Dubai places first in Middle East on foreign direct investment with Dh24.7b in 2020

Dubai: Dubai ranked first in attracting foreign direct investments in the Middle East and North Africa for 2020, and third globally on greenfield FDI projects and fourth in FDI capital flows.

FDI inflows into Dubai in 2020 amounted to Dh24.7 billion, according to Dubai FDI Monitor data released by Dubai Investment Development Agency (Dubai FDI). This led to 18,325 new jobs being created through inbound FDI, with 455 projects being greenlighted and exceeding the annual average of past five years.

On greenfield projects, Dubai's share was 2.1 per cent of all such projects in 2020, exceeding the 2 per cent mark for the first time.

Top sectoral draws
The top five sectors for Dubai's FDI flows - accounting for 69 per cent of the total - were accommodation and food services (40%), electric power generation (13%), other information services (8%), healthcare and social assistance (4%), and retail and whole trade (4%). The top five sectors that received FDI projects - 54% of the total - were accommodation and food services (18%), retail and wholesale trade (14%), software publishers (10%), finance and insurance (6%), and management of companies (6%).

Vote of confidence

“Dubai’s sustained FDI flows in 2020 reflect the continued attractiveness of Dubai’s investment environment and the confidence of the investor community in Dubai’s future economic potential," said Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai. "Dubai’s success in combating the COVID-19 pandemic and starting the recovery phase in record time is a testament to our commitment to provide the best investment environment in the world."

Dubai's intake of foreign investments comes when global FDI “collapsed” in 2020, falling 42 per cent from Dh5.5 trillion in 2019 to around Dh3.15 trillion.

How key categories performed

Re-investment FDI: FDI capital from re-investment projects reached Dh1.6 billion in 2020, exceeding Dh1 billion mark for the first time since 2016. 

Venture capital FDI: Dubai-based startups to attract Dh2.36 billion in FDI capital through 31 investment deals in 2020.

Strategic sector FDI: The share of FDI projects in strategic sectors reached 57 per cent of the total. These accounted for 91 per cent of estimated FDI capital flows, to Dh22.5 billion. 76 per cent of all strategic FDI projects in 2020 were high and medium-tech with a total of Dh11.2 billion in estimated FDI capital.

Sourcing points: The US was the top source country, accounting for 21 per cent of FDI capital and 22 per cent of FDI projects. France (16 per cent), Japan (11 per cent), the UK (7 per cent), and Germany (6 per cent) made up the rest of the Top 5 source countries for FDI capital into Dubai in 2020. 

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