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UAE 2018 | RAS AL KHAIMAH | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Sheikh Mohamed bin Kayed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Ras Al Khaimah Department of Economic Development (RAK DED), on incentivizing investment.

 Sheikh Mohamed bin Kayed Al Qasimi
BIOGRAPHY
Sheikh Mohamed bin Kayed Al Qasimi is the Chairman of Ras Al Khaimah Department of Economic Development. He has previously held the position of Chairman at the Ras Al Khaimah Sewerage Authority, the Ajyal Youth Club, the Alumni Council, and the Ras Al Khaimah Club, in addition to serving as Vice-Chairman of the Ras Al Khaimah Cement Factory.

What attracts industries to Ras Al Khaimah?

The low cost of production, great location, access to manpower, and government support encourage investors, as they can market their products all over the world at convenient prices. Pricing is one of the most important issues, because it allows the factories to compete with other companies. Here, in Ras Al Khaimah, they can produce at low cost and high quality. It is easy to get a license to open companies, and this can be done quickly, as can connecting the facilities to water and electricity. Everything is much easier than it is in other places. Some companies receive a license in one day, and here at RAK DED you can renew your license in 15 minutes. It is easy to contact the decision makers and explain your future plans. Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, the Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, encourages officials to ease administrative procedures for customers and open their doors wider in order to stay in direct contact with customers, investors, and other interested parties.

How has the drop in oil prices affected the export of construction materials?

The oil price has affected not only Ras Al Khaimah, but all of the world. However, everyone must still invest in the construction. Construction is an intrinsic part of any country's development, so there will continue to be demand for those products. In times of crisis, companies are given the chance to look for alternatives, to find a new market for example. If returning clients are buying less, we will have to look for additional demand, so there is potential to break out and find new markets.

Which markets outside the UAE and GCC offer potential for Ras Al Khaimah's businesses?

Asia is one of the best markets as well as Africa. We are targeting developing countries that have large populations and where we can easily take advantage of the low prices of our raw materials and products.

You recently received a delegation of Latin American diplomats. How did this visit come about, and what can Latin America and RAK bring each other?

There is already some trade between us and some Latin American countries, and there is potential for more. These are still small numbers, but we are trying to increase them. As I mentioned before, during tough times countries have to seek new markets. South America has a large population and many products to export; we are trying to explore new channels of mutual commerce and industry as well as opportunities for re-export. Some of our manufacturers open factories in Latin America because there is good potential, and there are raw materials that we can bring here. Latin America exports all over the world, so why not boost our relations?

How do the operations of RAK DED align with the federal government's long-term policies?

We are all under one umbrella. The advantage here in Ras Al Khaimah is that we are flexible with our procedures. At RAK DED, we are trying to reduce the number of processes for investors to get a license, and to be closer in tune with investors' concerns. In the near future, we will have new mobile applications available on the Apple App Store and on Google Play. Through this app clients will be able to do many things, like renewing their license or opening a new license. We have already presented this project to Sheikh Saud, and he gave us the approval to start this in Ras Al Khaimah. It will connect all of the people who have licensing in Ras Al Khaimah and this district. It will also have other features such as location services, a job search engine, business networking capacity, and advertising.