Industrial Development in Abu Dhabi
When it comes to industrial growth and development, Abu Dhabi stands high above other global industrial hubs. In fact, Abu Dhabi has been called, “the growth capital of the world,” and for good reason; total GDP grew by over 7% in 2012 alone, increasing from 230 billion dollars to roughly 250 billion dollars in the aggregate.
For a nation that only ten years ago produced a GDP of 50 billion dollars, these gains have been extraordinary. And with thousands of new businesses registering each year, this growth shows no signs of slowing down.
This robust industrial development and activity has been driven in large part by the Higher Corporation for Specialized Economic Zones, better known as ZonesCorp, the Gateway to the Growth Capital.
ZonesCorp, since its inception in 2004 until today, has managed to develop around 50 km2 of specialized economic zones tailored for the industrial sector. Today, ZonesCorp is considered to be the largest purposed zone in the UAE tailored for the industrial sector and that's something we are very proud of in Abu Dhabi and especially in the UAE.
Higher Corporation for Specialized Economic Zones (ZonesCorp)
ZonesCorp’s flagship industrial zones, which include the Industrial City of Abu Dhabi and Al Ain Industrial City, contribute nearly 50% of Abu Dhabi’s manufacturing GDP. These cities include approximately 600 manufacturing facilities, and are home to many of the world’s leading global companies.
Industries present in the various zones include logistics, high technology, food, steel, construction, oil & gas services, engineered materials, chemicals & plastics, and general industries.
You can see all over the world, industrial zones are almost always one hour or two hours away from the proper city. You have a such a good ZonesCorp here, within a half an hour drive from the city centre. You can easily reach it and throughout the highway no traffic is blocked and there are no signals. It's a very good infrastructure the country has developed, even among Arab countries, though they may have money. But here, they are wisely invested in infrastructure, important infrastructure. We have no drought of water, no drought of electricity, no drought of gas; absolutely no problems. This is specially tailored for local as well as foreign investors. As the first factory owner here, I also encourage outsiders to come and start their factories here.
Future Development Plans
Development plans also include an advanced automotive manufacturing cluster and a logistics hub for the upcoming Etihad Rail network. This national network will include 1,200 kilometers of rail linking major cities, ports, and other locations from the border with Saudi Arabia in the west to the border with Oman in the east.
Abu Dhabi is the gateway to the GCC and the whole MENA region. Being a part of the Greater Arab Free Trade Agreement, you can export your product to 17 countries without paying any duties.
In addition, new specialized cities are under development in Abu Dhabi’s Western Region: the Ruwais Industrial City and the Madinat Zayed Industrial City. These locations will add to Abu Dhabi’s already diverse array of industrial zones.
Competitive Advantages for Industry
Abu Dhabi’s industrial sector is able to thrive due to the emirate’s natural and geographical advantages, but also the extraordinarily high level of support and assistance that is provided to businesses that invest there.
Abu Dhabi’s state-of-the-art infrastructure and multi-modal transportation channels, which feature access to more than 200 air routes, 150 shipping lanes, and roads, and railways, provide a solid link to developing markets and extensive global logistical connectivity.
Abu Dhabi is critical to us. In fact, when we actually decided to invest in the UAE, we had to decide which Emirate to actually invest in. The main reason why we are here is because of the infrastructure in terms of both getting the raw materials in as well as actually serving the markets.
ZonesCorp has developed state of the art infrastructure in the Industrial City of Abu Dhabi. All the utilities like power, gas, telecommunications, water, all these utility networks are the best we have found in this country.
Favorable taxation policies, as well as profit repatriation, also make Abu Dhabi extraordinarily competitive from a financial perspective. Streamlined support services and robust investor relations programs offered by ZonesCorp enhance the benefits for industrial businesses. In addition, the availability of a skilled and cost-effective labor force compounds the advantages that businesses can enjoy in Abu Dhabi in general, and in ZonesCorp’s industrial zones in particular.
They have a very transparent system. Whatever your request is, they are taking it very logically and their approach is the best.
What I would actually say to other investors who are coming to this area is to focus on the labour relationships, as well as the accommodation. There is a good standard of labour accommodation in the ICAD residence here in ZonesCorp.
Future Outlook for Industry in Abu Dhabi
The government of Abu Dhabi is committed to the continued development and support of industrial and knowledge-based businesses.
ZonesCorp here is part of the master plan of Abu Dhabi, for promoting the industry, the upstream industry. A plant manufacturing glass, this is upstream. This is real manufacturing, and this is part of the master plan of Abu Dhabi.
Due to initiatives designed to improve financial system stability, increase labor efficiency and skill levels, improve infrastructure, and more, Abu Dhabi will continue to serve as one of the world’s premier locations for business growth for many years to come.
ZonesCorp is not going to stop here. We believe in 2020, ZonesCorp's land will be expanded up 100 km2, in line with the vision of Abu Dhabi 2030, where the industrial sector will play a bigger role and ZonesCorp is a leader in that role, in operating industrial zones. We're going to be reaching that target based on a studied roadmap we have come out with, the Abu Dhabi industrial strategy vision.