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New Dubai plan to support overseas expansion a ‘win-win’

Dubai Chambers Supplied
Dubai Chambers connects members to opportunities for business growth in export markets
  • Dubai Chambers’ In Focus to drive members’ export interests
  • Part of plan to increase Dubai foreign trade to $544bn by 2026
  • Launches new representative offices in Egypt, Israel and Turkey

A new initiative to support the expansion of Dubai-based businesses into international markets has been described by experts as a “win-win situation”.

Dubai Chambers has launched In Focus, which aims to drive its members’ interest in selected regions as potential destinations for their global expansion plans.

At the same time, it has launched new representative offices in Egypt, Israel and Turkey, all considered key expansion markets.

The first In Focus highlights markets in central Asia and is part of Dubai’s plan to support 100 businesses to expand globally within the next two years and to increase the emirate’s foreign trade to $544 billion by 2026.

Hassan Al Hashemi, vice president of international relations at Dubai Chambers, said: “We have a long-standing record of work to connect our members to new opportunities for business growth in priority markets around the world.”

He added that In Focus will serve as a platform for Dubai businesses to engage with public and private sector leaders of selected markets to promote cross-border partnerships and drive mutual business growth. 

Participants will have access to guidance through every stage of the international expansion journey, from market intelligence and business introductions to company set-up. 

“The local business community has been the backbone of Dubai’s emerging robust economy,” Chrissi Zamora, CEO of Europe and the Middle East at business set-up support specialist Healy Consultants, told AGBI.

“But to expand into overseas markets, businesses should determine which ones are most important for their business — and why,” she said.

“Do these international markets share any similarities with your current market, for example? Do they offer something different from what you already have? If so, you should know what that difference can mean for your company’s success.”

Zamora added: “Once your research is done, align your strategy with your company’s goals. What do you want your business to look like in five years? And in 10 years? Once you have an idea of where your business will be, you can start looking for ways to make it happen.”

The launch of In Focus coincides with Dubai International Chamber opening three new representative offices in Cairo, Tel Aviv and Istanbul. 

They bring the number of representative offices around the world to 15 across Africa, Latin America, Eurasia, India and China. 

Al Hashemi said: “Our new offices in Egypt, Israel and Turkey will help expand Dubai companies’ access to the growing markets while attracting inward investment from these countries into Dubai.” 

Dubai Chambers
Hassan Al Hashemi, vice president of international relations at Dubai Chambers

Earlier this year Dubai International Chamber’s board of directors approved a new strategy for the next three years, which aims to strengthen Dubai’s position as a global trade hub, attract multinational companies to the emirate and support local companies with international expansion.

The new strategy focuses on attracting 50 multinational companies to Dubai within three years, supports the external expansion of 100 companies from Dubai to priority foreign markets in addition to supporting multinational companies to list on the Dubai Financial Market.

Sultan bin Sulayem, chairman of Dubai International Chamber, said it is well positioned to achieve the new trade targets with representative offices across Africa, Eurasia and Latin America. 

A total of 30 target markets have been identified under the strategy which offer huge economic potential.

Healy’s Zamora added: “Expanding into overseas markets can be an excellent way for Dubai local companies to increase their brand awareness. It also allows them to diversify their customer base and grow their clientele and revenue stream. 

“This initiative will allow them to build relationships with other businesses abroad, In turn, leading to collaborations with companies who specialise in similar areas as theirs – a win-win situation for the global economy.”

In June, Dubai Chamber for Digital Economy launched a roadshow series in Africa to attract global startups to the city, with plans to expand the initiative to India and Europe.

The first roadshow took place in Ethiopia and Kenya and has a target of attracting about 300 digital startup companies within two years. The roadshow series is set to grow with several events planned in India and Europe.

It follows the approval earlier this year of a $100 million Venture Capital Fund for Startups as part of the city’s commitment to attract entrepreneurial global talent.

In March 2021 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, announced the restructuring of Dubai Chamber and the formation of three chambers for the emirate – Dubai Chamber of Commerce, Dubai International Chamber, and Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, which now operate under Dubai Chambers. 

Dubai
Officials during the opening of Dubai International Chamber’s new representative offices

Why Egypt, Israel and Turkey?

Cairo

With trade between UAE and Egypt reaching $7.5 billion in 2021, the new office in Cairo aims to boost investment ties in key sectors including trade manufacturing, agribusiness, IT and maritime.

Egypt was Dubai’s second biggest trading partner on the African continent in 2021 and last year ranked 20th globally on the list of Dubai’s trading partners. The number of Egyptian companies registered as operating in the emirate totals more than 14,700, up 103 percent compared to 2016.

Egypt is also one of the largest startup hubs on the African continent, and accounts for 14 percent of all startups on the continent.

Tel Aviv

Since the UAE and Israel signed the Abraham Accords in 2020, the bilateral trade between the two countries dramatically increased reaching $1.19 billion in 2021. 

The office aims to unlock opportunities particularly in the areas of electronics, water security, clean energy, space, retail, culture, machinery, vehicles, chemicals, and food.

It will also support Israeli investors looking for business opportunities in Dubai and expansion across the Middle East.

Istanbul

Non-oil trade between Dubai and Turkey reached $12.8 billion in 2021, making Turkey the seventh largest trading partner to the emirate.

With plans for a free trade agreement between the two countries, bilateral trade is expected to double to $27.4 billion.

The new office plans to capitalise on new trade and investment opportunities in key sectors such as automotive, agriculture, textile, logistics and chemicals.