Dubai: For its medium-term economic growth, Sharjah will pursue the same strategy that has served the emirate well during the Covid phase: attracting more foreign investment. And in seven sectors likely to attract the highest degree of attention.
Take the health sector, for example – “Due to an increasing aging population, overall population increase and medical advancements, Sharjah’s health and wellness sector is on the verge of a breakthrough. ‘witness an increase in foreign investment’, according to a report from Sharjah. IDE. “The UAE’s status among the top 10 global healthcare destinations according to the Medical Tourism Index has an additional positive impact.”
This aligns with the prevailing sentiment that more opportunities will open up in the UAE for super-specialty healthcare support, both in hospitals and at home for follow-up care.
Within this, three sub-sectors – pharmaceutical production; specialized healthcare institutes, including elderly care and rehabilitation centres; and wellness and medical tourism – may well serve Sharjah’s future interests. Especially since the emirate is a “preferred low-cost destination for medical tourism in the region”.
According to Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, Acting CEO of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority, “Sharjah is home to many investment opportunities in various fields, especially in new economy sectors. With advanced infrastructure and nimble legislation, the emirate has become a top destination for business and a capital of industry in the region.
We look forward to welcoming new businesses to Sharjah who will no doubt benefit from the accelerated growth and continued support for creative ventures in the emirate and the UAE.
– Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, Acting CEO of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority
Per capita healthcare spending in the UAE in 2019 was $1,643 (Dh6,035), and the pharmaceutical sector is projected to grow by 7.3% per year to $4.7 billion (17. MAD 26 billion) by 2024. “All this means that Sharjah’s potential to benefit from FDI in these sectors is huge,” the report notes.
Supply chain dynamics
“With a coastline on the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, Sharjah has been a preferred gateway to the region for those seeking shorter access routes from the Far East and South Asia. , Australia and Africa,” the Sharjah FDI report said. “The emirate is full of FDI opportunities in the mobility and logistics sector. (The sector received a 43% increase in Sharjah’s 2021 budget for the development and improvement of its infrastructure, including roads.)
Heritage serves Sharjah well
During these two years, Sharjah has let its landscape, its heritage and its future prospects speak for themselves. Shurooq, alone and through alliances with key partners, has been working to develop hitherto underserved sites in the emirate, and the first results are here.
The emirate’s culture, media and tourism sectors are expected to reach $20.3 billion (74.5 billion dirhams) by 2027, with the emirate ‘transforming into a destination of choice for travelers around the world with multi-billion dollar development projects and government support. The projections also take into account the report’s findings on the number of hotel guests received by the emirate in 2019, which increased by 5% year-on-year. (Revenues of $157 million (573 million dirhams) were generated from hotel receipts in 2019, and the sector’s post-Covid recovery was swift.)
“The emirate’s biodiversity and rich local heritage have created unique investment opportunities in ecotourism and adventure tourism,” the report concludes. “Additionally, the world-class business and cultural events held in the emirate throughout the year are key factors in attracting tourists, which provides great investment opportunities.”
Mohamed Juma Al Musharrkh, CEO of FDI Sharjah Office, said, “Invest in Sharjah is keen to attract and facilitate growth-seeking investment in the safe and stable environment of the emirate. By leveraging the close relationship between our private and public sectors, we can facilitate investors’ access to incredible investment opportunities and provide all the necessary support from ideation to project launch.
Now, beyond the obvious sectors, there is potential in emerging sectors. Agritech is one of them.
“The east coast of Sharjah offers many investment opportunities to establish aquaculture and seaweed farming facilities, in addition to aquaponics, vertical urban farming and plant genomics,” the report adds. of Sharjah FDI. Any progress in attracting investment would be in line with the opportunities offered by food processing and packaging, especially with the “availability of industrial zones across the emirate”.
The agricultural products market in the United Arab Emirates was estimated at $626 million (2.3 billion dirhams) in 2019 with a CAGR of 9.8% in revenue. Sharjah is expected to be a major contributor to the UAE’s $1.1 billion agricultural market by 2024.
Sharjah’s potential for green technology investment is “one of the highest in the region”, given the progress it has made in being the first “landfill-free city” in the Middle East. Then there is a solar park and a Bee’ah waste-to-energy plant that powers nearly 67,000 homes.
Tap on schools
With annual investments of $1.5 billion (Dh5.5 billion) in education and research, the Invest in Sharjah FDI Trends Report highlights funding opportunities in specialist professional academies and future development and innovation laboratories. Not only that, “There are several opportunities for investment in early learning and childcare specialties alongside the expansion of nurseries and K-12 offerings in Sharjah,” the report states.
There is also manufacturing
Sharjah, home to more than 35% of the UAE’s manufacturing businesses, wants to “maximize efficiencies” through automation using state-of-the-art technologies, in addition to developing 3D printing capabilities for the manufacture of spare parts and components for industries. Such projects could potentially tap into a growing GCC market estimated at $10.3 billion (Dh37.8 billion) by 2023.
In the post-COVID world, investment in technology is outpacing all other sectors. The unveiling in Sharjah of the region’s first 3D printing facility signals its competitiveness in advanced manufacturing.
– Mohamed Juma Al Musharrkh, CEO of the FDI office in Sharjah
As the Sharjah FDI report notes, this will not be the only sector in Sharjah that is there for optimal investment.
Sharjah Investment at a Glance
There are over 60,000 SMEs and startups based in Sharjah.
The emirate is home to six free zones and 33 industrial zones.
Sharjah attracted FDI worth $220 million in 2020.
There was a 60% growth in FDI in the third and fourth quarters of 2020.
FDI contributed to the creation of 1,117 new jobs in 2020.
Investments in the travel and tourism sectors will reach $20.3 billion by 2027.
About $1.5 billion is already invested in education and research in Sharjah every year.
Sharjah is home to over 35% of UAE’s manufacturing industries, giving it an edge in manufacturing spare parts and components for industries.