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Dhia Hussain

Chairperson, Canadian Business Council Abu Dhabi (CBCAD)


Dhia Hussain has over 35 years of experience in the areas of technical and project management, ship building, strategic planning, and organizational excellence. He was involved in major projects as project manager with ADNOC and other companies in the region. He is actively involved in organizational excellence program in Abu Dhabi and Dubai through the role of team leader in Sheikh Khalifa excellence award, Dubai Health Authority, and other private and governmental entities. Hussain holds a bachelor’s degree in marine engineering from the UK and a master’s in project management.

"CBCAD uses various tools to link Canadian companies and its counterparts in the UAE to achieve the intended goals."
CBC Abu Dhabi works to link Canadian and UAE businesses via initiatives such as events, webinars, coordinating with other Canadian organizations, and more.
CBCAD aims is to proactively bridge Canadian and UAE businesses by keeping them dynamically interactive. What are some of the tools the council uses to meet this goal?

CBCAD uses various tools to link Canadian companies and its counterparts in the UAE to achieve the intended goals. These include participating in various events in the UAE such as ADEPIC, GITEX, WETIX, and more; arranging in-person events to promote Canadian companies in various sectors; organizing virtual webinars to highlight the trend in the market for proper familiarization; coordinating with the Canadian embassy’s trade mission to host Canadian companies’ activities in the UAE; and linking up with other Canadian organization in the UAE and Canada to promote and link companies the like of CBC Dubai, CUBC, CABC, and more.

Which sectors currently exhibiting the most potential for investment for Canadian enterprises, and how does the government regulatory environment encourage them to choose UAE over the other GCC countries?

The UAE is Canada’s largest export market in the Middle East and North Africa and is the 20th largest foreign investor, accounting for 0.44% of total direct investment in Canada. In 2020, the UAE ranked as Canada’s largest merchandise export market in MENA. Canadian merchandise exports to the UAE in 2020 grew by 17.8% from the previous year, to USD1.8 billion. Merchandise imports from the UAE grew by 17.3% in 2020 to nearly USD250 million. The main sectors of investment for Canadian companies in the UAE are, oil and gas, agri-tech and food security, nuclear power, Al and technology, education, healthcare, and defense and aerospace. The UAE regulatory environment is based on FDI and how to make business in the UAE more competitive. this is done by engaging with Canadian organizations such as CBC and trade missions to understand the work ethics and how to align the regulations to encourage Canadian companies to invest in the UAE.

Since 2021, the UAE government has amended the Companies Law, granting foreign investors full ownership of foreign companies. How has this benefited Canadian companies?

Like other companies, Canadian companies can have 100% ownership without local sponsorship, this amendment increased the business competitiveness in the market. For over 150 Canadian companies in the UAE, this amendment has benefited companies working across 122 economic activities in over 13 sectors and includes new benefits such as 100% profit repatriation, an effective visa system allowing for renewable 10-year residence visa, competitive financing costs, high levels of liquidity, and a strong banking system.

CBC hosts several events per year on different notes. What is the advantage of being a member of the council?

CBC Abu Dhabi is extremely active in terms of staying abreast of the ever-changing market. CBC Abu Dhabi has staged 26 in person events and 22 webinars in the first few months of the year alone. Among the other various benefits, the council offers its members benefits such as connecting with people in the industry, working with the Canadian government through the trade missions, getting invited to focused networking groups, staying up to date on recent news and needed information, and value-added business services such as marketing and business referrals.

What are the council’s medium-term objectives for 2023?

CBC Abu Dhabi has evolved to be more than a platform connecting companies in the region. It seeks to be more active in terms of providing business services in addition to social events. We are practicing innovative thinking to keep up with the market’s environment, mainly through our recent growth strategy in engaging more Canadians living in the UAE to increase our membership by 10% in 2023. We also seek to increase our main social events by 50%, work closely with Canadian embassy trade missions as one team to manage various business events, and increase the same by 20%. In addition, the council aims to be a trusted partner of Abu Dhabi’s key public and private organizations to provide credible and needed information to our members.



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