"In an effort to attract further foreign investment to Dubai and increase the number of jobs and non-oil revenue, the emirate has been relaxing a number of its laws that previously restricted foreign investing."

Going places: Dubai announces largest ever fiscal budget and triples the size of its financial centre

15 Jan 2019
UAE

In a move to further establish Dubai as a financial centre of choice, it has revealed plans to triple the size of the existing Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) free zone and allocate a record budget for annual expenditure.

The announcements form part of HH Sheikh Mohammed's 50 year charter, which contains nine articles outlining aims to develop the quality of life and ensure a brighter future for generations to come in the emirate of Dubai.

Dubai as a global finance hub

In an effort to attract further foreign investment to Dubai and increase the number of jobs and non-oil revenue, the emirate has been relaxing a number of its laws that previously restricted foreign investing. For example, 100% foreign ownership is now permitted in certain sectors such as artificial intelligence and renewable energy. 

To further reinforce Dubai's capability as an international financial centre, HH Sheikh Mohammed also revealed the DIFC 2.0 initiative, expanding the DIFC by 13 million sq.ft - including a new 400,000 sq.ft financial campus.

The phased expansion will have particular focus on providing investors with an international base for FinTech services and will be complemented by residencies, retail and leisure facilities.

With over 2000 companies already registered in the DIFC, a new beneficial visa system intent on accommodating investors and with the UAE listed 11th on World Bank's 2019 'Ease of Doing Business' rankings, the DIFC will become a honeypot for financial innovation, attracting banks, investment firms, insurance and financial services companies wanting to grow their international footprints.

A historic budget

The Sheikh's Dubai Public Budget Law for 2019 was also revealed last week, allocating AED 56.8 billion ($15.4 billion) for expenditures - the largest in the history of the emirate.

There will be a particular focus on public investment and infrastructure projects as Dubai prepares to host the Expo 2020, a festival of human ingenuity that will see businesses and tourists alike, flock to the emirate. Education, healthcare, women's involvement in business and community well-being also feature as priority investment areas. This is further bolstered by a strategy designed to facilitate the creation of 2,498 new public sector jobs.

The expansion of the DIFC and the record budget are yet further steps forward for the emirate of Dubai, and the UAE as a whole. Both aspects support and promote Expo 2020 and advance the UAE’s 'Vision 2021' goals of utilising resources to achieve a high degree of prosperity and well-being for citizens and residents.

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