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President issues laws formalising UAE's Abu Dhabi Investment Office

Two new laws concern the formalisation of ADIO and the regulation of PPPs to spur FDI and economic growth in Abu Dhabi

President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
© Wam
President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Two laws, the first of 2019, have been issued in the UAE by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to formalise the establishment of Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO).

Law No. 1 concerns the establishment of ADIO, whilst Law No. 2 focus on the regulation of public-private partnerships (PPPs)

Mandated with providing guidance to investors and promoting Abu Dhabi as a global investment destination, ADIO will implement “a comprehensive strategy to increase foreign direct investment (FDI) to Abu Dhabi”. The new organisation’s activities will be carried out as part of Abu Dhabi’s Ghadan 21 strategy, launched in September 2018. 

The UAE attracted 37% of FDI inflows to the Middle East and North Africa region in 2017, and the country’s FDI stock has increased from $64bn (AED235bn) to $130bn (AED477.5bn) since 2010. 

ADIO’s work will incorporate the “key levers” needed to spur economic growth in Abu Dhabi both through PPPs as well as “targeted incentives” in the UAE capital’s priority sectors, such as technology, tourism, and advanced manufacturing”. 

As part of its FDI strategy, ADIO will also establish a PPP Centre of Excellence, which will work as a platform to develop “attractive investment models for international and local investors” as envisioned within the Government of Abu Dhabi’s economic programme. 

The PPP framework is expected to boost FDI inflows into Abu Dhabi as well as improve the private sector’s role in sectors such as technology, urban infrastructure development, education, healthcare, housing, and transportation. Among ADIO’s key functions will be to work with government and private-sector partners to "use financial, technical, and regulatory criteria to screen proposed projects and assess their feasibility for PPP”.

Commenting on the formalisation of ADIO, the chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, Saif Mohamed Al Hajeri, said: “The formal establishment of ADIO is an important milestone for Abu Dhabi’s economic development. With a growing, diversified economy, it is essential we continue to attract inward investment from international players. 

“Abu Dhabi is one of the world’s most attractive investment destinations and I am confident that ADIO will drive further progress in line with our economic strategy.”

The acting chief executive officer of ADIO, Elham Abdulghafoor Mohamed AlQasim, said that Abu Dhabi’s “vibrant economy, stable political system, and business-friendly regulatory environment” would continue to drive investors from the local and international private sectors.

“Our goal is to channel FDI towards priority sectors and enhance private-sector participation in strategic projects where there are growing opportunities,” AlQasim continued. 

“We want to boost economic growth and competitiveness by executing an ambitious, targeted FDI strategy and driving partnership across the private and public sectors, where there are global precedents of private-sector participation in priority public-sector projects. 

“Our thanks and gratitude to the government’s leadership for enabling the continued development and diversification of the economy,” AlQasim added, according to the UAE’s state news agency, Wam.

The $5.4bn (AED20bn) Ghadan 21 development strategy was approved by HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on 16 September, 2018. Phase 1 of the programme features 50 initiatives across sectors such as business and investment, society, knowledge, and innovation.

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