The northern emirate of Ras al-Khaimah is becoming a top investment hotspot in the UAE according to an in-depth, ground breaking, study by Oxford Business Group (OBG), the UK-based publishing, research and consultancy services company. The research was revealed in the just published “Emerging Ras Al Khaimah 2007”, the inaugural, English language economic and political review of the emirate.
With a renewed drive for development over the last few years, RAK has put the focus squarely on becoming a serious investment destination according to Bebhinn Kelly, OBG Director for the Northern Emirates. “To boost investment and economic diversification, RAK has concentrated on free zones and attracted a major number of investors,” explained Kelly. “2005 saw 687 new companies register in the RAK Free Trade Zone (RAKFTZ). The first half of 2006 saw a further 598 companies with a total investment of Dh 2bn register putting it on course to meet its target of 1200 companies for the year,” added Kelly.
RAK has seen its GDP grow from just Dh 6.3bn in 2001 to Dh 9.2bn in 2005 with mining, manufacturing and real estate all showing strong growth. “The emirate has plenty to offer investors as investment costs are still less than those in neighbouring emirates of the UAE, it has plenty of space, a clean environment, liberal atmosphere, straightforward regulations, flexible free zone policy, plenty of housing and strong legal environment. There seems to be nothing standing in the way of RAK’s ambitions to become the nest major development story in the Gulf,” said Kelly.
According to Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qassimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Ras-al Khaimah, “This is an extremely timely initiative as we look to develop our economic atmosphere and encourage new investment.
“We will be launching several landmark projects particularly in the tourism, education and healthcare sectors. Our development strategy will be outlined in more detail in the new authoritative publication,” said Sheikh Saud.
Written by a team of international analysts based on the ground for six months, over 200 interviews were undertaken with the elite of the political, business and social community, both regional and international including: Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qassimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Ras al-Khaimah, Anthony Harris, former UK Ambassador to the UAE, Sheikh Faisal bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Chairman, RAK Finance Department, Philip Turberviller, CEO, RAK Petroleum, Oussama el-Oman, CEO, RAK Free Trade Zone.
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