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Report | The Report: Dubai 2020

Although Dubai has traversed some challenging economic territory over recent years the economic stimulus of Expo 2020 preparation and more stable oil prices have eased this strain in 2019, and business sentiment has improved accordingly. With the long-anticipated expo event set to take place in 2020, attention has started to focus on the important question of sustaining the current economic momentum over the medium term.

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Chapter | Tax from The Report: Dubai 2020

The UAE currently has no system of federal income taxation. Instead, most of the emirates – including Dubai – enacted their own corporate tax decrees in the late 1960s. These emirate-level decrees are of general application and remain in force as amended. These corporate tax decrees are similar in nature and text, and deal in broad terms with the identities of taxable persons, rates, administration, taxable profits and loss relief. The decrees limit the scope of taxation to “bodies corporate” carrying out a trade or business in the respective emirates. This chapter contains a viewpoint from Mark Schofield, Partner, PwC Middle East Tax & Legal Services Leader.

Chapter | Industry from The Report: Dubai 2020

Fuelled by public infrastructure investment and attractive incentives for foreign investors, Dubai’s industrial sector continues to be a major driver of the emirate’s economic growth. While industrial output has been historically built on low-tech but high-value-added segments such as base metals and chemicals production, the emirate is pursuing a diversification agenda under its Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030. This policy appears to be paying dividends, with 2019 seeing growth in priority areas including the food and beverage segment as well as emerging industries such as auto manufacturing. Furthermore, with the reform of foreign ownership laws and the reductions in fees for businesses operating in the emirate’s free zones in 2019, foreign direct investment inflows are expected to rise steadily over the coming years.

Chapter | ICT & Innovation from The Report: Dubai 2020

Dubai is looking to place itself ahead of global trends by investing heavily in ICT and innovation. With an already highly developed market for ICT products and services, the emirate is seeking to harness the transformative potential of digitalisation to facilitate government-to-government and government-to-citizen transactions, and increase efficiency across a range of industries. While the public investment-driven nature of the sector’s momentum contrasts with the private sector model pioneered by Silicon Valley in the US, the approach is proving to have its own advantages. At the same time, the emirate is leveraging its free zone network to attract international investment, while pursuing policies aimed at developing the start-up ecosystem. This chapter contains an interview with Aisha bin Bishr, Director-General, Smart Dubai Office.

Chapter | Education from The Report: Dubai 2020

In a short time Dubai has established a vibrant education sector with an increasing variety of choice at all levels. While the private segment continues to dominate, recent reforms have seen major improvements to public sector schooling, modernising it and bringing it in line with international best practices. Inevitably, high rates of growth in the number of international schools and higher-education institutions have led to consolidation, gradually slowing expansion and creating greater barriers to entry for prospective players. In general, however, there remain opportunities for investors with savvy value propositions attuned to ongoing shifts in market needs in Dubai and in the broader region.

Chapter | Health from The Report: Dubai 2020

Medical tourism, pharmaceutical production and changes to insurance billing are the chief talking points in Dubai’s health sector at present. The private sector has led rapid growth in recent years, and while high average health spend and a favourable regulatory environment continue to encourage new hospital operators to enter the market, a tilt in the supply-demand balance means providers must closely watch market needs. In the long term a growing population, supportive governance and a focus on non-communicable diseases are likely to continue to create opportunities for both international and local players.

Chapter | Energy from The Report: Dubai 2020

While upstream oil and gas revenue provided much of the financing for Dubai’s early development, the emirate’s road to modernisation has been built around economic diversification. Having historically relied upon natural gas imports for its electricity, Dubai is gradually reducing its dependence on hydrocarbons imports by investing in a range of power generation projects. This includes a number of plans to develop renewable energies, particularly solar power, as the emirate seeks to position itself as a regional and global centre for clean energy solutions. This chapter contains interviews with Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Managing Director and CEO, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority; and Ahmad bin Shafar, CEO, Empower Dubai.