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Sharjah 2020 | FINANCE | INTERVIEW

Various key sectors are thriving in Sharjah's diversified economy, and the new FDI law is expected to further boost investment.

Mohamed Juma Al Musharrkh
BIOGRAPHY
Mohamed Juma Al Musharrkh is the CEO of Invest in Sharjah, the investment promotion office operating under the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq). Al Musharrkh worked for the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry for seven years and took on numerous posts in the international affairs department at SCCI. He holds a master’s degree in international business management from the Australian University of Wollongong in Dubai, a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the American University in Sharjah, and graduated from the Executive Leaders Programme at the London Business School in the UK.

What have Invest in Sharjah's major accomplishments been?

Since its establishment in 2016, Invest in Sharjah has focused all its efforts in strengthening the Emirate's economic and investment positioning on both local and international fronts. Our aim is to create a long-term network with global businesses, trade authorities, and investment agencies around the world. We work closely with the UAE Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a testament to our continued alignment to the wise leadership of the UAE and that of the Emirate of Sharjah. Today, the key sectors that continue to thrive in Sharjah's diversified economy are tourism and leisure, healthcare, environment, transport and logistics, education, and light manufacturing. These developments reflect the growing opportunities businesses can explore in investing in the future. Locally, Invest in Sharjah organizes a number business roundtables every year targeting a specific country, welcoming its high-level delegation, ambassador, and a number of businesses, and establishments based in Sharjah but are originally from these targeted countries. During these roundtables, we continue to reinforce the government's role in supporting investors. Such events provide a more personal touch between investors and the opportunities in Sharjah. Also gearing up for its fifth edition in 2019 is the Sharjah FDI Forum, the first-of-its-kind forum specializing in FDI in the region and an international platform for businesses, scholars, and political leaders to explore and discuss investment opportunities in Sharjah and the region.

What are Sharjah's future plans for renewables or environmentally friendly projects?

Sharjah is home to some of the most natural, environmental, and historic sites in the region, and these features reflect the rich heritage the Emirate enjoys in maintaining its eco-friendly status. As a result, there are a number of entities and businesses in Sharjah tasked with leading, developing, and growing Sharjah's environmental sector, with prominent names such as the Sharjah Environmental Company (Bee'ah), the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA), the Sharjah Municipality, and more. This new project is expected to lead and provide a new standard of living in Sharjah, incorporating the most advanced eco-friendly technologies, renewable energy features, and sustainable agricultural solutions. There are also other projects from Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA), which signed agreements with GE and Siemens to build advanced power plants here. The Emirate will then buy the energy from these companies and distribute it to customers.

What recent regulatory changes contributed to the outstanding FDI inflow of USD11 billion in 2018?

The new decree by his Highness Sheikh Khalifa will boost this figure. The new law of FDI allows investors in some sectors to retain 100% ownership. There are also new, easier visa laws for investors that will help them do business. The visa for innovators, scientists, and extraordinary students living in the UAE will boost FDI inflows to the UAE. In the real estate sector, Sharjah recently changed some of the laws on owning real estate, especially in new developments. In addition, in the manufacturing field, we have the Sharjah Industrial Oasis, which is part of Sharjah's management, to encourage more companies to invest in manufacturing.

What are Invest in Sharjah's main goals and objectives for 2019?

We plan to visit new cities and markets as part of our strategy of positioning Invest in Sharjah as a leading investment promotion agency, including re-visiting cities and markets to further reinforce our presence and network. We will also continue to collaborate with our local partners, both public and private, to facilitate and promote all the latest legislations and regulations that continue to boost the practical and efficient business setup opportunities in Sharjah, as well as licensing onshore and offshore investments. Overall, we are working to make Sharjah one of the top five investment destinations in the Middle East.