Dubai tops MENA & 2nd globally for FDI in creative & cultural industries

233 new projects in culture launched in 2021, says report
/ New Delhi
Dubai tops MENA & 2nd globally for FDI in creative & cultural industries

Dubai bolsters its position as cultural destination with iconic creations like Museum of the Future (Photo: Varsha Singh)

Dubai has consolidated its status as a global cultural hub and investment destination, by attracting FDI projects in its cultural and creative sectors.
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Dubai ranked first in the MENA region and second in the world in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) in the cultural and creative industries (CCI) in 2021, revealed Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and member of the Dubai Council. She says that Dubai’s emergence as a magnet for FDI in the sector has been driven by the vision and directives of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

According to the Dubai FDI Monitor report, published by the Dubai Investment Development Agency, Dubai attracted 233 new projects in the creative economy in 2021. The emirate surpassed other major cities such as New York, Singapore and Berlin and has improved its rankings from fifth in the previous year to second in 2021.

“These results reflect the maturity and stability of the investment environment in the emirate’s creative economy. Dubai has created outstanding FDI opportunities in the sector by building a robust ecosystem and an advanced business-enabling infrastructure for creative entrepreneurs,” comments Sheikha Latifa.

She further adds that by fostering an environment that promotes learning, development, and innovation, Dubai has developed a vibrant global creative community.

According to data from Dubai FDI Monitor, there has been significant growth in foreign investment in the cultural and creative industries of Dubai. The sector’s estimated value of FDI capital flows exceeded AED 4.9 billion (USD 1.33 billion) in 2021.

In terms of the number of new jobs in the creative economy, Dubai held on to its top rank regionally and fourth globally with 6,204 new jobs created from FDI.

Sheikha Latifa adds that Dubai had witnessed a remarkable rise in FDI capital flows in the creative economy during the past five years. Between 2017 and 2021, the Emirate’s creative economy witnessed FDI capital inflows of AED 50.9 billion (USD 13.86 billion) across 787 projects.

According to the Dubai FDI Monitor report, these projects created 32,542 new jobs during the five-year period. Dubai ranks fifth globally in terms of projects, eighth in terms of FDI capital flows into the creative economy, and fourth in terms of jobs created during the past five years.

Sheikha Latifa believes that Dubai’s success in continuously enhancing the well-being of its citizens, residents, and visitors and elevating the quality of services provided to them has raised the global creative community’s confidence in the emirate and made it a preferred global business, lifestyle, and entertainment destination.

Director General of Dubai Culture, Hala Badri says the authority continues to reinforce the foundations to open new horizons for the various components of the emirate’s creative economy and secure its position on the global scene as an ideal investment destination.

Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of the Department of Economy and Tourism in Dubai, stresses that Dubai’s regional and global pre-eminence in FDI attraction comes from the vision and guidance of the leadership to build a diversified economy based on knowledge and innovation.

“The cultural and creative industries today are among the most attractive for investments, advanced technologies, and talent. The sector has contributed greatly to Dubai achieving the top global ranking in attracting greenfield FDI projects in 2021,” AlMarri adds.

Fahad Al Gergawi, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai FDI, highlighted that Dubai’s cultural and creative industries sector has increased its attractiveness to all forms of FDI, including greenfield FDI projects, FDI Reinvestment projects, Mergers and Acquisitions (M&As), Joint-Ventures, and New Forms of Investments (NFIs), in addition to Venture Capital (VC) Backed FDI.

“The Dubai FDI Monitor data provides a comprehensive analysis of FDI projects in Dubai’s economic sectors. It helps the strategic planning process for enhancing Dubai’s attractiveness for FDI, as well as the FUSpromotion, facilitation and the provision of specialised and reliable services to the investor community,” Al Gergawi adds.

According to ‘Dubai FDI Monitor’ data, greenfield FDI accounted for 71pc of the total FDI projects in Dubai’s cultural and creative industries in 2021, followed by mergers & acquisitions projects (12pc), reinvestment FDI projects (9 pc), new forms of investments (5 pc) and joint ventures (2 pc).

Currently Dubai Culture is working with its strategic partners to develop an effective framework that will enhance the growth of Dubai’s culture and arts sector and raise its contribution to the emirate’s GDP.

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