RAPID EXPANSION

UAE 2018 | DIPLOMACY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Crown Prince of Ajman & Chairman of the Executive Council, on policies that encourage further investment and the most attractive sectors in the Emirate.

Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid Al Nuaimi
BIOGRAPHY
Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid Al Nuaimi was born in 1969. After completing secondary education, he attended the Police Academy before going to the UK to attend advanced courses. On his return, he was appointed Crown Prince and, since 2003, has headed the Executive Board, which brings together all government departments and entities in Ajman. One of his most prominent initiatives has been the Ajman Program for Excellence in Government Performance. He is also dedicated to charitable and humanitarian work, and is the Chairperson of the Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuami Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation.

Ajman has witnessed significant growth in the number of commercial and industrial licenses issued. What are the key factors behind this growth?

The increased business attractiveness in the Emirate of Ajman is a natural reflection of the government's interest in the infrastructure of the economy and the establishment of the ideal climate for investment. The government is committed to implementing a wide range of new policies that stimulate further investment in the key sectors targeted by the Emirate's Vision 2021. The government of Ajman is keen to further push the development of the economy through the enactment of laws and legislation that are attractive to investment and targets the sustainability of companies, factories, and capital. We have directed all the authorities in the Emirate concerned with economic affairs to adopt policies that are attractive to investment. The main factors behind this growth are primarily the improved business environment across a range of initiatives that have had a significant role in saving investors' time, money, and effort. Such measures included reducing fees for issuing and renewing licenses and facilitating the initiation of business activities in the Emirate with just six procedures and reducing the period required to only six days. There is no doubt that the existence of national competencies and international expertise, the smooth logistics environment, and the advanced systems created a climate that is in the interest of the investor, and that is our first goal. Optimizing technology use for various services for businesspeople and investors has also played a leading role in meeting the expectations of the community in terms of saving time and effort to achieve record processing times both within the Emirate's free zone and other economic entities in Ajman.

Which sectors have the greatest growth potential in Ajman?

The transformative industries sector is the largest sector with about 35% of the Emirate's contribution to the country's GDP, followed by construction with 15%, repair and maintenance with 13%, real estate and business services with 12%, and government services with 6%. The economy of Ajman enjoys great flexibility and is highly diversified. The annual rate of new licenses granted to businesses in Ajman grows every year. In the commercial, professional, and industrial fields, we exceeded 3,500 licenses annually. This may be one of the simple indicators that reflect the extent of business development and investor confidence in the Emirate's economy. As a result, GPD has doubled to close to AED20 billion while economic activity and sales trade have doubled to over AED40 billion, according to the estimates of 2016. Ajman is known as a large industrial base, and it is the third Emirate in the country in terms of a number of industrial facilities and production units. The tourism and industry sectors are the most attractive in the Emirate, and the government is working to support these sectors without underestimating the importance of the other sectors and providing their necessities. Five key areas are expected to see a boom in the coming period: transformative industries, logistics, subcontracting, media, as well as tourism, where investment has increased significantly during the past year.

How has FDI in Ajman developed over the last few years?

The past decade has seen remarkable trends in investment in infrastructure, housing, tourism, and industry. The participation of local and foreign investors in the real estate sector resulted in an increase in residential units in the Emirate by more than five fold during the same period. Private investment has also contributed to the expansion of the number of private schools and hospitals. In the tourism sector, Ajman is considered one of the fastest-growing Emirates in terms of restaurants, hotels, and cafes. The government has also developed large tourist complexes, including in Al Khor area, and beautification of the coastline. The government also cooperated with a foreign investor to develop Al Zora Tourism Complex, which is one of the distinguished tourist complexes in its location.