Interview: Waleed Al Sayegh

What is your assessment of the current investment climate in the emirate?

WALEED AL SAYEGH: Sharjah has a diverse and attractive economic climate for various types of investment and sectors. The emirate is focusing on the promotion of sustainable growth in the knowledge economy, innovation, the strengthening of the circular economy and clean energy, as well as in industries based on advanced technological solutions. These include segments with high-growth potential such as agricultural technology, financial technology and health care. Sharjah attracts capital from numerous parts of the world, and provides secure options for investors and new projects that support economic growth and aid social development.

How can collaboration between the public and private sector create an environment conducive to innovation and entrepreneurship?

AL SAYEGH: Partnership between the public and private sectors is fundamental in creating an environment conducive to innovation and entrepreneurship. This entails developing related strategies, action plans and incentive mechanisms with a focus on identifying developmental priorities and establishing innovation policies. Innovation requires an enabling and supportive environment, necessitating substantial collaboration between the public and private sectors. This cooperation aims to make innovation a driver of economic growth, and an enabler of productivity and efficiency – creating jobs and supporting sustainable development in the process.

In what ways does domestic investment in industry, education and health care impact foreign direct investment in Sharjah?

AL SAYEGH: Local investment in industry, education and health care is crucial for sustainable investment, which enhances the emirate’s attractiveness. This is particularly important in light of the focus on developing talent and expertise at home. In terms of industry, Sharjah enjoys a favourable location, and provides supportive infrastructure and legislation. It boasts 33 industrial zones, six specialised free zones, and research and scientific complexes in technology and innovation. These factors have led 35% of industrial firms in the UAE to choose Sharjah as their headquarters. Health care is considered to be another promising sector in the emirate. There are numerous opportunities for foreign investors to establish strategic partnerships, inject capital and capitalise on the promising health care market.

Which factors make Sharjah an attractive investment destination in the current global climate?

AL SAYEGH: Sharjah possesses a diversified economy, which reduces exposure to market fluctuation and contributes to sustainable growth. Additionally, the emirate enjoys political and economic stability, with robust institutions that provide protection for property rights and investment. Its modern and globally connected infrastructure make Sharjah a strategic location for business and trade. The emirate also relies on technology and innovation as part of its strategy to boost the economy, and to support start-ups and innovative companies.

To what extent is the emirate promoting environmentally responsible investments?

AL SAYEGH: Sharjah has become a leader in sustainability by directing investment towards environmentally friendly projects and industries. This includes renewable energy and environmental technology, as well as projects aimed at reducing carbon emissions and improving the efficiency of natural resource utilisation. Eager to expand its capabilities and expertise, Sharjah aims to lead the global trend towards addressing climate change through technology.