Foreign investors show renewed interest in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi issued 25,427 new economic licenses in 2021, a 21.5% increase on the 2020 figure of 20,925, according to the 2021 Business Activity Report published by the Abu Dhabi Business Center at the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED).
And the number of new licenses issued to foreign investors grew from six in 2020 to 273 in 2021.
The report also revealed that renewed economic licenses increased to 83,484, growing by 15.8% on the 2020 figure, indicating the continued post-pandemic recovery being experienced by the Emirate.
ADDED’s Rashed Abdulkarim Al Blooshi said: “As a result of the Emirate’s pre-emptive approach towards tackling the effects of the pandemic whilst prudently driving the macro-economy forward, Abu Dhabi was able to forge ahead successfully with its growth and diversification roadmap.
“The economic landscape in Abu Dhabi has been crafted to offer businesses and entrepreneurs a compelling proposition, something made possible by our evolved and digitalised infrastructure.”
The report also found that freelance licenses issued in 2021 increased to 1,749 from 279 in 2020; and virtual licenses that were launched in Q4 2021 for non-resident foreign investors accounted for 11 licenses, according to Wam, the state-run news agency.
Al Blooshi added: “Initiatives such as the Investor Journey programme which was responsible for driving a 71% reduction in business set-up requirements in coordination with 26 local and federal government entities, and the lowering of ADDED setup and renewal fees by 90%, have facilitated ease of doing business for investors and entrepreneurs.
“We also pride ourselves with the integrated public-private business partner eco-system which we managed to create to allow businesses to benefit from and thrive.”
According to the Business Activity Report, of the 25,427 economic licenses issued, commercial sector licenses made up 24,077, up 21.4% on 2020’s figure, with the professional sector taking up 711 licenses, up 35.7% from 524 licenses in 2020.
Tourism sector recovery
Agricultural, livestock and fisheries sector licenses were slightly lower at 64 in 2021, compared with 70 in 2020. Tourism sector licenses grew to 126 in 2021, up from 89 in 2020, an increase of 41.4%, while industrial sector licenses grew to 206 from 180 licenses, 14.4% up on 2020’s figure.
Occupational sector licenses rose 9% from 223 in 2020 to 243 licenses in 2021.
Al Blooshi said: “We are witnessing the gradual and calculated growth of businesses across all sectors and industries, and this is testament to the efforts made towards taking Abu Dhabi’s economy through to the next level of its evolution.
“For ADDED during 2021, delivering an ‘ease-of-doing-business’ environment for business owners was the critical objective and milestone, and we’ll continue to build on and safeguard this environment and ecosystem to further benefit the aspiring local and international investor.”