholder happiness and thus position Dubai as City of the Future. The role of Dubai as an important gateway to the region’s emerging markets and global hub for trade and investment was also highlighted by the speakers.
Representatives from Dubai Municipality (DM), Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA), and Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) joined Dubai FDI at the webinar on the food and agribusiness sector. Dubai’s focus on developing a robust food and agriculture ecosystem has proven to be an effective counter to potential international supply-chain disruptions this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. As a major re-export center, Dubai maintains excellent facilities for fresh produce and continues to focus on strategically targeted investments and policies to strengthen the ecosystem. Research and development of agricultural technologies that offer a variety of crops and yields continues to be an area of focus.
Smart Dubai, Dubai Future Foundation (DFF), and Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) joined Dubai FDI at the webinar on opportunities in Dubai’s technology sector. As a prime mover in implementing the emerging technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and incubating high-technology startups, Dubai is one of the first in the world to utilise the benefits of Artificial Intelligence, robotics and machine learning, Blockchain, financial technologies (fintech) and HealthIT. Along with these, Dubai’s focus is on 3D printing, cybersecurity, and geographic information systems (GIS).
From the FDI perspective, Dubai continues to attract high-quality investment. As a leading global FDI destination, Dubai recorded exceptional growth in FDI during the first six months of 2020, with 190 projects worth AED 12 billion, according to data from Dubai FDI Monitor, which uses Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) methodology to track FDI data.
Nearly 53% of the FDI attracted by Dubai during the first half of 2020 was directed to medium and high technology investments, underlining a growing recognition among global investors that Dubai is an ideal city in which to make technology-related investments.