While taking a look at the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) we see how its gathering and event help in expanding economic reach in terms of Foreign Direct Investment.
Certainly, the eighth edition of the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre held from April 9-11, 2018 was an outstanding investment conference with top-notch global experts, renowned academics and experienced consultants to update AIM audiences with contemporary investment trends in the domain of FDI. The initiative was taken by the Ministry of Economy and under the auspices of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.
The eighth edition of the AIM 2018 was inaugurated by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai in the presence of Sultan Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy. While several ministers and officials mainly from the UAE, India, Oman, South Korea, Russia, Egypt, Italy and Jordan were also present at the meeting.
More than 20,000 investors, financial institutions, institutional investors, delegates, government officials and participants participated at a series of events – exhibition, conference, country presentations, investors’ hub, investment awards and capacity-building workshops to help attract investment in specific economic sectors.
A Head of State, Governments, more than 40 Government Ministers and State Ministers joined a prestigious line-up of business leaders from 140 participating countries including more than 50 Country Pavilions and more than 100 Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) at the AIM, where countries promoted their investment climate and ease in doing business to attract investment.
The theme of the Annual Investment Meeting was ‘Linking Developed and Emerging Markets through FDI: Partnerships for Inclusive Growth & Sustainable Development’.
These government leaders and their IPAs appealed to the institutional and private investor groups to secure as much FDI as possible from a global pool of trillions of dollars’ worth of investment through a series of country presentations and investor match-making meetings.
AIM was spread across 8,000 square meters of net exhibition space in which participants from 140 countries promoted their investment projects, opportunities, services and attractions.
AIM included 3-day series of conferences with world-renowned speakers from private and public institutions including high-level officials from the UAE, Russia, China, Georgia, Indonesia, Nigeria, Tatarstan, Portugal, and many more.
The conference focused on: Driving sustainable development through FDI; Investment in the Fourth Industrial Revolution; how technology is changing the future of productivity and growth; Public-private partnerships for infrastructure projects, Sovereign Wealth and Private Equity Funds and their role in investment, etc.
AIM hosted a full-day workshop series to tackle Emerging technologies and opportunities for investment promotion agencies; How to develop successful city regional economies, the role of chambers of commerce in achieving SDGs and the role of marketing and communications in investment promotion.
Speakers from the most reputable private companies such as Mubadala, Lulu Group, and the Kanoo Group shared their knowledge on foreign direct investment.
More than 1000+ high officials including 1 Head of State, more than 30 Ministers and State Ministers, and more than 30 Head of International Organizations, Government Organizations, Sovereign Wealth Funds, Chambers, Investment Promotion Agencies networked with potential investors and financial institutions to boost investment inflow into their countries to develop industries, businesses and help create employment.
AIM hosted large investors including Emaar, Etisalat, Al Majdouie Investment, Jumeirah Group, Dubai Investments, Loukil Holding, Lulu Group, Sharjah Asset Management, Mubadala Investment, and many more.
New investment projects were launched for the first time through an array of activities including Country Presentations, Exhibition, Investors’ Hub, G2G, G2B, and B2B Networking Features, and AIM Startup Innovation Showcase and Startup Competition.
AIM hosted more than 40 Country Pavilions and 18 Country Presentations/Investment Destinations promoted investment opportunities in their locations including UAE, China, Georgia, Italy, India, South Korea, Egypt, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Jordan, Botswana, Cameroon, and Nigeria.
Power-packed with the international investment community, this exalted gathering witnessed high-ranking policy makers, business leaders, regional and international investors, successful entrepreneurs, leading academics and celebrated financial experts showcasing up-to-date information and strategies on attracting FDI.
AIM 2018 arranged a full-day series of pre-conference capacity building workshops for the first time, aimed at all participants, Economic Department, Free Zones, Chambers, Private Funds, Investors, Investment Promotion Agencies, Sovereign Wealth Fund and global experts. The capacity building workshops took place on 8th of April, a day before AIM started in full-fledge.
There were six workshops in total covering several key topics with series of interactive presentations and discussions which were expedited by a faculty of international experts from International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA), WAVTEQ, Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute (SWFI), GDP Global and Investment Consulting Associates (ICA).
Investment promotion agencies were trained to be proficient to promote investment, run roadshows and make intellectual investments. The informative approach of this assistance was combined with a tactical review of operational requirements through practical case studies.
Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) offered parallel sessions which focused on some sector-specific issues such as FDI in agriculture, energy, infrastructure, finance and innovation.
The first workshop of 8th April, 2018 was on emerging technologies and opportunities for Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) in partnership with WAIPA. This workshop looked at how IPAs could contribute to create a sound investment climate for attracting and promoting emerging technologies, and at the same time how these emerging technologies could be used to further attract investment.
The second workshop in partnership with GDP Global focused on enabling policies and programs to create competitive city regions and programs that all city regions need to deliver on; hard, soft and digital infrastructure, environment, global trade, education, entrepreneurship and innovation.
This was followed by the ICC workshop; which explored how chambers of commerce could undertake in fostering public-private dialogues, catalyzing new partnerships and alliances, and exploring innovative business solutions to accelerate sustainable development.
The interactive session brought together business leaders who shared best practices and discussed the pivotal role chambers of commerce could play in reaching the SDGs. A key feature of the workshop was an exchange of views on how the private sector could work with governments to achieve inclusive, people-centered sustainable development.
The fourth workshop was covered by the president of the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, which broke into a specialized discussion of how public asset owners of all shapes and size – including sovereign funds, development banks, public pensions, and superannuation funds – have been employed by governments in increasing numbers to address an array of fiscal and economic challenges in an ever-changing financial landscape.
The next workshop focused on maximizing the benefits of sustainable investment, in partnership with WAVTEQ. The workshop focused on how sustainable investment increases the benefits of FDI for a nation, what are the latest trends in sustainable investment and how can an organization attract sustainable investment.
The sixth and last workshop, in partnership with Investment Consulting Associates addressed how companies make investment decisions and how investment promotion agencies influence the location decision-making process through marketing and communications.
In a span of three days, an array of activities staged included a Conference, Exhibition, Capacity Building Workshops, Country Presentations, Investors’ Hub, Gala Dinner, Investment Awards, various G2G, G2B and B2B Networking Features, AIM Start-up Innovation Showcase and Pitch Competition.
Top focused sectors were Agribusiness and Agriculture, Energy and Mining, Finance and Banking, Infrastructure and Logistics, IT and Telecommunications, Manufacturing, Real Estate & Property, Tourism & Hospitality, and Trade & Industry.
Top Investment Organizations representing different countries and regions and covering multiple sectors met and explored potential business opportunities at AIM 2018.
Investors’ Hub located in the Exhibition hall was set up to provide participants with the opportunity to meet investors and financiers. This feature proved to be a real success as many significant meetings were held thus filling a real need for countries and prospective clients to meet and network with strategic partners to explore new business ventures.
The main objective was to create a safe and secure platform for Investment Organizations to meet with official Government representatives and trusted businessmen to discuss investment opportunities and potential partnerships. Investors’ Hub had participation from various organizations, some of which were international organizations and some were local organizations from UAE.
Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) also highlighted free zones’ role in attracting Foreign Direct Investment worldwide.
Let it be noted here that more than 3,500 Special Economic Zones or Free Trade Zones – also known as Free Zones – spread across 130 countries handled US$3.5 trillion worth of exports annually, according to a latest report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). With global exports reaching US$15.46 trillion, the share of free zones has crossed 22.63 percent.
Of this, free zones or Export Processing Zones in Asian countries handled US$2.4 trillion worth of trade – leading the free zone output in the world while free zones in the Middle East handled $552 billion worth of exports.
Free zones add US$500 billion worth of trade-related value globally while 66 million people are employed by companies registered within free zones, according to the report.
A free trade zone is an area geographically within a country’s boundaries, but designated outside of its customs area. In theory, a free port allows manufacturing and value added processing to take place on goods before customs are imposed.
Global free zone movement started in 1959 in Ireland with the establishment of a free zone at the Shannon Airport in Ireland and there are more than 3,500 free zones in operation today.
The UAE has one of the highest numbers of free zones in the world that offers foreign investors 100 percent foreign ownership in companies registered with any of these free zones.
The past three years saw some discrepancy in the free zone export volume, which reached Dh221.3 billion in 2015, before declining to Dh211.4 billion in 2016 but it rebounded significantly last year in a way that reflects the boom witnessed on the non-oil sector.
The World Free Zones Organization (World FZO) was launched in Dubai, UAE, in May 2014, by its 14 founding members and under the auspices of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai. Registered in Geneva and headquartered in Dubai, the World FZO is the only truly international, multi-lateral organization for free zones in the world today.
Free zones are a major growth catalyst and they not only a facility for import, export or trade, free zones are in fact economic growth enabler, job creator and attracts investment. That’s why the Annual Investment Meeting also focuses on free zones as a tool to boost investment and private capital flow into the developing economies as well as help their economic growth accelerate.
Abu Dhabi Investment Office also took part in the Annual Investment Forum (AIM) 2018 in Dubai. China is also strengthening investment in the UAE through Annual Investment Meeting. Two-way trade between UAE and China crossed US$35 billion in the first 9 months of 2017. China, the second largest global economy and the UAE, the second biggest Arab economy, are strengthening bilateral economic relations to a new level.