Why all business eyes should be on Abu Dhabi?

Written by Souad Al Hosani

Abu Dhabi is one of the easiest places to do business in the world.

As the second largest economy in the Middle East, the UAE has been the strongest regional performer for ease of doing business, according to the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 report. Abu Dhabi is the first capital city in the world to develop a 100% fibre-to-the-home connection and the smartest city in the Middle East on IMD’s global city smart ranking for 2020.  

What these achievements mean is that Abu Dhabi has built a durable and robust infrastructure to support sustained and innovative investment, even in the face of great crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ease of doing business in Abu Dhabi is a reflection of the strength of partnership between the government and the private sector, including both UAE-based and foreign investors. I believe this resilient and business-friendly environment has been able to grow due to three reasons:

1. Abu Dhabi has taken the past year to do what it does best – innovate. Despite the pandemic freezing the dynamics of global business exchanges and decreasing FDI flows, Abu Dhabi has initiated business-friendly policies to further support its business community and bolster its economic recovery.

Using digital platforms for business registration and payment, adjusting to trends in the investment ecosystem, collecting and understanding feedback on the investor journey and taking the extra mile to bring Abu Dhabi to investors in the context of the crisis, have all marked the past year for the emirate.

2. The Abu Dhabi business community has always been close-knit and adaptive to challenges and changes. This adaptability has been supported and led by the government. All five free zones in Abu Dhabi have tailored regulations to the needs of the relevant industries they serve.

The Abu Dhabi business ecosystem has gone digital across industries in the past year, cutting away a lot of red tape in the process. And these changes are here to stay.

Digitalising government services across many business sectors has boosted Abu Dhabi’s global connectivity. Today, investors can apply for business permits from the comfort of their home anywhere in the world. This approach to streamlining previously tedious procedures demonstrates how resilient the emirate’s business ecosystem has become and how much more space there is to create new opportunities for both the current and the future investors.

3. Abu Dhabi puts a lot of emphasis on the development journey of each businessperson and investor. This tailored approach goes back to the pre-pandemic period with future-oriented and robust initiatives, such as the Ghadan 21 accelerator programme. Ghadan 21 is not only driving the emirate’s development by investing in business and innovation but also in people.

Overall, the government has been implementing a customer-first approach in all of its policies. Customer care is a form of investment in the future and Abu Dhabi has the perfect enabling environment for it, especially in the post-pandemic period.

What is needed for a friendlier ecosystem is a better understanding of each of its members, including investors, entrepreneurs, businesspeople and others who are essential to its development. I have witnessed this tremendous change as a former entrepreneur and Head of Investor Care at ADIO. 

My role is to make sure that investors and businesspeople understand the opportunities for this long-term partnership with Abu Dhabi, coupled with awareness of rules and regulations. My team ensures that investors remain happy and do well throughout their Abu Dhabi journey, be it through the provision of incentive packages or advisory work. 

Committed to the growth and diversification of Abu Dhabi’s economy through the private sector, ADIO has been supporting and guiding investors and businesspeople aligned with the emirate’s economic priorities. ADIO facilitates a continuous dialogue between the Abu Dhabi business ecosystem and the government, highlighting areas for growth in the private sectors and crafting long-term partnerships.

When thinking about mitigating the long-term consequences of the COVID-19 crisis and sustaining Abu Dhabi’s vibrant business ecosystem, we need to put the investor at the centre. Every investment story is different and seeks a unique and tailored approach.

Opportunities for understanding each step of the investor journey and ensuring a seamless information flow between key stakeholders are key to the post-pandemic success within the emirate’s vibrant network.

With this already in place, we can strive to move mountains and recover together.



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