ATTRACTING ATTENTION

UAE, Sharjah 2017 | ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Mohamed Al Musharrkh, Director of Invest in Sharjah, on key accomplishments, new target markets, and Sharjah's geographic and industrial advantages.

Mohamed Al Musharrkh
BIOGRAPHY
Mohamed Al Musharrkh joined Sharjah investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) in 2012 as head of investment promotion, and was promoted to Director of Invest in Sharjah (then Sharjah FDI) in September 2016. He was also the a coordinator for the Sharjah Government in the UAE Competitiveness Council in addition to his seven years of experience at the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI). At SCCI, he held numerous positions in the International Affairs Department to promote Sharjah locally and globally. He holds a master’s degree in international business and a bachelor’s degree in international relations.

What is Invest in Sharjah?

Sharjah's leading investment promotion agency, 'Invest in Sharjah' is a one-stop shop for the promotion and facilitation of international businesses looking to establish in the Emirate. Since its official inception last year, the agency's in-depth market knowledge and thought leadership have been guiding investors to capitalize on Sharjah's competitive advantages which make the Emirate one of the UAE's and the region's most preferred investment destinations.

What have been some of Invest in Sharjah's major accomplishments since it was established?

We started under the name of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) in 2012, but the growing demand for our services required us to rebrand ourselves as a more specialized agency for international investors keen on setting up in Sharjah. Our key objective is to attract and retain more strategic long-term investments, with a special focus on increasing FDI opportunities through strategic government partnerships clearer. We are active in both local and international circles, where we host events involving major business councils, and undertake diplomatic missions and roundtables to promote new projects that are coming into Sharjah. Such activities are not only aimed at promoting Invest in Sharjah; they try to put the entire Emirate under the global business spotlight and engage our stakeholders everywhere.

What has the organization gained from visiting new markets such as China?

At Invest in Sharjah, a host of investment promotion managers with expertise in specific markets around the world are constantly working with their international counterparts to discover new areas of collaboration. Currently our main focus areas are China, India, Italy, the UK, the US, and the GCC. The forums and events that are held in India and China provide us with a great platform for understanding the requirements of the Indian and Chinese markets and to meet potential investors in these countries. We have been to three such gatherings already in China this year, and there is more to come. The same goes for India, which we have visited twice this year. Sharjah is already a popular investment destination among the Southeast Asian countries, but events help to keep them updated with our new initiatives, the promotion of our new free zones, and our industry-specific opportunities. We customize our market strategies to fit the requirements of the country we aim to target. In some cases, our strategy is to promote the Emirate itself, and in other countries where Sharjah is well established, we pitch specific projects and investment opportunities. Continuing the India-China example, while the former country knows where and what Sharjah is, the understanding of the opportunities is still in its nascent stages in many parts of China. In essence, our marketing strategies are born out of careful research and study of a country's competitive advantage and investment opportunities to be able to effectively facilitate their entry into our markets as quickly and cost effectively as possible.

What unique role does Sharjah play in the region and how does it contribute to the UAE's overall growth?

We always emphasize the importance of our strategic geographic location and demographic mix. Not only do countries on both sides of the world have numerous access points in Sharjah, which has been serving as a bridge between the East and West for years, but we also connect Abu Dhabi and Dubai to the rest of the Northern Emirates. As the industrial and educational hub of the UAE, our coastline includes both the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, and our locational importance to the world can never be overstated. We are the only Emirate in the UAE with access to both. We offer world-class business infrastructure through our free zones and our focus on recycling and waste management make us unique. All these put together make Sharjah's role central to the growth of the UAE as well as the entire Arab region.