Stephanie Rich contributed to this story.
Several factors make the United Arab Emirates (UAE) a high-growth market. These include its business-friendly environment, strategic location as a global trade hub, world-class infrastructure and favourable government policies in promoting trade and investment. Resilient during the Covid-19 pandemic, the country is well-positioned to return industries to pre-pandemic growth levels, unlocking new opportunities for global investors.
Strategically located between Asia, Europe and Africa, the UAE ranks first among the most attractive countries for foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Middle East (ME) and Africa region.
Let’s take a closer look at Ras Al Khaimah or what some call it (“RAK”), the northernmost of the seven emirates – a 45-minute drive from Dubai – is emerging as one of the fastest growing economic areas, and A leading location for foreign investment in the region. Enter RAKEZ – Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone, a major commercial and industrial center with more than 15,000 companies in more than 50 industries, spread across three industrial zones, two commercial zones and one academic zone.
“Today, Ras Al Khaimah offers investors dynamic investment opportunities in transportation and logistics, hospitality and tourism, consumer, food and beverage, advanced manufacturing, aviation, automotive, mobility, education, healthcare, technology 5G and more. We We welcome and host companies from all over the world to set up shop and operate in our commercial and industrial parks and even our co-working centers,” said Ramy Jallad, CEO of RAKEZ Group.
Jallad holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Western Michigan University. With over 25 years of experience in commercial and industrial zones, business parks, airports and real estate development, he plays an important role in attracting foreign investors from all over the world.
“We have created an ecosystem that enables companies to operate on a business basis and get the best logistics available, whether it’s e-commerce, logistics or shipping and shipping, and produce their products in the fastest, fastest way possible and An efficient and cost-effective way of distributing around the world,” Jarrard said.
The government-created agency operates in a similar way to private companies, while helping businesses comply with UAE rules and regulations by providing them with support services such as permits, customizable facilities and visa facilitation.
Jallad said the region has successfully expanded its FDI portfolio, particularly in high-tech, artificial intelligence and lifestyle manufacturing.
According to the Ministry of Economy, foreign direct investment in the UAE has grown by 116 percent over the past decade, climbing from $9.6 billion in 2012 to $20.7 billion in 2021.
The UAE also recently announced an $820 million investment in its space program to help diversify its oil-dependent economy and encourage partnerships between international and local businesses.
At RAK, for example, acid battery recycling company Royal Gulf Industries recently announced a US$17 million investment in the UAE’s first environmentally friendly vehicle battery recycling centre.
Jarrard recently led an investment delegation to Canada, where he met with Canadian business leaders and potential investors representing Canada’s largest companies, managed investment firms and industry associations. The goal is to promote RAK as a leading investment destination and drive more North American businesses and partners to help realize the 2030 RAK Industrial Strategy in a range of key industries.
The investment mission to Canada is an example of how RAKEZ conducts targeted investor outreach and attraction and lead generation programs to support the Ras Al Khaimah government’s agenda to attract capital and investment while ensuring competitive business surroundings.
“We see untapped potential for Canadian businesses in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) market,” Jarrard said.
RAK is an attractive base for Canadian companies looking to enter the EMEA and GCC markets. Profit-maximizing benefits include 100% foreign ownership in free zones, attractive corporate and personal tax rates of 0% (the lowest in the world); 100% repatriation of capital and profits; affordable top talent, as well as regional 50% lower business operating costs on average, etc.
According to him, the Covid-19 pandemic may have played a role in turning the region into a magnet for global commerce. “When people put all their eggs in one basket, they learn it’s hard, and it really hurts them,” he said. “Because you have logistical issues, you have shutdown issues. The UAE has managed Covid very well. [Infection rates] always frustrating. Everyone is vaccinated. Business is still booming, so everyone wants to ride the waves in the UAE. “
So what about the global talent shortage? Attracting and retaining talent is not RAKEZ’s concern, the CEO said.
“Talent in the UAE has always been readily available,” he said. “We make people from all walks of life and from different cultures want to work.”
“There is no shortage of companies set up here, and they can bring their own talent from their home country or secure local talent,” he continued.