Dubai No 1 spot for greenfield FDI projects. Image courtesy: wam
Dubai retained its No 1 spot globally for attracting greenfield FDI projects in 2022, further reinforcing its position as the world’s top foreign direct investment hub, according to data from the 2022 Financial Times ‘fDi Markets’ report.
Retaining its top spot for a second successive year, Dubai achieved 89.5 percent YoY growth in total announced FDI projects in 2022, while total FDI capital surged 80.3 percent over the same period, further consolidating the emirate’s status as one of the top three global cities, a key goal of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.
The emirate’s share in attracting global Greenfield FDI projects reached 4 percent, an increase of 1.9 percent compared to 2021, with a record 837 projects enabling the city to achieve the highest growth in global shares across the past seven years, according to data from Financial Times’ fDi Markets, the most comprehensive online database on cross-border Greenfield investments. Dubai attracted a total of 1,173 FDI projects in 2022.
Dubai FDI Monitor’s data also revealed that the total estimated FDI capital flowing into Dubai in 2022 was AED47 billion ($12.8 billion) compared to AED26.07 billion in 2021.
An estimated 38,447 jobs were created in Dubai in 2022 compared to 24,932 jobs in 2021.
The top five source countries for FDI projects accounted for 54 percent of the total in 2022, split among the United States (20 percent), the United Kingdom (13 percent), India (12 percent), France (5 percent), and Switzerland (4 percent).
Additionally, the top five source countries for FDI capital accounted for 72 percent of the total estimated flows into the emirate in 2022, split among Canada (41 percent), the United Kingdom (12 percent), the United States (11 percent), India (4 percent), and Switzerland (4 percent).
HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, said: “Dubai’s ability to secure the No 1 global ranking for Greenfield FDI projects for the second year in a row demonstrates its ability to sustain its compelling investment value proposition even at a time when the worldwide economy is facing headwinds.
"Driven by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the emirate offers the deep stability, sustainability, infrastructure and opportunity-rich environment needed to ensure the long-term trust of international investors, businesses and entrepreneurs. Over the years, Dubai has forged dynamic partnerships with global investors to accelerate innovation and create enduring economic value. Dubai leads the world in attracting FDI in a wide range of industries, especially future-oriented sectors, a fact that is a testament to the strategic vision articulated in the Dubai Economic Agenda D33, which aims to consolidate Dubai’s position as one of the world’s top urban economies.”
Financial Times ‘fDi Markets’ data for 2022 showed that Dubai continued to maintain and improve its leadership position across key FDI attraction metrics.
The emirate ranked first in attracting FDI projects into tourism, business services, financial services, transport and warehousing, consumer products, and software & IT services sectors.
Dubai also emerged as the 2022 world leader in attracting FDI projects in the creative industries cluster, in research and development projects, and in attracting FDI project headquarters by hosting international companies’ global and regional headquarters.
Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, said: “Dubai’s leading global FDI ranking underpins a comprehensive framework of initiatives that were launched to further strengthen the city’s business and investment environment, based on the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
“Our strategy to further consolidate the city’s position as one of the top three global cities, in line with the Dubai Economic Agenda, D33, is again strengthened by the achievement of attracting and stimulating FDI and reflects the confidence investors, multinational companies, start-ups, and global talent have in Dubai. The growth of the city’s share in global Greenfield FDI projects clearly indicates our strategy’s effectiveness and also highlights the city’s position as the capital of the global digital economy and a hub for innovation and technology, further ensuring that increasing FDI inflow remains a top priority and key goal of the D33 Agenda,” Helal Almarri added.
Overall in 2022, Dubai ranked seventh globally in attracting Greenfield FDI Capital and fifth globally in FDI Jobs.
From a MENA perspective, Dubai ranked second in FDI Capital and first in FDI Jobs.
Compared to 2021, Greenfield FDI (wholly owned) and new forms of investments increased by 6 percent in 2022. The new forms of investments demonstrate the level of Dubai’s domestic market maturity and the diverse non-equity-based partnership opportunities across joint ventures, strategic alliances, sub-contracting, licensing, production-sharing franchising, and turnkey projects.
The top five sectors - transportation & warehousing, hotels & tourism, renewable energy, software & IT services, and consumer products - accounted for 76 percent of the total estimated flows into Dubai and 68% of announced FDI projects — the transportation & warehousing sector led the pack with a dominant 45 percent share of FDI capital. Dubai FDI Monitor data also revealed that the top five business functions accounted for 78 percent of total estimated flows into Dubai, while 93 percent accounted for the total announced FDI projects in 2022.
Business services also remained a prominent business function based on FDI projects and FDI capital in 2022.
Types of foreign direct investment by projects
Compared to 2021, Dubai leads the world in a number of important metrics as a result of attracting different types of FDI projects and capital, including Greenfield FDI and new forms of investments: mergers, acquisitions, reinvestments, VC-backed FDI and greenfield joint ventures.
Complementing the 2022 increase in FDI capital, the hotels & tourism sector and the software & IT services sector catalysed growth in total estimated jobs created through FDI.
High and medium-tech FDI projects accounted for 63 percent of the projects recorded in this sector in 2022, highlighting Dubai’s position as a preferred destination for high-tech FDI projects and a global centre for specialised talent in the digital economy.