The Emirate of Sharjah delegation participating in the Toronto Global Forum 2017 invited businessmen and investors in Canada to expand the horizons of economic cooperation between the two sides and to take advantage of the investment opportunities available in many vital sectors in Sharjah.
During its participation in the forum, which concluded yesterday (Wednesday, November 1, 2017), the delegation stressed that Sharjah has established a legislative, logistical and service infrastructure that has attracted hundreds of international companies and investors who have successfully built solid bases for their businesses in Sharjah and used the emirate as a base to take their operations to multiple destinations across the world.
Representatives of the emirate’s delegation, which included Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), Sharjah Foreign Investment Office ‘Invest in Sharjah’ and Sharjah Media City (Shams), met with a large group of businessmen and representatives of major companies at the Toronto Global Forum. The major North American economic conference included plenary sessions and meetings on topics such as: ‘Promoting a new era of innovation,’ ‘Paving the way for the establishment of a climate-resistant infrastructure’ and ‘Harnessing the potential of nuclear technology.’
Strengthening Sharjah-Canadian Relations
Detailing the current market growth and investment opportunities behind the emirate’s economic framework was His Excellency Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of Shurooq, who also led discussions on how the emirate has strategically developed its economy and how it has become one of the leading investment destinations for long-term ventures in the new global economy.
Al Sarkal outlined the strategic importance of Sharjah for Canadian businesses, stating: “We are here because we want to promote Sharjah, its culture and its prosperity, which translates perfectly with what Canada has been doing to develop its own economy. Canada is a strategic business partner to Sharjah and our participation at this premium economic event in the nation’s most populous city, translates our dedication to strengthen and sustain this friendship for the future, as well as solidify our role as Canada’s strategic facilitator for long-term investments in the Emirate of Sharjah.”
He highlighted: “Canada and Sharjah share a significant number of economic, cultural and business ties and practices. Out of the more than 1,600 Canadian companies, commercial agencies and registered brands in the UAE, Sharjah is home to several Canadian-based technologies and companies in multiple fields. For example, Sharjah is home to one of the region’s leading environmental technologies, conceptualised by a Canadian businessman and working in partnership with Bee’ah, which has revolutionised the way Sharjah treats its trash.”
He continued: “Most recently, Sharjah will become the home of a mega US$ 274m (AED 1 billion) Canadian hospital project specialised in the fields of paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, thanks to a Memorandum of Understanding signed in September between the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) and the emirate’s government.”
Al Sarkal highlighted Sharjah government’s intense focus on innovation and the development of numerous specialised free zones as part of a strategy that has further boosted Sharjah’s economic stature across the global economy, catering to the demands of global investors, entrepreneurs and SMEs in the fields of education, R&D, publication, healthcare, media production, logistics, manufacturing and many more.
“Sharjah has been investing greatly in its business services and free zones, positioning itself as the region’s premium platform for SMEs and start-ups. Today, Sharjah is one of the leading SME-friendly cities in MENA, thanks to its ability to cater to and sustain businesses of multiple industries and formats, in addition to its connectivity and integrated network across numerous business destinations in MENA, Europe and Asia,” said Al Sarkal.
Sharjah’s Business Breakfast with Canada’s Elite Government Officials
With Invest in Sharjah headlining as the Silver Sponsor for the forum, the delegation hosted a number of business gatherings in Toronto and Waterloo, of whom they met with senior government officials and top CEOs from Canada, on the sidelines of the three-day event.
One of the most notable events was a high-level business breakfast seminar hosted by Invest in Sharjah, at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto, Canada, during the first day of the forum. More than 70 elite Canadian officials and executives attended the seminar from both the public and private sectors, with a special attendance by the Honourable Michael Chan, MPP, Ontario’s Minister of International Trade.
Highlighting how organisations operating in the field of media could benefit from the facilities at Sharjah Media City (Shams), His Excellency Dr. Khalid Omar Al Midfa provided attendees with vital details on how Shams offers a prime investment opportunity for overseas businesses and entrepreneurs to establish their media and creative presence in the Middle East.
He said: “Companies operating at Shams have legal independence from licencing and media regulations while enjoying all the benefits of a UAE free zone, including 100 percent ownership. World-class facilities ensure that start-ups, SMEs and multinational branches can all invest in their media operations with us in confidence.”
He continued: “Today, Shams is one of several new, modern and digitally integrated free zones established in Sharjah that give Canadian investors new opportunities to selectively choose where and how to start up their businesses overseas.”
Complementing the given details of the business-friendliness of Sharjah’s investment climate, Mohammad Jumaa Al Musharrkh provided attendees with a presentation that illustrated key insights, streamlined investment processes and several indexes, such as investors’ confidence levels towards the emirate. The presentation also included information on Sharjah’s market performance thanks to the development and growth of its four emerging sectors: tourism, healthcare, the environment and transportation.
“Our participation at the Toronto Global Forum was in line with our vision and mission to continue hosting a series of valuable one-on-one business meetings with senior officials from across the world. This gave us a fantastic opportunity to build on our existing strong relationship with Canada, as well as apprise them of all new developments. Face-to-face meetings such as these do so much to build confidence and personal relationships – fundamental requirements for successful international business activities,” said Mohammad Jumaa Al Musharrkh, Director of Invest in Sharjah.
He added: “During our participation, we provided numerous members of high level Canadian state entities with information on how they can directly access Sharjah and showed how the emirate is a key gateway to Canada’s trade with the MENA region. Our advanced infrastructure and seaports facilitate the movement of North American products into the region, while our business-friendly environment, supported by a leading government integration framework, helps establish the setting up of new operations, as well as the extension of existing ones.”
Shurooq and Invest in Sharjah’s participation at this year’s Toronto Global Forum builds on the successful business roundtable organised by Shurooq for a high-level Canadian business delegation in February this year. The event is expected to generate new business ventures between Canada and Sharjah, with the emirate strongly contributing to the overall trade and business relationships between Canada and the Emirate of Sharjah.