The Dubai Investment Development Agency (Dubai FDI), an agency of Dubai Economy, connected virtually with potential investors and partners from the United States to present opportunities in Dubai’s technology, healthcare and logistics sectors.
The outreach is part of Dubai FDI’s overall strategy of virtual engagement in 2020, presenting an array of investment opportunities during the period when in-person trade missions have been affected by COVID-19 restrictions.
Fahad Al Gergawi, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai FDI, said: “The US and the UAE historically have a strong trading partnership. Since 2009, the UAE has been the top export market for US goods in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Trade volume between the UAE and USA has increased by more than 40 per cent.”
Al Gergawi added: “With total trade between the two countries amounting to US$ 24.3 billion in 2019, this relationship is based on solid foundations. Over 60 percent of the ‘Fortune 1000’ companies have established a presence in Dubai, using the city as their regional base. “
The technology webinar was hosted by the US Consulate General, Dubai; US Commercial Service, Florida; and Enterprise Florida. Participants were welcomed by the US Consul General in Dubai, His Excellency Philip Frayne, and the webinar was moderated by Christian Koschil of US Commercial Service of the US Department of Commerce, which also made a presentation. The initiative is supported by the US-UAE Business Council, which is also an active participant in UAE in-person missions across the US.
HE Philip Frayne said: “I applaud Dubai FDI for conducting such important webinars on these three vital sectors. Programmes like these will help expand even further the already strong bilateral trade and investment ties that the UAE and USA enjoy. Once this pandemic passes I look forward to greeting delegations of American businessmen coming to Dubai to explore the great partnership opportunities that still exist.”
The UAE Consul General in New York, HE Abdalla Shaheen, presented his compliments, followed by a keynote address by Fahad Al Gergawi, CEO of Dubai FDI, and presentations by Engineer Saeed Al Awadi CEO of Dubai Exports as well as senior executives of Dubai Future Foundation, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), and Smart Dubai. Dubai FDI also made a presentation on the Dubai Advantage.
Organised by the law firm Seyfarth Shaw LLP and the US-UAE Business Council, with the support of US Commercial Service, the healthcare and logistics webinars brought together multiple government and corporate stakeholders in these sectors.
The UAE Consul General in Houston, HE Saeed Almheiri, delivered the opening speech at both webinars, highlighting the depth of trade ties between the US and the UAE. The US Commercial Service of the US Department of Commerce made presentations, while the CEOs of Dubai FDI and Dubai Exports addressed the audience.
At the healthcare webinar, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) highlighted its pioneering work in the field of 3D printing of prosthetics. Dubai Science Park (DSP) and Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC) presented their respective value propositions followed by the Dubai Advantage presentation by Dubai FDI.
At the session on logistics, Dubai South, Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA) and Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZA) presented the value these free zones offer. Emirates SkyCargo showcased its route network and capacity, followed by the ‘Dubai Advantage’ presentation from Dubai FDI.
Dubai has positioned itself as the city of the future as it deploys the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) to enhance stakeholder happiness. At the same time, Dubai remains an important gateway to the region’s emerging markets, while its advanced infrastructure positions it as a global hub for trade and investment.
Since 2015, the US has consistently been the largest source market for foreign direct investment (FDI) into Dubai, according to data from the Dubai FDI Monitor, accounting for US$ 4.98 billion (more than AED 18 billion) in the first nine months of 2019.
Ibrahim Ahli, Director, Investment Promotion, Dubai FDI, said: “Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Dubai has maintained its leading position among global FDI destinations during the first six months of 2020, ranking third globally in greenfield FDI Projects and fourth globally in FDI capital inflows.”
Ahli added: “This clearly reflects the positive investor sentiment based on the Dubai Government’s strong commitment to diversification, innovation, infrastructure and ease of doing business – among other factors.”
Medium and High technology investments in Dubai during the first half of 2020 also increased 53%, compared to the same period of 2019. As a prime mover in implementing the emerging technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and incubating high-technology start-ups, Dubai is one of the first in the world to utilise the benefits of Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics and machine learning, blockchain, financial technologies (FinTech) and HealthTech.
The tech focus and investor-enabling environment in Dubai has also seen a number of home-grown digital enterprises, most notably ride-hailing app Careem, e-commerce platform Souq.com, and dubizzle, fast emerging as unicorns and attractive targets for multinationals. Careem was acquired by Uber in 2019 and Souq.com by Amazon in 2017, while OLX bought dubizzle in 2015.
Dubai being an important centre for medical tourism also makes it an attractive investment destination. Dubai’s strategy of developing Centres of Excellence in fields as varied as cardiology, neurology, and rehabilitation is calibrated to balance supply with demand. Production of generic pharmaceuticals and the manufacturing, sales, and service of medical devices are also areas of focus.
Health expenditure in the UAE is expected to reach US$ 18.3 billion by 2023. Healthcare service delivery is a crucial part of Dubai’s digital readiness and innovation culture.
The US and the UAE have a long history of healthcare partnerships. Examples include the Dubai-based Valiant Clinic, which became a part of Houston Methodist’s Global Health Care Network, the American Hospital Dubai, which became the first hospital in the Middle East to join the Mayo Clinic Care Network, and the Cleveland Clinics operating in Abu Dhabi.
Dubai’s logistics capability and its status as a vital global logistics hub are enhanced by the fact that the city is home to the world’s 10th busiest sea and container port, one of the world’s largest airline networks, an ultra-modern highway system with connectivity to neighbouring countries, and 3PL (3rd Party Logistics) and climate-controlled warehousing facilities of the highest global standards.
The Dubai Plan 2021 includes logistics as a key pillar of development. With Expo 2020 scheduled for next year, the logistics landscape in Dubai is undergoing rapid transformation as it continues to be counted among the best in the world. An ever-increasing demand for e-commerce, which has seen increased acceptance and growth in 2020, has strengthened Dubai’s positioning as a leading hub for logistics within the Middle East and globally.