Sharjah 2015, the twelfth edition of the World Forum for Foreign Direct Investment, hosted by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) came to a close on Tuesday. Opened by His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah this year’s World Forum marks the first time that the event has been held in the Middle East and North Africa and was attended by delegates from North America, Europe, Asia and across the MENA region.
With keynote speakers including Lord Peter Mandelson, former British politician and former European Commissioner for Trade; Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Inventor of the World Wide Web; and Tony Fernandes, Founder of Air Asia, the annual conference brought focus to regulations, foreign policy, incentives, opportunities and restrictions related to global investments.
Other distinguished speakers in the World Forum included H.E. Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy; Mr. Mohammed Nasser Hamdan, Director of Investment & Trade Promotion, UAE Ministry of Economy; Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority ( Shurooq ); Barry Johnson, Chairman of the Board of Global FDI Association; and Mr. David Hamod, President & CEO, National U.S. – Arab Chamber of Commerce.
According to UNCTAD (the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development), foreign direct investment returned to a posiitive trend in 2013 rising by 9 percent to US$1.45 trillion, whilst global FDI stock rose by 9 percent to US$25.5 trillion. UNCTAD predicts that global FDI flows could rise to US$1.6 trillion in 2014 and US$1.75 trillion in 2015.
Meanwhile, foreign investment into the United Arab Emirates grew by 25 percent in 2014 to more than US$13 billion (AED 47.75b), equivalent to 5 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), according to the Ministry of Economy. The UAE received a total of US$14.6 billion (AED 54b) in foreign investment between 2008 and 2012.
Sharjah was highlighted during the conference as the most diversified economy in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council states), in which no single sector accounts for more than 20 percent of the emirate’s GDP.
According to statistics form the UAE’s Ministry of Economy, Sharjah’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 8 percent in 2013, in comparison with the UAE’s overall GDP growth of 4.8%, making it one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
Global credit rating agency S&P stated in November that it expects Sharjah’s economic growth to remain strong, averaging about 8 percent nominal GDP growth in 2014-2017.
Couldn’t make it to this year’s World Forum for Foreign Direct Investment? You can watch videos of forum presentations and discussions here.
Source: World Forum for FDI, Shurooq, S&P, Ministry of Economy