In order to enhance the bilateral investment and trade relationships between Sharjah and Russia, Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah) in collaboration with the Russian Business Council hosted the ‘Sharjah-Russia Business Roundtable’ on Wednesday at the House of Wisdom.
The event was held in the presence of HE Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, Chief Executive Officer of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) and HE Oleg Fomin, Consul General of the Russian Federation in Dubai and Northern Emirates and, along with notable government officials from Sharjah, business leaders, and Russian investors in the emirate.
Exploring strategic opportunities: Sharjah’s role in Russian ventures
Invest in Sharjah organised “Investment Opportunities in Sharjah” panel featuring prominent speakers including HE Mohamed Juma Al Musharrkh, CEO of Invest in Sharjah, Dr. Khalid Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Media City (SHAMS); Ahmed Mohamed Al Naqbi, CEO, Emirates Development Bank (EDB), Najla Al Midfa, CEO of Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa); Mariam Bin Al Shaikh, Director of Sharjah Business Women Council; and distinguished guests had the opportunity to highlight the the business-friendly investment environment, support services available for foreign investors, and the ease of doing business in Sharjah.
777 Russian Companies in Sharjah
This strategic partnership is reinforced by compelling statistical data that highlights the robust investment relations between Sharjah and Russia. Sharjah serves as a pivotal investment hub for Russian companies in the UAE, boasting a total of 777 Russian entities spanning diverse sectors, including industry, services, and trade.
The foundation of this strong investment relationship can be traced back to the diplomatic ties established between the UAE and Russia in 1971. Over the years, these ties have continued to evolve, particularly in the economic realm, solidifying the UAE’s status as Russia’s largest trading partner in the region, representing a substantial 55 percent of Russia’s total trade in the Middle East. The UAE has also become the dominant recipient of Moscow’s investments in Arab countries, commanding approximately 90 percent of these investments.
Sharjah’s growing economic partnership with Russia
H.E Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, CEO of Shurooq, emphasised: “The UAE has consistently been a favoured destination for Russians, with recent years witnessing a substantial upswing in interest. To provide some perspective, the UAE hosted a notable number of Russian companies in 2022. Today, that figure has significantly expanded. Furthermore, a considerable number of Russians visited the UAE in 2022, marking a substantial increase from 2021, and it’s important to note that these visitors were not exclusively tourists.”
The growing trend of Russian nationals relocating their businesses to Sharjah was the focus of today’s roundtable, reflecting the surge in interest towards our diverse economic landscape. Sharjah is now home to numerous Russian firms in our six specialised free zones and on the mainland, making significant contributions across sectors like real estate, technology, agriculture, and hospitality. Today’s discussions linked investors to opportunities in these sectors and showcased industries where Sharjah excels as a regional hub. Our dedicated services and support underscore Sharjah’s position as a top global investment destination,” he concluded.
Commenting on the roundtable, HE Mohamed Juma Al Musharrkh, CEO of Invest in Sharjah, remarked, “The emirate serves as an ideal destination for Russian companies seeking to expand into regional and global markets, thanks to its strategic geographical location, advanced infrastructure, and an investment-friendly environment. Additionally, the emirate’s comprehensive facilities and incentive packages have significantly contributed to the growth of trade and exports between our two countries, exceeding AED 40 million in 2023.”
Al Musharrkh added, “The investment relations between Sharjah and Russia are founded on cooperation and integration across various economic and commercial sectors. These relations have witnessed remarkable progress in recent years, a testament to our joint efforts in strengthening partnerships and exchanges between both sides. This enduring relationship is rooted in the deep historical ties between Russia and the UAE, positioning the country as the primary partner in the Arab world, with trade between the two nations reaching USD 10 billion and 4,000 Russian companies operating in the UAE in 2023.”
During his participation in the roundtable, His Excellency Dr. Khalid Omar Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Media City ‘Shams’ emphasised that the media sector in Sharjah benefits from a diverse investment environment. This is largely due to the economic vitality and availability of various attractive commercial resources in the Emirate.
Dr. Al Midfa cordially invited Russian investors to invest ‘Shams’, highlighting its world-class infrastructure and range of incentives and services for foreign investors. Among these incentives is the ability for Russian investors to own their projects 100%, He further added that ‘Shams’ provides a set of supportive services for establishing businesses, such as company registration, licenses and visa acquisition among other comprehensive services.
Ahmed Mohamed Al Naqbi, CEO, Emirates Development Bank (EDB), said: “As the key financial engine of UAE economic diversification and industrial transformation, EDB remains dedicated to driving investments in national priority sectors across the seven emirates. Sharjah is an important hub for investments in several key non-oil sectors that EDB prioritizes for financing such as healthcare, renewables, advanced manufacturing, and agri-food technology. Therefore, this roundtable was a great platform for Russian investors to meet with key stakeholders and decision-makers from the UAE’s public sector to share insights and explore opportunities to drive future investments in Sharjah. We look forward to working with Russian investors and corporates looking to use or innovative financing solutions in contribution to the UAE’s sustainable economic growth.”
Najla Al Midfa, CEO of Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center, noted: Through our participation in this roundtable, Sheraa aims to amplify expertise exchange between both sides and ignite the entrepreneurial spirit in the younger generation, empowering them to seize global opportunities leveraging Sharjah’s status as a hub for innovation and creativity. The emirate has asserted that entrepreneurship is the foundation for development and prosperity and not merely an economic endeavour; it is a formidable mindset, an unwavering commitment, and dealing with global businesses that enable us to create a brighter and more prosperous future for our nation.
Mariam Bin Al Shaikh, Director of Sharjah Business Women Council said that ““SBWC provides female entrepreneurs and business professionals from a diverse range of nations an unparalleled opportunity to thrive in Sharjah’s dynamic business landscape, specifically those from Russia, in context with today’s proactive discussions during Invest in Sharjah’s Roundtable. We recognise the importance of empowering women in business and with over two decades of dedicated efforts and a membership exceeding 2,200 members across multiple sectors, industries, and nationalities; SBWC aims to epitomise success and entrepreneurship. In line with this diversity, our portfolio includes 45 initiatives creating a platform for skill development and talent nurturing. Russian entrepreneurs, particularly women, can align their ambitions with our programs to leverage Sharjah’s business-friendly environment while our training programs provide real-time market insights and invaluable expertise from our esteemed board of directors”
Organised by Invest in Sharjah, this roundtable reinforces their ongoing commitment to showcasing the emirate’s outstanding advantages while solidifying its position as a premier and preferred destination for both Russian commercial and industrial investments.