Author: Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO, Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq)
20 Jul 2017
As the investment promotion agency of Sharjah, we are dedicated to the continued transformation and economic diversification of the emirate, and we are committed to guiding foreign investors to the tremendous opportunity and potential that Sharjah offers. Working actively and collaboratively with private companies and public institutions, we leverage our superior market knowledge to guide foreign investors to the right opportunities in Sharjah.
Sharjah is quickly becoming a preferred investment destination, offering competitive advantages to regional and international investors. At Invest in Sharjah, an initiative launched by Shurooq, we identify, promote and facilitate investment opportunities across all sectors of the economy. Our expert team takes great pride in discussing the abundant investment opportunities in the emirate of Sharjah. We offer a business-friendly environment and bespoke, step-by-step guidance to find opportunities that offer strong returns. Our areas of focus include: travel and leisure, transport and logistics, healthcare, environment, education, and light manufacturing.
With demand outpacing supply, the travel and leisure sector offers a range of investment choices. From increasing demand for luxury hotels and restaurants to rising arrivals at the emirate’s airport and cruise terminals, Sharjah offers tremendous opportunities for investment in this flourishing sector.
As the centre of trade and commerce, and the industrial and manufacturing centre of the UAE, Sharjah also offers a wide range of investment opportunities in transport and logistics, a fast-growing sector in the emirate. What’s more, the emirate’s strategic location and affordable labour costs make it ideal for land and sea transport.
Invest in Sharjah embraces the modern approach to governance, fostering close collaboration between the private and public sector
In healthcare terms, Sharjah’s growing population, coupled with a rise in lifestyle diseases, has increased demand for high-quality, specialised treatment and pharmaceutical services. As the emirate looks to increase its ratio of hospital beds to population in the next few years, there is ample room for growth and investment in the healthcare sector too.
The Government of Sharjah has placed the environment at the heart of policymaking. New environmental legislation is creating the need for environmental products and services, and with its zero-waste strategy and strong carbon emissions regulation programmes, Sharjah is looking to attract local and international investments in this sector; investments that align with the strategic direction of the emirate.
Sharjah is also regarded as a key centre of higher education, and is looking to attract more foreign students to its schools and universities. In 2016, education as a percentage of total budgeted expenditure across the UAE was 21.2 percent, and the strong growth of the sector presents significant investment opportunities.
Finally, as the industrial hub and manufacturing backbone of the UAE, Sharjah boasts a thriving manufacturing sector. The availability of land in industrial and free zones – including the Sharjah Airport International Free Zone and the Hamriyah Free Zone – is among the emirate’s key advantages with regard to development. “Sharjah is a natural place for manufacturers to locate at a time when industrial zones in neighbouring Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Ajman are filling up”, said Mohammed Al-Hazzaa, Director General of Emirates Industrial City, one of Sharjah’s industrial zones.
Over the past decade, Sharjah has implemented several initiatives to further develop and diversify the emirate’s economy, and to encourage foreign direct investment. These include start-up schemes for small and medium-sized enterprises, and the establishment in 2009 of the investment and development authority Shurooq. This is an independent body mandated to oversee the social, cultural, environmental and economic development of Sharjah, in line with its rich heritage and culture.
Shurooq was named MENA FDI Agency of the Year in 2013 and 2014 at the European Global Banking and Finance Awards. In 2015, Shurooq was named the Top Investment Promotions Agency at Site Selection magazine’s Best to Invest Awards.
Invest in Sharjah embraces the modern approach to governance, fostering close collaboration between the private and public sector by bringing investors and opportunities together to fuel growth and prosperity for all through the provision of an end-to-end solution to investing in the emirate. We believe our united efforts will help promote and position Sharjah in the global marketplace.
Centrally located between Europe and east Asia, with convenient access to major international airports and ports on both the Arabian Gulf and Indian Ocean, Sharjah is a strategic investment destination. We are proud to be the most diversified economy in the GCC and the cultural capital, industrial hub and education hotspot of the UAE. With no single sector representing more than 20 percent of the emirate’s GDP, Sharjah has achieved a compound GDP growth rate of 11 percent over the past 10 years, proving its economy is sustainable and stable.
Investors will benefit from Sharjah’s business potential. From its open-door policy and simple incorporation process, to special investment zones and a favourable regulatory environment, the emirate offers competitive advantages to regional and international investors. Its economic resilience is fuelled by over 55,000 SMEs that already benefit from the competitiveness of the supply chain. Over 13,000 companies, with investors from over 157 nationalities, are established in Sharjah’s free zones.
Investors in Sharjah benefit from an attractive and continually improving national investment environment. In the World Bank’s 2017 Ease of Doing Business Index, the UAE ranked 26th out of 190 countries, up eight places from the previous year. In addition, the UAE ranked 11th out of 138 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness report for 2016-17, while fDi Intelligence, a Financial Times publication, ranked Sharjah as one of the top 10 small and medium-sized cities of the future in 2015.
Our expert team takes great pride in discussing the abundant investment opportunities in our emirate. We work with investors, companies and institutions from around the world to identify the right solutions to achieve individual investment needs and realise mutual success.