Inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) into the UAE increased by 3.9 percent in 2021 compared to 2020, reaching nearly AED 76 billion ($20.7 billion). This resulted in the total FDI balance in the country reaching nearly AED 630 billion (US$171.6 billion) by the end of 2021, an increase of 13.7 percent over 2020. FDI into the country has grown by 116 percent over the past ten years, while the total value of those investments has grown by 113 percent.
The UAE Minister of Economy, Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, said that the distinguished result is one of the latest achievements under the UAE leadership’s wise vision and directives, which are based on the principles of proactivity and planning for the future. The UAE has once again proved the strength and flexibility of its economy, and the attractiveness of its business and investment environment, highlighting the advantages it offers.
Investing in the UAE covers all vital economic sectors, including traditional and renewable energy, oil and natural gas, the financial sector, insurance activities, real estate, health, industry, and agriculture. Digital economy, technology, innovation, artificial intelligence, Internet of things, blockchain, innovative medical technologies, high-speed transportation, virtual and augmented reality, robotics, and self-driving cars also attracted considerable foreign direct investment.
The UAE’s outward FDI flows were nearly AED 82.6 billion (AED 22.5 billion) in 2021 with a rate of growth of 19.1 percent. Over the past ten years, the UAE’s investments in foreign markets increased by 789 percent, leading to an AED 830.5 billion (US$226.3 billion) investment level by the end of 2021, an increase of 11.1% compared with the end of 2020.
Compared to 2019, the UAE ranked 15th on the global list of countries able to attract foreign direct investment in 2020, an advance of nine ranks. In addition, it has climbed six positions worldwide in terms of outward foreign direct investment flows to position first in the Arab world and 13 globally, according to UNCTAD‘s World Investment Report 2021.
Kearney‘s FDI Confidence Index for 2021 also ranked the UAE first in the Arab world and 15th globally, an increase of four places from the year 2020, outperforming a number of major economies such as Singapore, Australia, Portugal, Denmark, Ireland, Brazil and Finland in the overall ranking.