Sharjah has six specialised free zones and 33 industrial zones.
The Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah)’s recently published FDI Future Trends & Sector Potential report has identified seven high-potential sectors that are powering qualitative and sustainable strategic investments into the emirate and strengthening the emirate’s competitiveness on the global economic and investment landscape.
The report was developed in collaboration with numerous government departments and private sector entities in the emirate and in partnership with PwC Middle East. Supported by real time performance statistics, the report details that despite sharp declines in investment inflows experienced globally since the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak, Sharjah continues to be an attractive FDI destination in major sectors of Health & Wellbeing, Mobility & Logistics, Culture & Tourism, Agri-Food Technology, GreenTech, Human Capital & Innovation, and Advanced Manufacturing.
Sharjah’s and the UAE’s business-friendly environment backed by modern legislation, future-ready infrastructure, a highly talented workforce and more than 60,000 SMEs and startups have been stated by the report as key factors that boost their FDI attractiveness. For Sharjah, in particular, the six specialised free zones and 33 industrial zones, strategic location and global connectivity via sea and air routes and ports on both Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Gulf have yet again proved the emirate’s appeal as a gateway to the GCC and the wider region with a GDP of $1.6 trillion (Dhs5.88 trillion).
The report highlights that the UAE is one of the world’s most open and investor-friendly economies which has attracted high volumes of foreign investments in the past few years, noting that Sharjah leverages UAE’s global reputation to build on its status as a go-to FDI destination in the region.
Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, Acting CEO of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority, said: “Today, Sharjah is home to many investment opportunities in various fields, especially in the new economy sectors, advanced industries, tourism, agriculture, innovation and others. With advanced infrastructure and agile legislation, the emirate has become a premier destination for businesses and a capital of industry in the region. We look forward to welcoming new companies to Sharjah that will undoubtedly benefit from the accelerating growth and ongoing support of creative projects in the emirate and the UAE.”
Mohamed Juma Al Musharrkh, CEO of Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah), said: “In the post-COVID world, investments in technology are outpacing all other sectors. Sharjah’s unveiling of the first 3D printing house in the region signals its competitiveness in advanced manufacturing.”
He added: “Invest in Sharjah is keen on attracting and facilitating investments seeking growth in the emirate’s secure and stable environment. Leveraging the close relationship between our private and public sectors, we can facilitate investors’ access to incredible investment opportunities and provide all the support needed, starting from ideation to project launch.”
“Our team provides investors with reliable market information and analytics, in addition to sharing valuable input on each case based on their extensive experience in the field, which helps investors make sound and confident decisions. We also have the Sharjah Investors Services Center (SAEED), a one-stop shop for investors to set up their businesses and complete governmental transactions in Sharjah”, he concluded.
Against the backdrop of a devastating pandemic that swept the world, Sharjah minimised its financial impact on its economy by successfully attracting FDI worth US$ 220 million (Dhs 808 milion), including a 60 percent growth in FDI projects in Q3 and Q4 compared to 2019, which led to the creation of 1,117 new jobs. This strong trajectory of growth during Covid-19 is a reflection of the high performance of the ICT sector which recorded 55.6 percent growth, followed by Food & Agriculture Industries at 49.7 percent, and Life Sciences sector, which grew by 47 percent, and finally, Logistics and Distribution, which registered a 46.2 percent growth.
The UAE’s per capita health expenditure in 2019 was recorded as US$ 1,643 (Dhs 6,035), and the growth projection for the nation’s pharmaceutical sector is 7.3 percent annually to reach US$ 4.7billion (Dhs17.26 billion) by 2024. All this means that Sharjah’s potential to benefit from FDI in these sectors is massive.
Owing to a growing ageing demographic, an overall rise in population and medical advances, Sharjah’s health and wellbeing sector is primed to witness a boost in foreign investments. The UAE’s status as one of the top ten global healthcare destinations as per Medical Tourism Index, has an added positive impact.
Within this sector, the Invest in Sharjah report has highlighted maximum investment opportunities in three key sub-sectors: Pharmaceutical Manufacturing & Precision Medicine leveraging the emirate’s robust infrastructure in manufacturing tailored medical products; Specialised Healthcare Institutes including elderly care and rehab centres; and Wellness & Medical Tourism due to the emirate being recognised as a preferred low-cost destination for medical tourism in the region.