The world’s nexus

UAE’s Investment Ecosystem

A platform for growth

We aim to cultivate the UAE’s dynamic ecosystem of capital, talent, and innovation, facilitating the exchange of ideas between the East and West. Our mission is to establish a sustainable platform for the advancement of technology, trade, and human capital, which will ultimately generate a positive impact that reaches far beyond our seven emirates, benefiting the entire region.



Diverse and
emerging sectors


Strategic geographic


A global nexus of


Global quality
of life standards


Gateway to
capital access


Overview of the UAE's investment landscape

The UAE offers an attractive investment environment with a vibrant culture, investor-friendly laws, strong security, and political stability. The 2018 Foreign Direct Investment Law has opened numerous opportunities in both mainland and free zone areas.


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  • #21 globally in UN's World Happiness Report, and #1 in the region
  • Ranks #12 safest country in Global Residence Index
  • #10 in healthcare efficiency, #22 in innovation, #1 in accredited health facilities
  • #21 globally in UN's World Happiness Report, and #1 in the region


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  • Attracts $22.7 billion in FDI, ranking #16 globally
  • $509 billion GDP, second-largest in the GCC and Arab world
  • Achieves a 10% CGAR
  • Contributes over 32% to the region's total FDI
  • Top foreign investment destination in the MENA region (2023)
  • Attracts $22.7 billion in FDI, ranking #16 globally


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  • Skilful and diverse workforce
  • #1 in Arab world for attracting and retaining talent according to the 2023 IMD World Talent Ranking
  • #22 in the IMD World Talent Ranking 2023 report
  • Arabic and English main languages
  • New visa system drawing qualified professionals and encouraging them to stay longer
  • Skilful and diverse workforce


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  • Ranks #16 in primary education quality, #12 in higher education quality, and #8 in teaching quality
  • Provides students with top-notch educational opportunities and a strong foundation by ensuring high teaching standards


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  • Dominates the Middle East's renewable energy capacity at 68%
  • #6 globally for the highest per capita consumption of solar energy
  • #1 in the MENA region and #11 globally in UNIDO's Quality Infrastructure for Sustainable Development Index
  • Dominates the Middle East's renewable energy capacity at 68%


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  • #4 in the world to launch commercial 5G services and #1 in the fastest mobile internet network ranking
  • #1 in region and #31 globally in the Global Innovation Index 2022
  • #1 in the Arab world and #28 globally in the Artificial Intelligence Index
  • #4 in the world to launch commercial 5G services and #1 in the fastest mobile internet network ranking

Promising and varied investment opportunities

The UAE is proactively encouraging the development of the knowledge and digital economy by identifying the following sectors as particularly promising:


In the 2023 global competitiveness rankings, the UAE has secured the top position in five critical indicators, including access to electricity and energy infrastructure.

Financial services

The UAE ranks second globally and first in Asia, Africa and Europe in consumer trust in banks, which stood at 84% in 2022, according to an Annual Trust Index Survey.

Life sciences

The UAE ranks second globally and first in Asia, Africa and Europe in consumer trust in banks, which stood at 84% in 2022, according to an Annual Trust Index Survey.


UAE aims to be home to 20 start-ups valued at more than $1 billion by 2031.


The UAE’s healthcare system is globally ranked within the top 50.


The UAE is ranked 10th globally in space walking missions outside the ISS  and is investing heavily in commercial space activities.


A significant producer of metals like aluminum and steel, as well as construction materials such as cement, ceramics, and glass.

Media and entertainment

The UAE's media and entertainment industry is booming, with ambitions to be a top 10 global box office market by 2030, hosting international film festivals and attracting major events.

Smart cities

Abu Dhabi and Dubai rank among the world's top 50 Smart Cities, leading the MENA region in the 'Smart City Index 2021,' with Dubai's forward-looking plan for autonomous transportation by 2030.


Boasts an impressive internet penetration rate of over 90%, one of the highest in the world.


Establishing a competitive knowledge economy is a national priority for the UAE government.

Logistics services

Ranked as the top improving GCC country on the 2023 World Bank Logistics Performance Index.

Medical tourism

Dubai ranks 6th globally and 1st in the MENA region for medical tourism, with excellent facilities and services.

Creative industries

The creative sector thrives, nurturing local talent and cultural expression, with Dubai designated as a UNESCO Creative City of Design in 2017, underscoring its dedication to creativity and culture.


Currently ranks 23rd out of 113 countries on the 2022 Global Food Security Index (GFSI).


An attractive destination with economic stability, and cultural diversity, and ranked second for fast-growing international arrivals.


The UAE ranks 28th out of the 131 economies included in the NRI 2022.

Renewable energy

The UAE has three of the world's largest solar plants and is reducing carbon emissions by 1 million metric tons annually, equivalent to removing 200,000 cars from the road.


The UAE was ranked 35th largest gaming market in the world in terms of revenue as of 2019 and was also ranked 5th globally for gaming influencers.

Seven emirates,
one vision for growth

Each emirate boasts distinctive assets and strengths, rendering the nation’s investment landscape both diverse and exceptional

UAE’s Investment Ecosystem

Nestled within the Middle East’s second-largest economy, Abu Dhabi strategically tailors its tax and legal systems to attract foreign investment. With zero income and corporation tax rates in most sectors, and measures in place to avoid double taxation, the emirate is a highly attractive destination for global investors. Special Economic Zones (SEZs) cater to finance, media, logistics, and sustainable energy sectors and they offer the benefit of up to 100% profit repatriation.

Abu Dhabi welcomes investors with long-term residency visa programmes, 100% foreign ownership in various sectors, and a superior standard of living. With advanced healthcare, reputable academic institutions, and top-tier international schools, the capital of the UAE has proven to be one of the most suitable places for investors seeking innovation, a progressive business environment, and a welcoming community.

Key considerations:

Geographical advantage:
  • Central location with access to vast global markets like India, Europe, and North Africa
  • About 80% of the world’s population within eight hours and 33% within four hours of flying time
Talent and innovation hub:
  • Competitive destination for top global talent
  • Recognised as a hub for digital and technological innovation
Vision for growth:
  • Economic diversification efforts are aligned with the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030
Fintech leadership:
  • Ambition to become the primary fintech hub for the Middle East
  • Heavy government investment in supporting fintech startups
Regulatory framework:
  • Established regulatory framework through Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM)
Tech innovation and startups:
  • Lively startup culture attracting substantial investment in the digital technology sector
  • Hub71, a tech innovation hub, brings together strategic partners
Incentives and support:
  • Six free zones
  • Incentive programmes offering funding for seed-level and emerging startups
  • Support for startups with office space, accommodation, and healthcare
  • Key sectors where incentives are offered include manufacturing, tourism, agritech, financial services, logistics, education, healthcare & biopharma, energy, ICT, property and technology
Global collaboration:
  • Collaborations with international entities like Microsoft and the Softbank Vision Fund
Tax incentives:
  • Zero income and corporation tax rates in most sectors
  • Agreements in place to avoid double taxation on overseas investments, promoting a favourable tax environment for foreign investors
UAE’s Investment Ecosystem

In a short period, Dubai has evolved from a local trading community into a global sensation, drawing attention with its inspirational transformation. Today, it is a highly sought-after destination for both tourists and businesses.

Boasting a diverse and multicultural population, Dubai provides a unique environment enriched by various cultures, offering an unrivalled quality of life and work in the Middle East. With a population largely composed of expatriates drawn by its lifestyle appeal and investment incentives, including tax-free policies and penalty-free repatriation of earnings, Dubai has become a bustling metropolis blending Emirati heritage, Arabian vitality, Western spontaneity, and Asian ambition.

Serving as the gateway between East and West, Dubai has emerged as the preferred hub for the region’s imports and exports market, capitalising on its strategic location and easy access to more than 2 billion consumers across a centralised time zone that harmonises East and West business hours.

Key considerations:

Strategic location:
  • Dubai lies at the heart of the MENA region, connecting over 240 cities worldwide by air
Quality of life:
  • Enjoys the status as a global city with a high quality of life and living standards
Transport facilities:
  • One of the best transport infrastructure facilities globally
Digital initiatives:
  • Initiatives like the Dubai Metaverse strategy, Paperless strategy, and technology-based approaches attract international ESG investors
Ease of doing business:
  • Transparent and streamlined business registration processes, low-cost office spaces and warehouses, 26 free zones
Tax incentives:
  • Enjoys the status as a tax haven, as well as competitive corporate tax rates, and tax holidays for businesses in free zones
Investor services:
  • Dedication to investor services, creating business opportunities and protecting foreign investments
Future prospects:
  • With a stable economy, Dubai remains committed to diversifying the economy, attracting investment in future-focused sectors, and enhancing growth opportunities in the digital economy property
UAE’s Investment Ecosystem

An emirate where collaboration between entrepreneurs and governmental bodies creates a dynamic environment for both SMEs and global enterprises. With a rising GDP, a diverse economy, and a growing population of educated youth, Sharjah offers long-term investment opportunities and access to global markets.

Recognised as the UAE’s cultural capital and education hub, Sharjah is increasingly known for sustainability initiatives and as a world-class centre for R&D and innovation.

Government support, cost advantages, and a culture of innovation make Sharjah a prime choice for multinational corporations seeking a Middle Eastern base, strategically located between Europe and East Asia.

Key considerations:

Economy and infrastructure:
  • A stable economy with excellent infrastructure and living standards
Industrial growth:
  • The emirate’s manufacturing sector contributes 7% to Sharjah’s GDP.
  • More than 35% of the UAE’s manufacturing industries are based in Sharjah
Strategic location:
  • Multiple ports on the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman
  • Central location in the UAE, making it an attractive investment destination.
  • Boasts 33 industrial zones and 6 free zones
Technological leadership:
  • Regional leader in 3D printing technologies, industrial automation, robotics, and drone aircraft production
Vibrant manufacturing sector:
  • The manufacturing sector records significant growth, covering diverse industries such as petrochemicals, plastics, metal manufacturing, textiles, printing, packaging, food processing, and automotive components.
  • Advanced manufacturing sector expected to grow to USD599 million by 2025
Investment opportunities:
  • The industrial sector benefits from agile legislative and regulatory frameworks
  • 35% of the nation’s manufacturing operations are located in Sharjah
Future-focused sectors:
  • Focus on areas such as 3D printing technologies, industrial automation projects, robotics, and drone
Government support:
  • Sharjah supports the UAE’s national strategy, Operation 300 Billion
Incentives and services:
  • Provides integrated services to current and prospective investors
Investor services:
  • Offers incentive packages for investors in such fields as culture & tourism, mobility & logistics, health and wellbeing, green tech, human capital and innovation, advanced manufacturing, and agri-food technology
UAE’s Investment Ecosystem

The Emirate of Ajman holds a strategic location with proximity to the economic and industrial centres of Dubai and Sharjah, accessible through the Arabian Gulf. With a comparatively low cost for business establishment, Ajman has positioned itself as an emerging commercial hub, drawing the interest of both local and international investors.

The emirate’s commitment to sustainable economic development through substantial investments in digital transformation, smart government services, and modern infrastructure, sets the stage for a thriving business ecosystem. Additionally, Ajman’s focused development in the tourism and property sectors, including the introduction of short-term rentals and varied accommodation options, is reshaping the UAE’s tourism landscape and opening new avenues for property investment.

Key considerations:

Location and infrastructure:
  • Convenient location with two free zones and easy access to the economic and industrial hubs of Dubai and Sharjah
  • Continuous investment in progressive infrastructure to facilitate business operations
Supportive environment:
  • Government commitment to economic development and creating a supportive investment climate
  • Policies designed to attract and nurture economic growth
Development initiatives:
  • Clear path, vision, and goals outlined by the government for the economic development of the emirate
  • Provision of necessary facilities and incentives to attract and encourage investors
Vibrant economy:
  • Construction, building, and property sectors are the major GDP contributors at 31.9%, while the manufacturing and trade sectors each contributed 18.8%.
Lower costs:
  • Lower operational costs, skilled labour, and promising investment opportunities in industrial, tourism, and service sectors
Unique heritage:
  • Steeped in history, Ajman is actively seeking to achieve its development vision
Promising sectors:
  • Farming technology, food industries, desalination & water purification, renewable energy, R&D, financial services technology, AI, software & robotics
UAE’s Investment Ecosystem

Umm Al Quwain is rapidly emerging as a vibrant destination for investors, offering a stable economy and a welcoming investment climate. The Umm Al Quwain Free Trade Zone (UAQ FTZ) epitomises an investor-friendly environment, tailored specifically for SMEs and micro-businesses, with benefits like 100% foreign ownership and easy registration processes.

The zone is equipped with well-designed executive offices and co-working spaces, fostering an ideal environment for business expansion. Committed to sustainable development, UAQ FTZ integrates eco-friendly practices, positioning Umm Al Quwain as a leader in responsible business growth. The emirate also presents boundless opportunities for networking and business development, with access to a wide array of companies and entrepreneurs from across the globe.

Key considerations:

Strategic market access:
  • UAQ Free Zone location enables low-cost living for labour
  • Businesses in the UAQ Free Zone can access millions of customers from different regions
  • Proximity to the UAE’s main seaport, Dubai International Airport, and Sharjah International Airport facilitates trade logistics
Efficient business setup:
  • UAQ Free Zone Authority streamlines the business setup process, allowing entrepreneurs to establish a company in as little as 3 to 5 working days
Low set up the cost:
  • The business set up cost is comparatively low in UAQ which makes the new entrepreneurs with limited capital get attracted towards it
Affordable licences:
  • The free zone provides low-priced licences, starting at approximately AED13,500 (USD3,576), making it cost-effective for entrepreneurs to initiate micro-businesses. Additional costs for resident visas are transparent, with a single investor visa for three years priced at AED2,500 (USD680)
Remote business setup:
  • Foreign investors can establish companies in the UAQ Free Zone from abroad, requiring only the signing of incorporation documents and couriering them to the appointed agent for registration on behalf of the company by UAQ authority
Diverse licence options:
  • Entrepreneurs can acquire licences tailored to their chosen business activities, spanning commercial, industrial, consultancy, service, freelance, and micro-business categories
No restrictions on hiring:
  • There are no limitations on hiring foreign employees in the free zone
UAE’s Investment Ecosystem

In the dynamic world of global investments, Ras Al Khaimah (RAK), a lesser-known gem of the UAE, is increasingly being recognised as an appealing choice for investors exploring opportunities across diverse sectors. Positioned strategically, boasting business-friendly policies, and expanding infrastructure, RAK is asserting itself as a burgeoning investment hub.

The emirate operates as a free trade zone, extending various advantages to entrepreneurs, including complete foreign ownership, unrestricted repatriation of capital and profits, and a zero-tax policy on import and export activities. These initiatives not only open avenues for new business prospects but also enhance the city’s appeal for foreign investments, positioning it as a globally competitive destination.

Key considerations:

Strategic location:
  • Positioned at the crossroads of Asia, Europe, and Africa, RAK serves as an ideal gateway for businesses to access Middle Eastern and global markets
Business-friendly environment:
  • Renowned for its investor-friendly policies, RAK offers incentives like tax exemptions, and simplified registration processes, incentivising entrepreneurship and innovation
Economic diversification:
  • Committed to diversification beyond oil and gas, RAK has invested in sectors such as manufacturing, tourism, property, and renewable energy, providing diverse investment opportunities
Infrastructure development:
  • Substantial investments in transport, healthcare, education, and tourism infrastructure ensure that residents and businesses have access to world-class facilities and services
Marjan Island:
  • A hotspot for luxury property projects, with major developers aiming to transform it into a world-class destination, offering breathtaking views and an opulent lifestyle
Development zones:
  • Home to strategic development zones like Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) and Al Hamra Industrial Zone, providing specialised infrastructure and incentives for businesses
Business Parks:
  • Four distinct free zone parks catering to different business sectors and investor needs
  • The business park, centrally located near key facilities like RAK Exhibition Centre, Hilton Hotel, and Al Manar Shopping Mall, is dedicated to office-based companies and service providers
Industrial Park:
  • Positioned 15 kilometres north of the city and 6 kilometres from Saqr Port, the largest bulk container port in the MENA region
  • Supports heavy construction industries and facilitates easy access to growing regional markets
Technology Park:
  • Located in the South of RAK, close to Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah International Airport
  • Focused on light industries and automated manufacturing
Academic Park:
  • Hosts a variety of educational programmes offering undergraduate and graduate courses
  • Provides an academic environment within the free zone, supporting knowledge-based initiatives
Sustainability initiatives:
  • RAK emphasises sustainability and environmental conservation through green initiatives, energy-efficient projects, and ecofriendly developments, appealing to socially responsible investors
Potential for tourism:
  • Rich cultural heritage and historical sites attract tourists, offering diverse opportunities in the hospitality and tourism sector, from luxury resorts to cultural attractions
Future focused:
  • The Investment and Development office (IDO) is the investment arm of the Government of Ras Al Khaimah, driving economic growth and generating sustainable financial returns for the emirate’s development
  • IDO manages a diverse portfolio across various sectors including property, tourism and hospitality, manufacturing, mining, energy and utilities, transport and logistics, education, healthcare, and financial services
UAE’s Investment Ecosystem

An evolving investment destination in the UAE, Fujairah is actively pursuing economic diversification offering a rich array of investment prospects spanning tourism, mining, and small to medium-sized industries.  

Capitalising on its strategic location and fortified infrastructure encompassing land, sea, and air networks, the emirate has solidified its role as a key player in both regional and global trade.

With a steadfast commitment to sustainable development, complemented by investor-friendly policies and proactive initiatives led by Fujairah Holding and Fujairah Investment Company, the emirate emerges as a compelling and profitable choice for astute investors seeking both growth and sustainability.

Key considerations:

Strategic location:
  • Fujairah’s strategic location on the Gulf of Oman sets it apart from other UAE emirates, offering businesses a logistical advantage by enabling ships to avoid the congested Strait of Hormuz during transit
Port of Fujairah:
  • The port’s deep waters accommodate ultra-large crude carrier size ships, making it the world’s second-largest bunkering destination for cargo ships. This has attracted major fuel trading and supply companies
  • The port serves as a major hub for global fuel trading and supply companies, offering refueling and restocking services for cargo ships
Global trade:
  • Fujairah’s crucial shipping route status opens global trade opportunities and makes it an ideal location for businesses engaged in international trade
Fujairah Free Zones (FFZ):
  • Established in 1991, hosts more than 2,000 companies across sectors
  • Particularly attractive for export-oriented manufacturing due to low setup costs and proximity to Port of Fujairah
Cost effective:
  • Fujairah provides the flexibility of setting up a business at the lowest cost
Multiple residency visas:
  • Allows business owners to apply for several visas without the need to lease physical office space
Creative city:
  • Specialised hub for media-related businesses
  • Competitive licencing fees, making it a viable option compared to other regional media hubs
  • Cost-effective alternative with no share capital deposit requirements
Incentives and services:
  • Offers incentive packages for investors in key sectors such as petroleum, mining, port services, free zone services, commercial, industrial and tourism