In its bid to diversify Abu Dhabi's business activity beyond hydrocarbons, the UAE's capital city is seeking more investments from India which will not only benefit the local economy but also allow Indian firms to use it as a platform to grow their footprints around the world.
Abu Dhabi has identified priority sectors including agritech, tourism, healthcare, pharma and financial services, where Indian enterprises can invest.
Abdulla Abdul Aziz Alshamsi, Acting Director General of Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) told PTI that his office will facilitate all investment avenues for Indian companies and called this a natural extension of the growing relations between India and the UAE. ADIO is tasked with pulling the investments.
Alshamsi pitched for Indian companies to use Abu Dhabi as a platform to grow their footprints around the world, and added that their presence will benefit the local economy as well.
At a time when Indian startups are scouting for better opportunities abroad, Abu Dhabi is keen to woo such innovative enterprises, especially ones engaged in the targeted priority sectors, to set up bases in the emirate.
Alshamsi said agritech (agricultural technology) is an exciting sector given the dry and arid climatic conditions in Abu Dhabi, which are found across the Middle East and added that their work can help solve global food security challenges.
He cited the recently signed Free Trade Agreement with India for economic collaboration, saying it will not only help in trade of goods and services, but also help in knowledge sharing.
India and the UAE have shared trade links through the centuries. The India-UAE trade is valued at USD 72.8 billion in 2021-22, making the UAE India’s third largest trading partner after China and US, according to the Ministry of External Affairs.
The UAE is the second largest export destination of India (after the US) with an amount of nearly USD 28 billion for the year 2021-22. The UAE’s investment in India is estimated to be around USD 17-18 billion of which US 11.67 billion is in the form of FDI while the remaining is portfolio investment. It is also the 9th biggest investor in India in terms of FDI.
A number of funds from the Middle East, especially the sovereign wealth funds, have already placed huge bets on India, and the investments have been driven by the higher returns that the country offers.
ADIO helps investors and companies of all sizes establish their businesses, grow, and develop in Abu Dhabi. It aims to help grow the emirate's private sector and diversify its economy. Long-term, sustainable ideas are another key aim for the office.
Asked how Abu Dhabi is competing with the world market while pursuing its interests, Alshamsi said the emirate has the most advanced regulations when it comes to access to capital specifically within the Abu Dhabi global market.
It is a free zone allowing for foreign ownership of businesses and regulation which allows for innovative thinking as well as attracting venture capitalists, equity funds as well as public opportunities in Abu Dhabi.
Alshamsi said 'Fresh to Home', an Indian company, was among the earliest to set up a base in Abu Dhabi. Their presence is focused on research and development and also to help gain access to the US market.
“This was mutually beneficial to us and we learnt to offer that to be able to attract further companies to come to Abu Dhabi," he said. 'Stride Ventures', an Indian venture capital fund, is also active in Abu Dhabi, he added.
On the availability of the talent pool in Abu Dhabi, Alshamsi said, "Not only do we have a talent pool, but we are also making it easier for international talent to establish themselves in Abu Dhabi and retire in Abu Dhabi."
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