His Highness, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, recently approved two new laws aimed at enhancing the flow of foreign direct investment (FDI) into the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi is considered to have one of the most stable and vibrant economies in the Middle East and is widely considered as fertile ground for inward investment.

The first new law, Law No. 1 of 2019, relates to the establishment of the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) which will have responsibility for overseeing the implementation and execution strategy for increasing FDI in the Emirate. The second new law, Law No. 2 of 2019, will regulate Public Private Partnerships (PPP) in Abu Dhabi.

The ADIO will be responsible for introducing and overseeing various strategic programmes and activities in Abu Dhabi with a view to enhancing the investment environment for both local and international investors. The ADIO will also be responsible for establishing a ‘PPP Centre of Excellence’ designed to deliver best practices and facilitate this inward investment. This forms part of the Abu Dhabi Development Accelerator Programme “Ghadan 21”, a three year (AED 50 billion) economic development strategy, which was endorsed by His Highness in 2018 and aims to stimulate business and investment as well as enhance and promote economic development across four key areas, including:

  • improving the competitiveness of the business environment;
  • supporting and enabling small and medium-sized enterprises;
  • strengthening the private sector in critical sectors such as technology, tourism and advanced manufacturing; and
  • improving transparency and engaging with businesses in Abu Dhabi.

The introduction of Law No. 2 of 2019 provides a framework for regulating partnerships between the public and private sector in Abu Dhabi. It will help to further enhance the Emirate’s FDI strategy with a view to supporting the participation of the private sector in certain key strategic sectors including technology, urban infrastructure, education, healthcare, housing and transportation. In doing so, the ADIO has stated that it will “support investors in making commitments in line with Abu Dhabi’s economic strategy and work with government and private sector partners to use financial, technical and regulatory criteria to screen proposed projects and assess their feasibility for PPP”.

The introduction of these two new laws represent a significant milestone in further cementing the Emirate’s longstanding commitment towards developing and diversifying the local economy and ensuring it continues to provide investors and other potential stakeholders with a robust, yet business friendly, regulatory environment within which to invest.

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