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Abu Dhabi calling
The emirate has big plans for the future, and although it has the money to fund them, it is scouting for international investors.
October 5, 2009 1:08 by Aarti Nagraj
The authorities at the conference also quoted the results of a recent survey conducted by the UAE Ministry of Economy, according to which the volume of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country increased from $25 billion in 2007 to $35 billion last year.
However, a recent report by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN-ESCWA) found that FDI in the UAE amounted to $13.7 billion in 2008, a decrease of 3.2 percent as compared to 2007. The report expected investments to fall further in 2009.
According to the report, decreasing FDI was a problem for the entire Arab region. The main problems hampering foreign investments include, “time-consuming procedures for obtaining licenses and implementing contracts, and the lack and/or incompetence of commercial courts to settle disputes between foreign investors and local parties,” said the report.
“We are taking these comments seriously,” said Omar Abdullah of the DED. “We are working on several initiatives to make sure we tackle these points.” He said that the government was working on measures to improve the business environment in the country.
According to him, meetings like the Abu Dhabi Investment Forum will help to promote the emirate and expose investors to the opportunities available here. Considering that investors from the UK account for 24.6 percent of FDI into the UAE, holding the forum in London seems like the logical thing to do.
And although organizers don’t as yet have any numerical backing, they say that the event last year was a big success.
But with the financial crisis, the image of neighboring Dubai has suffered a setback. So will Abu Dhabi be positioning itself differently to investors?
“First and foremost this is a federation,” explained Jeremy Parrish from Standard Chartered. “The United Arab Emirates, not Abu Dhabi takes a country and Dubai takes another country. So, I would ask you to draw your conclusions from that.”
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