Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA), a major provider of investment opportunities and one-stop solutions in its free zones, industrial parks and offshore facilities as well as in real estate developments and other ventures, collaborated with the Arab Business Club to hold a high-profile business forum at the Emirates Towers Dubai, on March 16th, which was attended by more than 125 CEOs from across the region.
The forum discussed the strategic advantages that the Middle East region, and more specifically Ras Al Khaimah, offers investors and also focused on key factors that enabled RAKIA to achieve a 27% increase in licences issued in 2010 compared to 2009. The forum also saw the Senior Economist of HSBC Liz Martins speaking about regional investment trends.
Hamdan Mohamed, President and Chairman, Arab Business Club, said, “We believe that this forum has contributed to further strengthening business relationships by providing networking opportunities for attendees that could translate into further investments in Ras Al Khaimah. The participation of so many high-profile executives in the forum was an indication that they were keen to interact with other leaders of global enterprises, which has prompted us to host similar events in future. We are on track to reach our goals of empowering the Arab business community by helping them network with other business people, both from the Arab world and beyond.”
The exclusive forum also highlighted the visionary leadership of H.H. Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, which has been crucial in the investment boom in Ras Al Khaimah. It was through Sheikh Saud’s directives that RAKIA was established and various reforms in government and legal systems were implemented, resulting in an unprecedented economic growth in the emirate over the last eight years.
Dr. Khater Massaad, CEO, RAKIA, said: “We are pleased to collaborate with the Arab Business Club to organise this business forum with high-profile CEOs from across the region. This initiative is in line with our continuing efforts to raise awareness about the numerous opportunities that have emerged in Ras Al Khaimah and RAKIA’s firm commitment to further enhance the emirate’s reputation as a world-class business and investment destination. In recent years, investors have appreciated the emirate’s centralised location and excellent business infrastructure, which are crucial in giving investors a significant advantage in the market. The ever-growing investor confidence in Ras Al Khaimah is reflected in the impressive year-on-year performance of RAKIA.”
RAKIA issued 1,108 licences in 2010, improving by 27 per cent from 2009 and 62 per cent compared to 2008. As of December 31, 2010, there were 3,679 business licences issued by RAKIA since 2006, broken into 1,042 consulting/service companies, 1,028 trading/general trading businesses, 659 commercial companies, 628 industrial firms and 322 media businesses.
In recent years, RAKIA has been organising similar investment meets around the world, including the forums in the United States and India organised in collaboration with PricewaterhouseCoopers. Last year, RAKIA and The Economic Times hosted the Global Business Forum in New Delhi, India, where the UAE Ambassador H.E. Mohamed Sultan Abdalla Al Owais highlighted the attractive opportunities for doing business in Ras Al Khaimah. RAKIA also revealed that it will be organising a round table meeting with the Plastic and Chemical Manufacturers Association in India and Pakistan, in addition to participating in Hanover Messe 2011 and in a trade show in Lyon, France in April.
Investors in Ras Al Khaimah enjoy a full range of business incentives, including 100 per cent income, personal and corporate tax exemptions and absence of value-added tax (VAT); 100 per cent capital and profit repatriation; 100 per cent ownership in free zones; no foreign exchange control; liberal labour laws; up to 30 per cent lower cost of doing business compared to other locations in the region; and ease in establishing and registering companies.
Founded by Hamdan Mohamed, an Emirati National, Arab Business Club has thousands of business personalities, entrepreneurs, decision makers, industry experts and marketing professionals to meet, share ideas and ink deals. The club aims to contribute to the improvement of business and cross-cultural understanding, integration and communication worldwide.
Rushika Bhatia Editor
Rushika Bhatia is one of the region’s leading commentators on business and current affairs issues. She is the Editor of CPI Media Group’s flagship title – SME Advisor magazine. In addition, she leads CPI Media Group’s infographics division – with special emphasis on data, research and statistics. Rushika has a Bachelor’s Degree from Indiana University, USA and is also CIMA qualified.