The Sharjah Emirate has attracted 24 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects worth $220 million (AED808.6 million) during 2020, according to a Wavteq study on Sharjah’s FDI annual performance.
This boost in the economic activity in new and emerging sectors has led to the creation of 1,117 new jobs in the emirate, it said.
It forecast an increase in the FDI in various vital primary sectors during 2021, predicting a 74 percent hike in life sciences, 55.6 percent in Information and Communications Technology (ICT), 49.7 percent in food and agriculture industries and 46.2 percent in logistics and distribution, while the cleaning technology industry is expected to grow at a rate of 30.2 percent.
Secondary sectors, including e-commerce, medical technology, education technology, cybersecurity, financial technology and smart logistics are expected to bring high-yield investment opportunities for innovation-driven SMEs.
There has been a 60 percent increase in the number of FDI projects in H2 2020, compared to the first half, the study showed.
It indicated that the coronavirus pandemic has affected some sectors and revealed the importance of several others, which contributed to advancing the economic activity in the emirate within some emerging sectors.
The study stressed that the pandemic has revealed the resilience of cities like Sharjah, which continued to grow amid crisis by allowing global investors to benefit from the opportunities offered by its diverse economy, business-friendly environment and low operating costs, among other competitive advantages.
During the pandemic, job opportunities in the medical equipment manufacturing sector increased by 53.4 percent, and in life sciences by 45.4 percent, the highest since 2012, said the CEO of Invest in Sharjah (IIS), Mohamed Al Musharrkh.
Jobs in e-commerce, financial technologies and logistics also grew at a quick pace during 2020, he added.
Apart from the need to increase investment in future industries, Al Musharrkh noted that 2020 “taught us that we must focus on SMEs, start-ups and emerging innovation-based businesses, which are the backbone of social capital and economy and have a direct impact on microeconomic indicators.”
An analysis of The Global Entrepreneurship Index showed that countries with high per capita GDP have a higher share of entrepreneurial enterprises, he explained.