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© Provided by Khaleej Times International cooperation key to stronger post-Covid economy: UAE minister

Increased cooperation between countries will be the key to a stronger and more resilient post-Covid-19 economy, said Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, UAE Economy Ministry.

Speaking at the Global Investment Forum 2021 on Wednesday morning, he highlighted the benefits of investing in the UAE due to growing industrial diversification, financial investment deregulations, and the increase in free-trade zones available.

“We are here to discuss the future of the global economy following a year of challenges,” he said in his opening remarks.

“Today’s forum is taking place during a crucial moment for our country; we have a little over 200 days left to achieve the UAE Vision 2021. What the UAE has succeeded in doing is ensuring its status as a global business and trading hub.”

However, he said that there is still much more work to be done. “We continue to take steps to enhance the ease of doing business in the country. Most recently, we have established several measures that allow 100 per cent foreign ownership of companies here in the UAE, and provided measures that protect businesses in emergency situations.”

He also said that the UAE is focused on strengthening its existing trade ties with global economic partners, while continuing to explore ways of improving the scope of business partnerships with new players. “We are talking about a population of four billion people that live in the region from the far East to the far West of Africa.”

He also revealed how foreign direct investment (FDI) to the UAE surged 44 per cent to reach Dh73.45 billion in 2020. “This is mainly due to the measures and incentives we created. We are also accelerating our transition towards a digital economy and identifying new ways to support and grow outside our existing ecosystem. Many startups such as Careem and have found success here in the UAE and benefitted from the regulatory environment, connections to global investors, and strong governmental support.”

Dubai recorded Dh24.7 billion worth of FDI in 2020 across 455 projects, according to data from the Dubai FDI Monitor released by the Dubai Investment Development Agency (Dubai FDI), an agency of Dubai Economy. Around 18,000 new jobs were created by the invested FDI in 2020, according to the Dubai FDI Monitor, which uses the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) methodology to track FDI data. Dubai is ranked first in the Middle East and North Africa region and fourth globally in attracting greenfield FDI capital. More than 50 per cent of all declared FDI projects in the emirate are classified as greenfield FDI.

Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi also highlighted the potential of the UAE-Israel trade relations. “In just nine months, after we signed the Abraham Accords, trade between the two sides has exceeded Dh1.3 billion and we have signed around 25 agreements. In the UAE, we believe that increased cooperation between countries will be the key to a stronger and more resilient post-Covid-19 economy.”