Interview: Mohammed H Al Qemzi
How is Abu Dhabi attracting industrial investment while competing with its GCC neighbours?
MOHAMMED H AL QEMZI: Each country within the region has its own advantages and disadvantages. The UAE has very prudent policies set by our rulers, and this has made Abu Dhabi a solid market for capturing investment. Many international companies have come to Abu Dhabi because the industrial sector is one of the key segments of the economy that the government is focusing on. Our main objective is to attract energy- and capital-intensive industries with high automation. At the same time, these industries should dovetail with the emirate’s overall economy and add value to local operations. We are looking to raise standards by focusing on clean industries, and attracting investors that want to develop high-quality exports. The government has raised the standards for manufacturers that will help to increase the competitiveness of local products.
Abu Dhabi also offers investors different locations and choices to best suit their business needs. ZonesCorp and Khalifa Industrial Zone – Abu Dhabi are working in close collaboration to offer the proper services and infrastructure required by foreign and local investors. Together Khalifa Port and the Etihad Rail network will help enhance the development of both industrial zones by further facilitating the movement of goods and services. Along with operational assistance, Abu Dhabi also has a variety of support services available including education, social infrastructure and health care, along with other facilities. These services are already available and help promote investment.
In what ways is investment outside of Abu Dhabi’s city centre and industrial cities being encouraged?
AL QEMZI: The most important aspect of all developments is the community that is created as a result of industrial investments. Projects that are under way will help to raise standards within the local community by creating new economic opportunities along with the supporting social infrastructure. This will help enhance the quality of life and create employment opportunities for the people in those areas for years to come.
Each region within the emirate has its own strengths and targets as outlined by the government. Al Ain, for example, has industrial lands sufficient to cover its requirements for seven more years, based on our forecasts. Industries located in that region will build on the successful initiatives from Mubadala Aerospace and other stakeholders. The industrial lands in Al Gharbia, meanwhile, are greenfield developments. Furthermore, the Executive Council has allocated 14 sq km in Ruwais and 2.5 sq km in Madinat Zayed for future development.
There is a clear economic strategy for the region that anticipates billions of dollars of investment; providing industrial lands is a key facilitator of this development. All the relevant stakeholders are taking part in the economic development of Al Gharbia and are fully integrated with their objectives.
To what extent will a clustering model be followed in future industrial developments?
AL QEMZI: Clustering is very important as it enables as much value as possible from a particular product to be retained within a country. For example, Emirates Steel (ES) is an anchor tenant that is already operating within Abu Dhabi’s Industrial City. A value chain is being created around ES to create more downstream products from this anchor. Similarly, with other anchor factories in the industrial zone, we are encouraging simultaneous downstream development and small and medium-sized enterprise creation. It is best to build a value chain around anchor industries.
At the same time, it is vital that these clusters are competitive on a global scale; we are undertaking initiatives to raise the standard of manufacturing to ensure local industries are globally competitive. By implementing best practices for operations, environment, quality and safety, the private sector is restructuring itself to comply with international standards, and this is for the benefit of both the investors and Abu Dhabi.
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