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Active Dubai businesses jump 20%


By Saifur Rahman

More than half of the UAE’s active businesses are registered with various licensing authorities in Dubai, including Dubai Economy and Tourism as well as more than 20 free zones including Jebel Ali Free Zone, Dubai Airport Free Zone, Tecom, Dubai Multi-Commodities Centre (DMCC), etc.

The number of active businesses has increased by 56,000 or 20 percent to 347,600 in 2022, according to a latest report by Dubai Chambers. This includes 5,000 businesses registered with some of the free zones – which work as separate licensing bodies – although the total number of businesses registered with the free zones has not been documented fully yet.

Business licenses in Dubai are issued by a number of licensing bodies and authorities, including Dubai Economy and Tourism – the main business licensing authority – and about 20 free zones active in Dubai.

The total number of registered active business licences in July 2022 amounted to 665,246, a 1.9 percent increase compared to 652,885 licences issued in December 2019, according to the UAE’s National Economic Register (NER).

The total number of registered businesses in the UAE has exceed 700,000, although the exact number is yet to be put together by the authorities – as business licenses are issued by local governments of the seven emirates and more than 45 free economic zones as well as offshore licensing authorities.

Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri, UAE Minister of Economy, said: “The UAE now is in the business of doubling economic growth, incoming foreign direct investment, and investment outflows. The 100 percent full foreign ownership led to a significant increase in the demand of international companies to work in the UAE, reaching 300,000 companies, which would generate a revenue of Dh2.2 trillion.”

The exports and re-exports of Dubai Chamber of Commerce members grew by 20 percent to Dh272.7 billion in 2022, demonstrating the resilience of Dubai’s traders and their capacity to expand their exports into new markets, Dubai Chambers said in a recent statement.

“Dubai Chambers works to realise Dubai’s economic vision and strategic agenda. Our strategic priorities include improving Dubai’s business environment, advocating for its interests, supporting our members in their global expansion, attracting foreign businesses and investments into Dubai, and promoting the growth of our digital economy,” said Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Chambers.

“Despite the global economic uncertainty witnessed in 2022, Dubai’s economy is expected to grow by 4-4.5 percent in 2023, outperforming global and regional growth estimates for the year. These positive economic indicators are aligned with the Dubai Economic Agenda D33, which aims to double the size of Dubai’s economy to Dh32 trillion over the next 10 years,” he added.

Dubai’s economy rebounded in 2022 as business activity was largely driven by key sectors such as retail, tourism, hospitality, real estate and transportation. The economy expanded by 4.6 percent in the first nine months of the year to Dh307.5 billion ($83.7 billion), as the government doubled down on efforts to accelerate the growth of the digital economy, expand economic partnerships with other countries and strengthen Dubai’s value proposition with flexible and long-term residency visa options.

A total of 725,537 Certificates of Origin (COO) were issued by the Chamber as the number of COOs jumped by 8% YoY. To add to that, 4,899 ATA Carnets were issued and received by the Chamber, while the value of these documents reached Dh3.4 billion ($925 million) during 2022. Dubai Chambers achieved a score of 97% on Dubai Government’s Customer Happiness Index 2022, marking its highest performance to date. The strong results were attributed to the Chamber’s seamless digital transformation of 100% of its core services. The organisation’s Customer Happiness Centre welcomes an average of only 10 customers per day, with the vast majority of services being accessed through online channels.

Also published on Medium.

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