SHARJAH, 8th February, 2023 (WAM) — In the presence of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Salem bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, and Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), the sixth edition of the Sharjah Investment Forum (SIF) officially launched today at Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre.
Themed “Redefining Economies: Making Significant Strides for a Better Future”, SIF 2023 aims to provide a platform for exploring investment opportunities in Sharjah, which has an integrated infrastructure with six free zones and 33 industrial zones, flexible laws and regulations, and a focus on sustainability and green growth.
The two-day event is bringing together over 1,600 participants, including international experts, senior officials, investors, and business leaders, to discuss the latest market trends and developments in the global investment sector.
Sheikh Abdullah Al Qasimi and Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi visited the forum venue to discuss Shurooq’s vision and aspirations for the event. They visited the exhibits of partners, showcasing the latest offerings, services, and products from key industries. Sheikha Bodour emphasised the importance of this year’s forum theme and its impact on investment choices by regional investors, stressing the need to accelerate investment in sustainable future initiatives.
The Minister of Economy, Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, spoke at the Sharjah International Forum and highlighted the success of the UAE in attracting foreign investments, ranking first in FDI inflow from the Middle East, North Africa and West Asia. In 2021, the UAE attracted US$21 billion in FDI, marking a 15 percent growth from pre-pandemic levels and accounting for 40 percent of total FDI in Arab countries.
The UAE is also a leading investment-exporting country, ranking 17th globally with US$22.5 billion in foreign investment flows, due to strategic economic and social initiatives such as 100 percent foreign ownership allowed by the amended Commercial Companies Law and the modernization of visa and residency systems. The forum aims to contribute to the UAE’s goal of attracting US$150 million by 2031.
According to Bin Touq, the UAE recorded unprecedented annual growth rates of 8.5 percent in 2022, with foreign trade reaching a record of AED 2.2 trillion and non-oil exports growing by 52 percent to reach AED 366 billion.
Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, CEO of Shurooq, emphasised the growth of foreign investments in the UAE, which has risen from US$8.55 billion in 2015 to US$20.7 billion in 2021, outpacing global rates. He highlighted Sharjah’s attractive investment environment, with its well-developed infrastructure, favorable laws, and dedication to the green and circular economies, as well as its efforts to enhance its capabilities in areas such as agriculture, food security, information technology, and artificial intelligence. Al Qaseer also emphasised Sharjah’s prioritisation of a shared vision and cooperation to attract and maintain investments, with Shurooq being part of the integrated system working through the Sharjah Foreign Investment Office (Invest in Sharjah) to support investor experiences and diversify investment opportunities.
The CEO of Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah), Mohammed Juma Al Musharrakh, highlighted the emirate’s commitment to sustainability, with its waste-to-energy city and investment in key economic sectors, including 35 percent of the country’s factories and nearly US$1.5 billion (AED5.5 billion) annually in education and research.
On the first day of the SIF 2023, Shark Tank star Robert Herjavec shared his thoughts on the importance of innovation, adaptation, and investment in new technologies for success in the virtual economy. He praised Sharjah’s trailblazing efforts, including investment in various sectors, contributing to its growth, even during the economic turmoil brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.
During the event, two memorandums of understanding were signed by Juma Al Musharrakh with the UAE Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.
The SIF 2023 also includes discussions on the green economy, women entrepreneurship in the digital economy, fintech, and investment opportunities between Sharjah and Hong Kong. The “Investor Lounge” provides attendees with the opportunity to network and build relationships with international investment influencers.