UAE Investment Map to Encourage Foreign Investors

In an effort to encourage foreign investors to bring their capital to Abu Dhabi, the UAE has set up a “consolidated investment map,” according to a report in the Khaleej Times.  Together with the Ministry of Economy’s Investment Department, Dar-Al-Tawasol (a private marketing firm) has developed a “strategy to market the investment potential of the seven emirates to the global investors, in a project that would span seven years.”  By the end of the year, as noted by the marketing company’s CEO, Feras Dahlan, four investment promotion offices will be open with plans for more in the coming years.

Deciphering the Map

So what would the map do?  According to Dahlan, it would “disseminate information to potential investors, and guide them into the country.”  He explained this to diplomats in Abu Dhabi.  It is hoped that efforts will be coordinated to “promote the UAE as an investment hub” through these offices.  As a way of bringing initial investments, the first focus will be on the 12 industrial nations: Argentina, Brazil, China, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, UK and the US.

Investment Opportunities

The main areas of possible investment will be: aluminum, automotive, aviation, energy, renewable energy and ICT sectors.  It seems that these areas specifically have a “huge potential to attract foreign investment.”  There are other areas that also might be attractive to foreign investors such as: education, health, finances and tourism.

Project Launch

The project is due to start in Abu Dhabi via an international investors’ conference on November 9th to 11th.  The aim is that this conference will become an annual event and will be held in a different emirate each year, on a rotation basis.  It also seeks to: “highlight the investment opportunities in the each of the federating units in line with their investment plans.”

Happy Days for UAE

Well, anyone living and investing in the UAE should be pretty happy. Things are going well which is why it shouldn’t be such a great surprise that the population has more than doubled in the last few years. In fact, figures show that there has been an increase of a staggering 65 percent inhabitants in the region from 2006 to 2010. This could be to do with the economy since most of these newbies to the area are comprised of overseas investors and workers with a mere 11 percent of those living there being UAE nationals at the end of June 2010. It is Abu Dhabi that has had the large influx of investors.

GDP Rise

The region’s non-oil GDP was said to have increased by 3.3 percent over the course of the year, according to figures released by the International Monetary Fund, as opposed to the 2.1 percent figure of last year. Additional development is anticipated due to the UAE’s “low interest rates, strong crude prices and better prospects promote expansion. ” People living in the area are thrilled with the news and “optimistic” that such trends are set to continue.

More Pocket Money?

But, at the end of the day, it remains unclear as to whether all this good news will mean more money in the pocket of the average UAE citizen. Apparently it may not. It looks like salaries are going to either stay the same or just increase a minimal amount. This is despite the fact that it seems to be an employee’s market right now as companies are on the lookout for a not-endless supply of skilled workers. So it seems a bit strange that salaries remain under lock and key. Nonetheless it’s all relative. Despite the lack of rising salaries, according to a study these salaries are still at the top of the entire Middle East market.

South Korea ADIA Merger

In an attempt to escalate investments for the two, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) is joining up with South Korea, seeking to develop the region’s state-run funds in a global capacity. The latter is known as being “one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds.” The National Pension Service (NPS) and Korea Investment Corp (KIC) are set to reap most benefits from this alliance which will enable ADIA to make investments through a South Korean local brokerage.

NPS Credibility

The NPS has some serious credibility. It is the world’s fourth leader in pension funds, standing at over 300 trillion won. But one can always take things further. It is today trying to escalate its overseas investments in the field of resources development.

KIC Financing

Where does the Korea Investment Corporation fit into all this? This organization has only been around for just over five years with the aim of “enhancing sovereign wealth and contribut[ing] to the development of the financial industry by efficiently managing assets entrusted by the Government and the Bank of Korea.” As well, it seeks to keep hold of its long-term purchasing power on its assets and “exceed investment target return” through the investment of “well-diversified, foreign currency denominated assets transacted in the international capital markets.”

ADIA’s Portfolio

ADIA is pretty impressive too. Owned by the Abu Dhabi government, the authority has been in business for over 35 years and is today recognized as a “globally diversified investment institution.” It spans over two-dozen areas, including: fixed income, private equity, infrastructure and equities.

So all in all this merger looks like it’s going to be mutually beneficial to the region and the authority. As soon as there is such a cohesion, it has a much greater possibility of being able to have a much larger and longer-term impact on the global economy.