Sharjah’s performance in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) has seen a sharp increase of 102 per cent between 2016 and 2017, with FDI inflows worth $1.622 billion (AED 5.97 billion) last year, up from $808 million (AED 920 million) in 2016, according to Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah), the investment promotion arm of the Sharjah Government.
One of the benefits of the process of these enlarged foreign investments has been felt by the job market in Sharjah, which has reported a 174 per cent growth in 2017 with the creation of 2,815 new jobs as compared to 1,025 in 2016. More than 5,000 jobs were created in 2017 from all investments that came into Sharjah, including local, regional and international businesses.
The 2017 capital investments were made by 18 new projects that were set up in diverse sectors with the top three being architectural metal manufacturing investing $725 million (approx. AED 2.7 billion); agricultural, construction and mining machinery with $356 million (approx. AED 1.3 billion); and real estate FDI standing at $344 million (approx. AED 1.26 billion), according to a statement by Invest in Sharjah CEO, Mohammed Juma’a Al Musharrkh.
“Sharjah’s trade practices and FDI policies have had a positive effect on productivity growth and job creation. In 2017, Sharjah attracted $819 million, a staggering increase in comparison to $803 million in 2016,” said Al Musharrkh.
Invest in Sharjah identified top international investors in the emirate in 2017 as India, UK, USA, China, and Saudi Arabia and reported that a total of $10.5 billion (approx. AED 39 billion) was invested in different businesses last year, in a total of 35 new ventures characterised by domestic projects from the other emirates in the UAE and FDIs.
As of December 2016, the total FDI stocks in Sharjah stood at AED 30 billion, according to the UAE Federal Competitiveness Authority, reflecting the growing investments Sharjah has been servicing across numerous sectors, most prominently its real-estate and property sector, which has been receiving high-level interests contributing to the emirate’s competitive advantage when it comes to residential and commercial projects. High-level projects which are undergoing sales opportunities include the Azure Beach Resort project in Maryam Island, developed by Eagle Hills Sharjah Development, Al Jada by Arada, Al Mamsha by Alef Group, Tilal City by Tilal Properties and the Sharjah Waterfront City by the Sharjah Oasis Real Estate Development company.
In 2017, Sharjah underwent a five per cent increase in its GDP, with key manufacturing industries such as construction, wholesale and retail, restaurants and hotels, real estate, and business services ranging between six and nine per cent in net growth, said Mariam Nasser Al Suwaidi, Deputy Director of the Department of Industrial Affairs during a press conference.
Al Suwaidi added that a total of 73,000 trade licences were issued in Sharjah during 2017, with an average growth of two per cent in comparison to that volume in 2016, as well as a growth of 27 per cent in total number of industrial licences issued.