Sharjah, United Arab Emirates: The Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah), an affiliate of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), organised an interactive business webinar via the Zoom platform on Wednesday, August 26, to introduce the emerging prospects and investment opportunities in competitive sectors to potential investors and businesses from across India, and to highlight the range of services and facilities offered by various government organisations in Sharjah.
The 90-minute Sharjah-India investment webinar session titled, ‘Opportunities for Indian Companies and Investors’, emphasised the ease of doing business in the emirate and focused on the competitive advantages Sharjah offers for commercial and industrial investment. It also served as a platform to further strengthen the economic and cultural ties between India and Sharjah.
With 21,299 Indian companies currently operating in Sharjah – 15,786 onshore and 5513 offshore, the total trade comprising of exports and re-exports by Sharjah-based Indian companies amounted to nearly AED 1.5 billion in 2019.
Hailing the strong spirit of friendship and cooperation that has nurtured India and the UAE for centuries, H.E. Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, Executive Chairman, Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) called for an increase in bilateral investments in business sectors that are experiencing rapid growth amid a challenging investment landscape. In his opening address at the virtual event, Al Sarkal pointed out that healthcare, advanced manufacturing, robotics, innovation and technology, aggrotech, logistics, and media, were some of the key sectors poised for promising business growth in the region.
Describing the India-UAE partnership as “a model for the whole world”, H.E. Dr. Aman Puri, Consul General of India, said in his welcome note that identifying emerging opportunities for growth between India and the UAE was vital to enable economic revival in the post-Covid-19 world. “Sharjah is an important emirate for trade ties because of its strategic location, cost competitiveness and unique core strengths in diverse sectors,” he said.
Other prominent speakers at the event included H.E. Dr. Khalid Omar Al Midfa, Chairman, Sharjah Media City (Shams); H.E. Hussein Mohamed Al Mahmoudi, CEO, Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation (SRTI) Park; Mohamed Juma Al Musharrkh, CEO, Invest in Sharjah; and Mr. Emerson N. Buarque, General Manager - Business Development at Gulftainer.
Ms. Sunanda Rajendran, Executive Director Indo-Arab Chamber of Commerce & Industries, moderated the webinar and welcomed the distinguished speakers and other guests including trade professionals, entrepreneurs, investors, Sharjah government officials, and business stakeholders.
Highlighting the potential of Sharjah Media City (Shams) in becoming a world-class media hub for innovative facilities and services, H.E. Dr. Khalid Omar Al Midfa, Chairman, Shams, said: “The presence of more than 3,000 media companies, many of them SMEs, validates our mission to make creative entrepreneurship accessible by providing entrepreneurs with a vibrant and connected ecosystem to invest and grow their innovative business ideas.”
He added: “Our goal to support the interests of Indian entrepreneurs has seen Shams tie up with investors in the Indian film industry to set up studios at the free zone, help identifyappropriate locations for film shoots in Sharjah, and offer logistic assistance to support their projects including offering the services of a diverse pool of local talent. As the media industry is constantly evolving, we are investing into technology to enable our digital firms gain greater access to different markets within the UAE and across the region.”
Addressing participants at the webinar, Mohamed Juma Al Musharrkh, CEO of IIS, said: “Sharjah offers fruitful economic and investment opportunities for Indian businesses in a variety of sectors across the mainland and at its six free zones, including four specialised free zones that have chalked out ambitious growth plans and attracted immense global investor interest.”
He said: “As the investment promotion agency of Sharjah, we are committed to guiding foreign investors to the tremendous opportunity and potential that the emirate offers. The changing dynamics of business in a post-COVID-19 world has opened several new and exciting opportunities for collaboration in the hybrid tech sectors such as MedTech and AgriTech. Other new age industries that have high potential for growth include AI, 3D printing, robotics, and drone technology, amongst others.”
“The UAE is a competitive market, and Sharjah is widely recognised as the regional gateway to international markets,” he added. “Sharjah’s reputation as a pro-investor emirate has been further enhanced with the launch of Sharjah Investors Services Centre (Saeed), a one-stop high-end business facility offering fully-integrated 360-degree government solutions for investors looking to set up business in Sharjah.”
In his address, H.E. Hussein Mohamed Al Mahmoudi, CEO, Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation (SRTI) Park, said: “There is no better partner than India to nurture the development of cutting-edge technologies to advance Sharjah’s innovation and technology ecosystem, promote R&D, support enterprise activities, and enhance the emirate’s position as a highly developed economy with the collaboration of the industry, government and academia.”
He added: “We look forward to joining hands with leading accelerators and venture capitalist companies from across India to develop new partnerships in the innovation sector including healthcare, education, agriculture, space, and technology. SRTI Park has a highly advanced infrastructure that can be leveraged to spur new business ideas and innovation efforts.”
Emphasizing that the strategic facilities and advanced logistics infrastructure in Sharjah has been instrumental for Gulftainer’s 40-year success in the emirate, Emerson Buarque, General Manager - Business Development, said that as a privately owned, independent port management and 3PL logistics company, it works towards providing seamless access to import and export facilities to promote international trade between India and the UAE.