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Fahad Al Gergawi

UAE, DUBAI - Economy

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CEO, Dubai FDI

Bio

Fahad Al Gergawi began his career in 1994 in the Exhibition Department of the Dubai World Trade Center. He moved to the Dubai Chamber of Commerce in 1995, and later became the Executive Director for Trade and Industrial Development. Between 2004 and 2008 he worked at Dubai Holding as Executive Director of International Business Development at Dubai Properties Group. He is currently the CEO of Dubai FDI.

"Our location has been key to our status as a hub, and we will continue to be important regionally and globally."

What is Dubai’s continuing appeal to foreign investors?

I think it is the positioning of Dubai more than anything else, that as a city it enables businesses not only to come and set up but also grow in the entire region. From Dubai you can reach out to a population of around 2.2 billion within four hours; this is very important for investors. Dubai represents, and is accepted as, a global services center to many multinationals looking at expanding their businesses in the region and globally.

What measures have you taken to increase Dubai’s appeal as a hub?

We are focusing more on the central role of Dubai in the region. Our location has been key to our status as a hub, and we will continue to be important regionally and globally in the future, too. On the economic development front we are looking at best practices that we can learn from, while at the same time trying out new things boldly and being innovative in the way we develop our infrastructure to make it more appealing to businesses. We are also launching new campaigns across global media, and new success stories are being told to the world. In addition, the key economic messages of Dubai are delivered across bilateral and multinational platforms, such as delegation visits, missions, and conferences.

“Our location has been key to our status as a hub, and we will continue to be important regionally and globally.”

The Foreign Investment Office was set up recently under the umbrella of the Department of Economic Development (DED), along with three other connected organizations. What was the rationale behind this approach?

The DED’s role is to act as a catalyst for the business development programs the government, and while being a public body, it is strongly linked to the private sector, too. The DED is the licensing and regulatory body, and leads various economic development initiatives. The mission of Dubai FDI is well aligned with that of its sister agencies—Dubai Exports, Dubai SME, and Dubai Events & Promotions—and also represents specific aspects of the DED’s work. It is also part of the licensing function of the DED that eases procedures for setting up companies in Dubai.

Did Dubai witness significant growth in FDI in 2011?

In 2011 we saw an increasing number of investment enquiries compared to the previous year. Some of these enquiries led to new companies coming in, and while some are holding off for now, there is definitely growing interest. This is because people are seeing more encouraging news, better economic data, and realizing the uniqueness of Dubai as a global center. The trade balance is improving and the growth potential registered in 2010 is positive.

Has the recent regional unrest had a direct impact on FDI flowing into Dubai?

Regional unrest always creates a positive flow into surrounding markets that are stable and have sound fundamentals. It is important to note that Dubai has been a safe haven for investment for many years, and will continue to be a preferred investment destination, not so much due to regional unrest, but because of the underlying fundamentals driving the economy. Dubai has proven that it can compete on an international scale in times of global growth and in times of global decline, which is proof of a resilient economy.

© The Business Year – February 2012

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