The Sharjah Economic Development Department (SEDD), in a strategic partnership with the Ministry of Energy and Industry (MOEI), will host the UAE-Russian Business Forum, on 19th February, 2020.
The Forum aims to enhance and strengthen ties of trade, economic and investment cooperation between UAE, in general, and Sharjah, in particular, and the Federal Republic of Russia, and open new investment channels, diversify sources of income, attract investments with added value to the economy, and increase the volume of non-oil exports.
The Forum will be held in the presence and participation of senior officials, investors and businessmen from various sectors in both countries.
The Forum will witness two panel discussions. The first will be presented by the federal entities in the country to display the investment opportunities in UAE in different areas. Thereafter, a special dialogue session will be presented for the emirate of Sharjah under the title “Sharjah: A Stimulating Investment Environment” with the participation of a number of prominent stakeholders from the emirate.
The panel discussion will host a number of topics related to Russian cultural relations, research and testing of future technical investments and environmental sustainability, as well as investment opportunities in Sharjah in targeted economic sectors such as healthcare, government services and others.
These topics will discuss the opportunities for cooperation in the fields of foreign trade, education, health, technology and industry.
Trade between the two countries has witnessed a big leap over the past six years, with the volume of trade reaching $15 billion. Also, there are 3,034 Russian companies in the country, with more than 25 commercial agencies and an average of 550 Russian brands.
Abdullah Al Saleh, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Economy for Foreign Trade Affairs, said in October 2019, that the value of non-oil trade between the UAE and Russia totalled $3.4 billion, compared to $2.5 billion in 2017, a growth of 36 per cent.
Al Saleh stated that bilateral and economic ties between the UAE and Russia have witnessed significant overall growth, under the framework of their comprehensive strategic partnership announced last year.
Russia is a promising destination for Emirati investments, he stressed, noting that the UAE is ranked first among Gulf Cooperation Council countries, GCC, in terms of foreign direct investment, FDI flow in Russia, while Russian investments in the UAE exceed $2 billion.
He also pointed out that the UAE accounts for some 7.4 per cent of Russian exports to Arab countries, as well as for 7.7 per cent of Russian foreign trade with the Arab region.
Al Saleh highlighted the fact that the number of Russian tourists staying in Emirati hotels totalled 1.83 million in 2018, an increase of 37.4 per cent, or 788,000 new visitors compared to 2017, while the number of Russian visitors occupying hotels in the UAE in the first half of 2019 totalled 555,000.
The two countries have signed several agreements to reinforce their economic and trade cooperation in the areas of infrastructure, transport, vehicle manufacturing, petrochemicals and scientific research, he noted.
Expedia Group has released Q2 2019 tourism data showing more than a 55% increase in Russian tourists visiting the UAE, compared to the same period last year. The number of tourists from around the world visiting has significantly increased, leading to continued growth in the hospitality sector across the Emirates. Many Europeans, including Russians, are lured to experience the UAE’s world-renowned hotels, luxurious standard of living, famous restaurants, entertainment venues, attractions and entrepreneurial business opportunities that contribute to the region’s year-on-year growth in the hospitality sector.
Recent travel data show that Dubai has welcomed 8.36 million international overnight visitors in the first six months (January-June) of 2019, including Russians, which saw a positive 3% in tourism volume growth compared to the same period last year. The data also predict that Russian tourists travelling to the GCC will increase by 125% to 2.1 million in 2023, with a projected additional 2.9 million room nights likely to be added through the coming five years.
Factors contributing to this significant increase include initiatives undertaken by the UAE government to boost the country’s tourism industry. In recent years, the strengthened political relationship between GCC and Russia has led to the introduction of additional airline routes and relaxed visa regulations for Russian nationals. With several attractive and flexible business opportunities, GCC has lured many Russian businesses to its market. Furthermore, the UAE government has adopted integrated strategies and innovative solutions to promote sustainable tourism and highlight UAE’s diverse attractions & world-class facilities, furthering its position as a top tourist destination in the Middle East.