UAE launches NextGenFDI to attract world’s top digital companies

UAE launches NextGenFDI to attract world’s top digital companies

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The UAE has launched NextGenFDI, which aims to target 300 digitally-enabled companies and aims to attract skilled programmers, data scientists and tech engineers within the next three years.

The UAE has launched a major campaign to attract digitally-enabled companies and highly-skilled talent to the country. H.E. Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, who oversees the file to attract FDI and global talent to the country, said NextGenFDI would encourage more than 300 global technology firms and software developers, data scientists and coders to relocate to the UAE.

An expanding array of measures have been introduced to make the market entry process for companies simpler and more efficient. These include rapid and flexible incorporation processes to speed up licensing, bulk visa issuances, banking facilitation and commercial and residential lease incentives. Seven strategic partners have signed up under the initiative so far, such as ADGM and DIFC, Dubai South and DMCC, Dubai Internet City, Emirates NBD and WIO.

NextGenFDI aims to leverage the UAE’s unique competitive advantage and global standing as a leading business, investment and innovation hub to support the growth of the UAE’s knowledge-driven economy. The campaign was launched by H.E. Dr Al Zeyoudi, alongside senior representatives from NextGenFDI.

NextGenFDI is aimed at seeking out businesses from all over the world that is focused on applied technology within various sectors and providing them with the necessary market entry fundamentals needed to launch and scale from within the UAE. These companies have highly skilled developers, coders and consultants in AI, gaming, data science and software.​ Housing such talent within the UAE is of vital importance and this new initiative will make the market entry process for bright minds with great ideas as seamless as possible.

“Large and SME businesses from across the world are approaching us and asking how they can relocate their talent, ideas and high-growth ventures to the UAE,” said H.E. Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi. “The global interest in 2022 is unprecedented and while we are already working with some, we know many more want to follow suit. We want to ensure that the world’s most promising digital companies can access all the benefits that our attractive, business-friendly environment offers – but we also want to make it easy for them. NextGenFDI is designed to ensure that our market entry process is as streamlined and coordinated as our technology ecosystem.”

H.E. added: “On one hand, this is about hyper-practical measures – making it painless and rewarding for companies to relocate here. On the other, in the wake of the pandemic and the UAE’s actions to position itself as a highly agile and resilient economy, this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to bring some of the finest minds to the UAE and contribute to our drive to become the world’s leading innovation hub for years to come. The UAE relentlessly focuses on helping next-generation businesses to scale at speed and the leaders of future industries recognise that. If you’re a company with a strong idea, the UAE would like to see it materialise and we’re here to make that process as simple and efficient as possible.”

H.E. further stated: “This is an opportunity that comes by only once every generation to attract the smartest and most qualified to our country in support of our efforts to make the UAE a leading innovative hub of the future. We want to ensure that promising digital companies in the world can access all the benefits provided by our attractive and business-friendly investment environment.”

The UAE is one of the region’s fastest-growing economies. IMF predicts economic growth will accelerate to 4.2% in 2022, contrasting a slowdown in Europe, Asia and the US.​​ In April 2022, the UAE was ranked one of the top ecosystems for start-ups and entrepreneurs, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor’s (GEM) report​.

As a key pillar of its talent attraction drive, the National Program for Coders is offering Golden Visas to 100,000 computer coders. The UAE also aims to establish 1,000 new digital companies and increase investment in start-ups from US$400 million to US$1.3 billion.​ The NextGenFDI initiative will complement and accelerate these efforts.

“We are pleased to be part of the NextGen FDI, a great initiative by the Ministry of Economy that seeks to attract top technology companies and talents to boost the UAE’s economy. At Dubai South, our vision is aligned with all government initiatives and we will be extending our full support to cater to all business needs towards achieving NextGen FDI’s overall objectives.” said H.E. Khalifa Al Zaffin, Executive Chairman, Dubai Aviation City Corporation and Dubai South.

H.E. Ahmed Jasim Al Zaabi, Chairman OF Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), said: “UAE’s comprehensive business ecosystem and political stability continue to position the nation as the destination of choice for FDIs. ADGM has been playing an anchoring role in the financial landscape of the region by actively pioneering progressive regulations and innovative solutions to enable financial intermediation and attract more liquidity and investments. We have been frontrunners to introduce transformational initiatives from the first regulatory sandbox regime and fully digital eCourts to the first crypto asset framework in the region and across borders.”

“We intend for Abu Dhabi and the UAE to become a centre to raise and deploy capital with the prudent management of risk in support of sustainably oriented, long-term economic growth for the next-generation businesses,” he said. “ADGM’s partnership in this campaign is a step forward and resonates with our commitment to work hand-in-hand with the UAE’s government, regulators and private sector to develop a holistic approach, one that strengthens our country’s global standing as an innovative investment hub.”

DIFC has built one of the largest FinTechs and innovation communities in the Middle East and North Africa – close to 600 businesses, representing over 60% of all those in the region.

There are already 34 countries from Eastern Europe and South Asia. This illustrates that DIFC is a perfect choice to help them access the fast-growing markets of the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region.

“We provide businesses with the region’s most comprehensive innovation proposition which includes education, participation in incubator and accelerator programmes, cost-effective operating and regulatory licenses, access to expertise and resources and funding options,” he said.

In line with DIFC Strategy 2030, the Centre supports sustained economic growth and further differentiates Dubai as a global hub for financial institutions, FinTech businesses and innovation companies.

Ammar Al Malik, Managing Director of Dubai Internet City, said: “The MENA region is a cradle of vast opportunities considering the size and diversity of its markets. Our leadership’s progressive business policies as well as access to skilled talent have made the UAE a reliable and attractive hub for global corporations and regional firms alike. At Dubai Internet City, we are proud to have played a critical role in providing a competitive ecosystem for tech companies to thrive and collaborate over the past 20 years and aim to continue enhancing our offerings to appeal to new and ambitious customers.”

Ahmad Hamza, Executive Director – Free Zone, DMCC, added: “As one of the world’s fastest-growing freezone, DMCC is thrilled to be partnering with the UAE Ministry of Economy on this strategic growth initiative. By streamlining incorporation processes and acerating key services, NextGenFDI will make it even easier for innovative and high-tech companies from around the world to relocate to the UAE, which continues to demonstrate its commercial appeal as a hub for global businesses.”

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