Sharjah most diversified economy in the region – report

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The Al Majaz Waterfront in Sharjah boasts many landmark leisure amenities, most notably the Sharjah Fountain. Photo - UAEInteract.com

The Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) announced finalising an in-depth study on the emirate’s business environment and investment opportunities in various sectors, part of its efforts to develop the economy and encourage investment.

The investment body of the UAE’s third biggest city made the announcement on the sidelines of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2012, which is being held in Dubai.

Conducted in collaboration with Deloitte, a leading international consultancy firm, the study offers a comprehensive insight into the investment opportunities in the emirate, along with an overview of investment trends and prospects in Sharjah.

“The study offers comprehensive information on Sharjah’s competitive advantages and regulatory environment, and highlights key sectors that offer significant investment potential to local and foreign investors,” Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of Shurooq, said while unveiling the study.

“The study mainly aims to aid the investors’ understanding of Sharjah’s business conditions and investment opportunities, as well as to offer an overview of the regulatory landscape, including processes and requirements for setting up a business in the emirate,” he explained.

Al Sarkal added that Shurooq is as the Emirate’s investment body tasked with stimulating business, developing assets, and attracting investments to the emirate of Sharjah.

“The study comes in line with Shurooq’s strategy of promoting Sharjah, highlighting the emirate’s attractions, its economic investment opportunities and tourist characteristics, as well as its geographic location, sophisticated infrastructure and advanced telecom networks which allow easy access to local and international markets,” Al Sarkal added.

The Shurooq’s study suggested that Sharjah’s economy is the only economy in the Middle East region with no single sector contributing to more than 1/5th of GDP, bringing it the highest level of diversification.

The report noted that Sharjah is the only GCC hub with direct access to the Gulf and Indian Ocean, serving as a gateway to 160 countries with a combined population of 2 billion.

Shurooq’s CEO insisted that the study proves that Sharjah offers a stable investment environment that helps investors compete at a global level.

According to the study, Sharjah is the 3rd largest emirate by contribution to the UAE’s GDP after Abu Dhabi and Dubai as it accounted roughly 5 percent of the UAE’s GDP and 8 percent of the total non-oil GDP in 2012. It is the third fastest growing economy in the country and has already attracted almost a quarter of the UAE’s business establishments.

The study noted the emirate’s strong economic growth from 2002-2009, which registered a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 13%, one of the highest in the UAE, while its GDP per capita increased by 50% during the period between 2005 and 2009.

The study disclosed that Sharjah registered a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 6% between 2008 and 2010, which can be attributed to the Emirate’s economic stability due to the diversity of its economy, its strong manufacturing base, and the abundance of small and medium size companies (SMEs).

The report also highlighted Sharjah as a regional-re-export hub and education hub.

According to the report, Sharjah has emerged as a key hub for manufacturing and industrial activities in the region and contributes to 33% of the country’s manufacturing sector. It is also the key destination for investment in basic resources, the study disclosed.

The report explored all the emirate’s sectors, property, education, health, retail, hospitality, tourist and investment sectors, offering an accurate assessment of each sector and defining investment opportunities across the emirate.

Shurooq was established in 2009 with the aim of achieving social, cultural, environmental and economic development on the basis of Sharjah’s distinct Arab and Islamic identity, and to encourage investment by adopting the best international standards in providing quality services that help attract investors from the region and the world.

The trade body’s key mission is to provide facilities and incentives to help overcome obstacles facing investment activities in the emirate, evaluate tourism-related infrastructure projects, and lay down the necessary plans to complete such projects.

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