The emirate of Abu Dhabi is cultivating innovation in the world’s most advanced sectors, including fintech, AgTech and medtech, and offers world-class opportunities for international investors.

For businesses, the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) is the first port of call in the emirate. Since ADIO was established in 2019, it has supported dozens of investors and companies through its tailored programmes.

In partnership with the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED), ADIO established its international network of offices in January 2021, expanding its global presence to better support investors from around the world. Spanning Tel Aviv, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Beijing, Seoul, New York and San Francisco, the network is designed to connect cities, empowering companies to grow within Abu Dhabi and around the world, with the offices serving as bridges between key international markets. Global businesses and investors alike can access ADIO’s range of financial and non-financial incentives in their local markets and receive the most relevant bespoke support.

Last year, each of ADIO’s international offices organised an event to introduce their respective markets, a “roadshow” series that will conclude in 2022. Welcoming over 1,000 attendees and 21 speakers, the roadshow showcased the vast opportunities available in Abu Dhabi to the global investor community.

“The benefits of doing business in Abu Dhabi are unmatched in the region, particularly for companies focused on innovation and technology,” said H.E. Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa, chairman of ADDED. “By connecting with innovators across the world, ADIO is ramping up our vision to advance solutions that benefit us all.”

Global opportunities

Close cooperation between ADIO and international businesses is hugely mutually beneficial. International investors, start-ups and corporates alike receive all the support they need to set up in Abu Dhabi and make the most of the unparalleled opportunities the emirate offers.

“We can be your springboard to the greater Middle East region, helping you enter new markets to accelerate growth,” said H.E. Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa at the New York event. “We are located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa, with 80% of the world within an eight-hour flight. We welcome you to use Abu Dhabi as a hub to reach global markets with your technologies and solutions. For those new to Abu Dhabi, ADIO will guide you along every step of the journey.”

One of ADIO’s major incentive programmes is the Innovation Programme, representing an incentive pool that totals around $545m. It offers financial incentives including rebates to support investments in innovation, and non-financial incentives including office space and other facilities, regulatory assistance, select trial licences, and potential exemptions for select government fees and requirements. The programme’s global outlook reflects wider efforts by Abu Dhabi to increase economic cooperation with innovative companies from around the world.

The Innovation Programme supports a number of international companies, including UK-based Callsign, which is building a world-class centre of technical excellence in Abu Dhabi. It also recently partnered with UK-based asset manager Florin Court Capital to establish a trading, research and operations hub. Elsewhere in Europe, German multinational ThyssenKrupp recently signed an agreement with UAE-based green energy company Helios.

Proving its global outreach, the Innovation Programme also partnered with South Korean cloud company Bespin Global, which has set up its regional headquarters and two innovation centres in Abu Dhabi’s Hub71. On a wider scale, Korean contractors also supported the construction of the emirate’s Barakah nuclear power plant, contributing to the UAE’s net-zero target.

In December 2021, ADIO launched the Access Abu Dhabi initiative in partnership with Maven Capital Markets. The initiative is designed to support US companies headed by women and minority entrepreneurs with their expansion to Abu Dhabi.

ADIO has also provided powerful support to a number of US companies in high-growth areas, including AgTech innovators AeroFarms and Nanoracks. This makes Abu Dhabi the site of pioneering new technology that aims to solve some of the world’s most pressing issues.

Abu Dhabi is already MENA’s smartest city, according to the Smart City Index, and new partnerships are accelerating connectivity. Amazon Web Services is set to open data centres in the first half of 2022. As well as this, Microsoft Azure opened one of its first cloud regions in the Middle East in Abu Dhabi in 2019, and the emirate is also home to international cloud providers Equinix and Oracle. This kind of infrastructure is essential to develop the next generation of technologies.

In the healthcare space, Abu Dhabi has defined itself as a world-class destination, being home to world-renowned US medical facilities including Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins, as well as Moorfields Eye Hospital and Imperial College London Diabetes Centre.

As ADIO continues to leverage its network of offices to tailor its services and bring them closer to international businesses, investors will have more opportunities than ever to tap into Abu Dhabi’s world-class, innovation-led offering.

To find out more about investment opportunities in Abu Dhabi, download the whitepaper below.