UAE investor optimism still high, ranks fifteenth in global investment index

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The United Arab Emirates has ranked 15th globally in Kearney’s 2021 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Confidence Index, up from 19th place in 2020, state news agency WAM reported Sunday.

The Kearney FDI Confidence Index, first released in 1998, is an annual survey of global business executives that aims to rank the markets that are likely to attract the most investment in the next three years.

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The UAE was also found to be one of only five countries worldwide that managed to achieve a higher ranking this year, given the highly competitive global FDI attraction environment and the overall pandemic-induced global economic position.

In addition to coming in 15th place globally, the country also ranked first place in the Arab world, minister of State for Foreign Trade Dr. Thani bin Ahmed al-Zeyoudi affirmed.

Al-Zeyoudi added that the progress made by the UAE in the FDI Confidence Index was an important indicator of the positive sentiment among investors to invest in the UAE’s economy and the country’s ability to weather the storm of unprecedented emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic and rapid global changes, WAM reported.

Businessmen walk down the stairs at the 123rd floor of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, in Dubai. (File photo: Reuters)
Businessmen walk down the stairs at the 123rd floor of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, in Dubai. (File photo: Reuters)

“… Established markets represent more safety and stability to business leaders whose strategies and bottom lines have been shaken by the pandemic,” said managing director of the Global Business Policy Council and co-author of the study Erik Peterson.

He added that investors are more likely to “continue to prioritize destinations with strong infrastructure, strong governance, investment in technology and innovation, and macroeconomic stability” which are the “natural strengths of most developed markets”.

The UAE was one of the only three emerging markets in this year’s index, which included China and Brazil.

“Beyond these findings, the biggest risk that international investors will continue to face will be the pandemic itself. Overcoming COVID-19 will be key to global economic recovery and the improvement in FDI flows as the two go hand in hand,” said Peterson.

“And economic growth in the near term will be determined in large part by the duration of the global pandemic, the effectiveness of fiscal and monetary responses, and the success of vaccination efforts.”

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Indeed, the UAE was among the first countries worldwide to approve a vaccine to combat COVID-19. Partner of the National Transformations Institute at Kearney Middle East Rudolph Lohmeyer believes that the UAE’s rise in this year’s rankings spoke to “the power of consistency and momentum”, adding that the progress made was “most likely related to its continued investment in advanced technology infrastructure, high levels of innovation, and to the intensity and discipline of its response to the pandemic.”

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