All the emirates in the UAE including Abu Dhabi and Dubai compete with each other to attract foreign investment because rivalry is essential for growth, say experts.
Speaking at the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) in Dubai, Fahad Al Gergawi, CEO of Dubai FDI said that not all competition is bad.
“We like that competition…It helps us discover new ideas and promotes our drive for excellence,” he said. “It is better for us to compete within ourselves rather than compete outside.”
Earlier this year, Dubai FDI, which is the foreign investment office in the Department of Economic Development, reported 16.6 per cent increase in FDI facilitated into Dubai during 2012 – from Dhs3.6 billion in 2011 to Dhs4.2 billion in 2012.
“While the UAE has common regulations for areas such as licensing, company registration etc, each emirate also can promote certain businesses in areas such as free zones,” he said.
Overall, the UAE currently has over 32 free zones, around 20 of which are in Dubai, he added.
Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi is currently on track to announce a new financial free zone or a “financial sector”, confirmed Hamad Abdullah Al Mass, executive director, International Economic Relations Sector at the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Department.
Details about the project will soon be announced by Mubadala, which is managing the development, he stated.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM), Al Mass however stated that the new zone would not compete with the neighbouring Financial Centre.
“I think it will be complementary. But I think for Abu Dhabi it will be a financial sector. There was a debate whether to make it a financial sector or a free zone.
“In Abu Dhabi, we need investment tools, we need to develop a debt market, so we will complement Dubai in many financial aspects,” he added.
The emirate will also be developing free zones for certain industrial sectors within the Abu Dhabi Airport Company Free Zone, Al Mass stated.