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Dubai ... a major FDI target city

Dubai ranks #1 for attracting greenfield FDI projects, says report

DUBAI, May 15, 2024

Dubai has ranked No 1 for attracting global greenfield foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in 2023, for the third successive year, according to the Financial Times’ ‘fDi Markets’ data, a report said.

The city was also No 1 globally within key clusters including consumer goods, energy, e-commerce, and tourism for Greenfield FDI projects attraction, Greenfield FDI capital attraction, and jobs created through FDI attraction, Emirates News Agency, WAM, said.

Aligned with the ambitious goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 to double the size of the city's economy by 2033, the global FDI performance underscores its robust economic growth and attractiveness to international investors, a statement said.

In 2023, Dubai welcomed 1,070 global Greenfield FDI projects – 142% more than second-placed Singapore (442) and 148% more than third-placed London (431). In the past five years, Dubai’s global share in attracting such projects has more than tripled, increasing from 1.7% in 2019 to 6% in 2023.

Highlighting its appeal as a headquarters destination, Dubai ranked No 1 globally for HQ FDI projects for the second year in a row, after attracting an impressive 60 projects in 2023.

Singapore and London were second and third globally, with 40 and 31 HQ FDI projects respectively.

Overall, Dubai also ranked fourth globally in the number of jobs created through Inward FDI, up from fifth in 2022, and for Greenfield FDI capital attraction it ranked fifth globally, up two spots from seventh position.

His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, said: “Dubai’s ability to secure the No 1 ranking in global greenfield FDI projects in 2023 for the third consecutive year demonstrates the city’s ability to continually generate new opportunities for global businesses.

“The growing FDI inflows support the objective of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to double the size of the emirate’s economy by 2033.”

According to “Dubai FDI Monitor” data, the emirate recorded a total of 1,650 announced FDI projects in 2023, a strong growth of 39% compared to the 1,188 FDI projects in 2022. These projects included Greenfield FDI, new forms of investments (NFIs), mergers and acquisitions (M&A), reinvestments, venture capital (VC)-backed FDI, and Greenfield joint ventures.

The data revealed a significant upswing in job creation through FDI in Dubai, increasing by 15.5% YoY with 44,771 total estimated jobs. This growth was primarily driven by retail, business services, headquarters, sales, marketing support, and manufacturing.

Greenfield FDI wholly-owned projects recorded a slight percentage increase with an increase of 260 FDI projects in 2023 from 2022, according to Dubai FDI Monitor data, while New Forms of Investments saw projects growing from 25.2% in 2022 to 31.4% in 2023 – a 6.2% rise YoY.

In the technology sector, the percentage of high and medium-tech projects in Dubai was 58 percent in 2023, when measured by share of total FDI.

Dubai remained the top city destination globally across several key technologies, with artificial intelligence (AI), FinTech, cloud computing, and cybersecurity featuring prominently. The city also placed first for the estimated number of jobs created by e-commerce investments.

According to UN Trade & Development, Global foreign direct investment (FDI) flows in 2023, at an estimated $1.37 trillion, showed an increase of 3% over 2022. Yet, excluding few large European deals, global FDI flows were 18% lower. In line with global FDI flows, Dubai attracted an estimated AED39.26 billion ($10.69 billion) in total FDI capital during 2023.

Dubai FDI Monitor data revealed that the top five source countries by FDI capital accounted for 66.6% of the total estimated flows into Dubai in 2023, while for FDI projects, the top five source countries accounted for almost 55.7% for the same period.

Canada featured in the top five source countries by FDI capital due to one large M&A deal – Canada-based Brookfield Business Partners acquiring Network International for $2.76 billion.

The top five source countries by total estimated FDI capital into Dubai in 2023 were Canada (26.5%), United States (17.5%), Saudi Arabia (8.9%), United Kingdom (8.2%), and India (5.5%), while the top five source countries based on total announced FDI projects were the United States (15.5%), United Kingdom (15.3%), India (14.9%), France (6.3%), and Italy (3.6%).

The top five sectors accounted for 67.6% of the total estimated FDI capital flows into Dubai in 2023, and 69.3% of total announced FDI projects, according to Dubai FDI Monitor data.

In 2023, the top five business functions accounted for 73.7% of the total estimated FDI capital flows into Dubai, and 96% of total announced FDI projects, according to Dubai FDI Monitor data.


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