Oxford Business Group - Ras Al Khaimah 2012


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Oxford Business Group - Ras Al Khaimah 2012

  2. 2. 9ProfileDiverse geography features coast, plains and mountainsPolitical liberalisation efforts expand rights for womenBusinesses attracted to free zones and industrial parksKey economic sectors include industry, trade and tourismGrowing population expected to reach 750,000 in 2020
  3. 3. 10 PROFILE SNAPSHOT The local population is estimated to be around 300,000 people A rising star Welcoming investment to its many expanding sectors Boasting some of the fastest-growing free trade and 1971, six emirates came together to form the zones in the region, Ras Al Khaimah has witnessed modern-day federation of the UAE in 1971. RAK, impressive economic expansion and diversification which was the UAE’s seventh and final emirate, joined across key industries in recent years. The emirate is the federation soon after, in February 1972. on its way to becoming an important investment GEOGRAPHY & CLIMATE: The UAE occupies some destination in the region. 83,600 sq km on the southern and eastern shores Nestled in the northern part of the UAE, RAK lies of the Gulf. RAK is the fourth-largest emirate in the between the base of the Hajjar Mountains and the federation, containing 2478 sq km. Located along Gulf. This location has supported the success of RAK the Gulf, near the Strait of Hormuz, RAK is just 65 as a destination of choice for investors and tourists km away from the Iranian coast, 250 km from the alike. Endowed with kilometres of silver, sandy coast- Omani border and in close proximity to a number of line in the west, desert plains bounded by the Haj- other Gulf states. The emirate’s geography is diverse, jar Mountains in the east and a green belt in the south with 65 km of coastline, fertile plains, as well as the with flourishing date palms and vegetable gardens, Hajjar Mountains, which reach heights of up to 1900 RAK has a diverse landscape that is unique in com- metres. Temperatures in the summertime often parison to other emirates. reach the upper 40s with high humidity. In winter RAK has strong links with the other emirates via the weather is pleasant and remains relatively dry. its modern highway network, connections which POPULATION: According to the latest figures from have been useful as it has pushed ahead with a drive mid-2011, the total population of the UAE stands at for economic development in recent years. around 8.3m. Population growth is estimated to be FOUNDATIONS: Located on historical trade routes 5.9% per year, while nearly half of nationals are running from Europe to East Asia, RAK was a stopover under the age of 19. The government estimates the point for merchants from as far away as China. RAK’s current population at 300,000 and will undertake a history dates back to around 5500 BCE, and in pre- full census in 2012. The population is forecast to Islamic and Islamic times the area was known as Jul- reach 750,000 by 2020. While UAE nationals offi- far. RAK is the home of the Qawasim tribe, which built cially make up less than 20% of the total in the coun- a reputation in commerce, dominating trade in the try, RAK has a higher proportion, at about half. lower Gulf region in the 18th century. At times the POLITICS: Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi has been tribe held land on various islands in the Gulf, as well the ruler of RAK since his father, Sheikh Saqr bin as in Pakistan and other parts of the UAE. Mohammed Al Qasimi, passed away in late October FORMATION: RAK became part of the Trucial States, 2010. Sheikh Saqr, who began his reign in 1948, which were established by the General Maritime was one of the long-serving leaders in the region Treaty with Britain in 1853. Their formation ush- and was responsible for the 1972 decision to join ered in a period of stability, which was previously the UAE. On a federal level, the Supreme Council, a threatened by the Ottomans, Portuguese and Per- body that is made up of the rulers of the constituent sians, the dominant powers in the region at the time. emirates, runs the UAE, whose president is Sheikh RAK’s location was used for controlling shipping Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the ruler of Abu Dhabi. routes to and from India, which was occupied by the The Supreme Council ratifies all the laws in the British empire up to the 19th century. Following country, while the Council of Ministers, a 20-mem- British withdrawal from the region between 1968 ber cabinet headed by the prime minister, is the www.oxfordbusinessgroup.com/country/UAE: Ras Al Khaimah
  4. 4. PROFILE SNAPSHOT 11executive branch of the government. The FederalNational Council, a 40-member consultative body,represents the interests of each emirate whenreviewing proposed laws. In 2005 the government announced a policy ofpolitical liberalisation. At the end of 2006 electionswere held for half of the seats in the Federal Nation-al Council, while the other half are appointed by thegovernment. Elections were held again in late Sep-tember 2011, and the emirate currently has a totalof six representatives in the council.ECONOMY: GDP growth in RAK was 8% in 2011 andthe government expects that growth in 2012 will beroughly the same. According to the RAK Departmentof Economic Development, in 2010, the latest yearfor which figures are available, mining, quarrying andmanufacturing accounts for about 30% of GDP, fol-lowed by financial services at 14.4% and wholesale,retail and repair services at 11.7%. The country ben-efits from an open economy, high per capita income Fruits and vegetables are produced in the south-east on the fertile plains around Digdagalevels and a large annual trade surplus on the backof its energy exports. Unlike Abu Dhabi, RAK does from 106 countries. It is 100% tax-free and offersnot have substantial deposits of oil and gas, although 100% ownership, along with a number of other incen-it does produce small amounts of liquefied petro- tives and value-added services.leum gas and condensate. The formation of the RAK Investment Authority A variety of sectors drive the emirate’s economy, (RAKIA) in 2005 has helped boost competitivenessincluding industry, trade and commerce, tourism in the industry, trade, commerce, tourism and realand real estate. Several local players have emerged estate sectors. RAKIA was set up to develop andas international success stories over recent years manage industrial parks, which includes the freein industries including pharmaceuticals, ceramics zones and industrial zones in Al Hamra and Al Ghail.and cement. Capitalising on its natural resources, RAKIA has managed to attract more than $3bn inthe UAE’s first cement company opened in RAK in industrial investments and lured over 700 businessesearly 1970s and is now the country’s largest pro- from around the globe. RAKIA’s industrial parks haveducer. Local company RAK Ceramics is the world’s businesses from a wide range of industries; cur-largest ceramics producer, exporting to more than rently there are 4170 onshore firms and thousands150 countries. The region’s first pharmaceuticals more registered through RAKIA’s offshore facility.and medical supplies firm, Julphar sells its products The emirate has embarked in an ambitious devel-on the global market, meeting standards set by bod- opment programme which has achieved total growthies like the US Food and Drug Administration. of more than 50% over the past four years, with aTRADE ZONES: Established in 2000, the RAK Free positive outlook for 2012.Trade Zone is home to more than 5000 active firms NATURAL RESOURCES: With 9% of the world’s oil reserves and 5% of gas reserves, the UAE has one of the highest per capita GDP levels in the world. The lion’s share of these resources belongs to Abu Dhabi, which has 95% of the oil and 92% of the gas in the UAE. RAK’s total gas reserves amount to around 33.96m cu metres, and its total oil reserves are esti- mated at some 400m barrels, or around 0.4% of the UAE’s total estimated reserves. RAK boasts the biggest rock quarry in the Gulf region, and it has been blessed with high-quality limestone and clay deposits, which underpin the emirate’s successful cement and ceramics indus- tries. The fertile plains in the south-east around Digdaga produce fruits and vegetables, as well as milk and poultry for the domestic market. LANGUAGE: The official language of the UAE is Ara- bic, though English is widely used in business circles. In addition, a significant portion of the expatriate population speaks languages from the subcon- tinent, such as Hindi, Urdu, Malayalam and Tamil.The emirate has a long history, dating back to around 5500 BCE THE REPORT Ras Al Khaimah 2012
  5. 5. 12 PROFILE OVERVIEW Sheikh Saud has been promoting a reformist agenda since 2003 Mover and shaker Encouraging economic growth with an eye towards social development Over the past decade the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah emirates and part of present-day Oman. RAK’s loca- has developed a reputation as an up-and-coming play- tion was primarily used for controlling shipping routes er in the Middle East and further afield. In 2011 RAK’s to and from India during this time. status continued to grow, despite political volatility THE MODERN ERA: In 1972 RAK joined the recently elsewhere in the region and ongoing concerns about formed UAE – the other six emirates (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, international financial stability. This is largely the result Ajman, Sharjah, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain) had of a series of ambitious development programmes put come together only a short time before – signalling in place over the past 10 years which have positively the beginning of a long period of development and mod- impacted a substantial number of areas, such as indus- ernisation. Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, who try, trade, foreign investment, education and health care. had been in power in RAK since 1948, oversaw the emi- The government, with Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi rate’s accession to the new nation, and is credited with at the helm, is expected to continue to invest in all these transforming RAK from a rural, agrarian society into areas in the coming years. This bodes well for both ongo- the economically dynamic emirate it is today. When he ing development and the emirate’s growing interna- passed away in October 2010, the sheikh was in his ear- tional reputation as a business-friendly, financially ly 90s and had been in power for nearly 60 years, mak- sound investment destination. ing him the world’s longest-serving ruler. AN HISTORIC PAST: RAK has been an economic cen- Though Sheikh Saud formally succeeded his father tre off and on for thousands of years, due to its geo- in 2010, he had been in charge of the day-to-day oper- graphic location, which sits near a number of ancient ations of the emirate since 2003, when he was appoint- trade routes between Europe and East Asia. The ear- ed crown prince and deputy ruler. Previously he served liest of a series of archaeological finds in modern-day as chief of the Ruler’s Court and chairman of the RAK RAK and the UAE dates back to the third millennium Municipal Council. Since 2003 Sheikh Saud has worked BCE, when the area was home to an ancient civilisa- to roll out an ambitious reform agenda, with a focus tion active in fishing, copper smelting and trading. Oth- on attracting foreign investment, building up major er excavation activities in the emirate have uncovered local industries and improving inhabitants’ quality of remnants of a number of major Sassanid-era (224-651 life, primarily by investing in large-scale health and CE) settlements, in addition to wooden houses con- education initiatives. He has also worked to boost trans- structed during the Qahtani empire, which was active parency in both government and the private sector. during the 8th and 9th centuries. ONE FOR ALL: The seven emirates that make up the In 1819 the British took control of the Northern Emi- UAE are administered from the federal seat in Abu rates. After three years of occupation, Sheikh Sultan Dhabi, which oversees a handful of key sectors, includ- bin Saqr Al Qasimi, the leader of the influential Al ing national security and defence, currency and fiscal Qawasim clan (and Sheikh Saud’s ancestor) that had policy, labour relations, foreign affairs, immigration,The seven emirates in the controlled the area since the early 18th century, signed education standards and communications policy, amongUAE are administered on a the General Maritime Treaty with Britain, establishing others. Outside of these key areas, each individual emi-federal level from the RAK as a protectorate in exchange for protection from rate is free to undertake new developments and poli-federation’s capital in Abu the Ottomans, who were threatening the region. cies as it sees fit. RAK has used this autonomy to investDhabi. Apart from a fewkey areas, however, each From the mid-1800s through the late 1960s, RAK heavily in industry, education and health care.emirate is largely was a member of the Trucial States, a group of British- At the national level the emirate is represented byautonomous. aligned sheikhdoms in the Gulf that included all of the Sheikh Saud, who sits on the Supreme Council – the www.oxfordbusinessgroup.com/country/UAE: Ras Al Khaimah
  6. 6. PROFILE OVERVIEW 13presiding federal body – alongside the rulers of the oth-er six emirates, including Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed AlNahyan, the ruler of Abu Dhabi, who is also the UAE’spresident, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Mak-toum, the ruler of Dubai, who acts as the country’sprime minister and vice-president. The UAE’s government is organised into executive,judicial and legislative branches. The executive branchcomprises the Supreme Council and the Council ofMinisters, or the cabinet, which is overseen by theprime minister and two deputy prime ministers, withmembership made up of the UAE’s 22 governmentministers. The legislative branch is overseen by theFederal National Council (FNC), which is made up of40 representatives, half of whom are elected by theElectoral College – a group of prominent citizens – andhalf of whom are appointed by the Supreme Council.The number of representatives each emirate sends tothe FNC is a function of its population and size. RAKand Sharjah, for example, each send six representa- The government has launched a number of initiatives to boost investment, including a free trade zonetives (three elected and three nominated by the ruler),while Abu Dhabi and Dubai send eight and the remain- rate. A handful of RAK’s largest firms are based ining four emirates send four. RAKIA-operated areas, including RAK Ceramics, the Though the FNC has been active since the UAE was largest ceramics producer in the world with an annu-founded in the 1970s, until the mid-2000s the ruler of al output of 117m sq metres. RAK Ceramics exports toeach emirate appointed all representatives for his over 150 countries. Furthermore, RAK boasts the largestrespective area. This changed in 2006, when the UAE rock quarry in the Gulf region, as well as high-qualitystaged its first-ever public election. Around 6000 promi- limestone and clay deposits, which help contribute tonent Emiratis made up the Electoral College in the first the ceramic sector’s dominance.contest. During the nation’s second round of nation- In addition to the industrial areas, the authority over-al elections, which took place in late September 2011, sees RAK Offshore, a one-stop shop for setting up athis number jumped to 129,274 (see box). Due to the business in the emirate. In 2008 and 2009 RAKIA madeinfancy of electoral politics in the UAE, the FNC cur- a number of major investments in foreign markets –rently remains an advisory body, though its powers including Georgia, Indonesia and India – though sincehave grown in recent years. In December 2008, for late 2010 it has been working to divest itself of mostexample, the Supreme Council introduced a package of these holdings and focus on investments at home.of constitutional amendments that increased the FNC’s Both RAK FTZ and RAKIA have become major points ofreach and powers considerably. These included an investment and trade between RAK and a wide varietyamendment that extended representatives’ terms from of foreign entities and governments in recent years,two years to four years and another that broadened strengthening international cooperation and tradethe FNC’s purview to include international agreements relations. In 2012, for example, Michael Corbin, the USand treaties. The FNC is expected to continue to gain ambassador to the UAE, visited RAK FTZ and Maritimepowers in the coming years. City, among other centres of investment, in an effortLEADING LOCAL DEVELOPMENT: While RAK is a major to highlight the importance of RAK-US trade relations.player on the national stage, the emirate’s rising inter- LOCAL PRIORITIES: Like the UAE as a whole, RAK’snational reputation is primarily the result of the local economy has remained well insulated against the long-government’s policies and development programmes. term negative effects of the 2008-09 internationalThe biggest firms in RAK, for example, are located in financial crisis, unlike parts of the EU and the US. Withindustrial areas operated by RAK Free Trade Zone (RAK this in mind, the local government has continued toFTZ) and the RAK Investment Authority (RAKIA), both invest heavily in social reform programmes at home.of which were created and are overseen by the gov- In addition to launching a number of new universitiesernment. RAK FTZ, which was established by royal in recent years, the government’s ongoing higher edu-decree in May 2000 and remains 100% government- cation improvement programme includes initiativesowned today, is home to more than 5000 firms spread aimed at boosting the quality of education in the emi-throughout four separate industrial parks. In 2011 the rate in an effort to better prepare local students to com-entity saw 2033 new company registrations in total, pete in the job market (see Education chapter). The Industrial parks in theup 17% on the 1740 firms registered in 2010. In par- Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation is also help- emirate are mainly run by two institutions, bothticular, RAK FTZ has worked to attract small and medi- ing to develop and foster research collaboration in government-controlled:um-sized enterprises (SMEs) in several sectors. RAKIA, both RAK and the UAE as a whole, while the RAK Cen- the RAK Free Trade Zoneset up by royal decree in 2005, operates two industri- tre for Advanced Materials is poised to become a and the RAK Investmental parks and a variety of business entities in the emi- regional leader in high-tech science for both the UAE Authority. THE REPORT Ras Al Khaimah 2012
  7. 7. 14 PROFILE OVERVIEW IN THE PUBLIC SPHERE On September 24, 2011 more than 5000 of Ras Al Khaimah’s inhabitants – including a substantial number of women – elected three new local rep- resentatives to the UAE’s Federal National Coun- cil (FNC), the 40-member organisation serving as the national legislature. Political participation by women has jumped substantially in recent years. In RAK, women have benefitted from reforms that have opened new opportunities in several areas. EXPANDING PROFILE: Female participation in public life has jumped substantially. Social reforms, often with a focus on women and children, have been a major component of Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi’s rule. The number of higher education institutions has increased rapidly as well. In 2000 RAK was home to a single university. Since then 13A number of development initiatives are under way, while international investments are also on the rise additional institutions have opened. These include and the region. Similarly, in conjunction with the fed- the public RAK Women’s College, which is part of eral Ministry of Health, RAK has been investing heavi- the federal Higher Colleges of Technology system, ly in a project to improve the emirate’s health care in addition to a variety of private institutions. facilities (see Health chapter). RAK’s e-government ini- The local government has also worked to encour- tiative, launched by Sheikh Saud in 2003, has also ben- age women to start businesses and seek employ- efitted from government support in recent years. ment, with Sheikha Hana bint Jumaa Al Majid, Sheikh CHALLENGES: While RAK has accomplished quite a Saud’s wife, being a major advocate for entrepre- lot over the past decade, the emirate faces a number neurship among local women. In 2008 she organ- of ongoing challenges. As the industrial sector has ised a contest for female entrepreneurs, with a grown, the local power network has been strained, grand prize of Dh100,000 ($27,220). Additionally, which has been a major issue for energy-intensive she played a major role in setting up a business cen- manufacturers and other industrial concerns. In an tre at RAK Women’s College, which offers advice, effort to overcome this issue, the Federal Electricity mentoring and assistance with business licences. and Water Authority (FEWA) is in the midst of a Dh1.4bn POLITICAL PARTICIPATION: The UAE’s female ($381.1m) project to develop the electricity infra- population has stepped into the limelight in recent structure in the Northern Emirates. years. In the 2011 elections some 46% of the The emirate’s booming industrial sector also faces 129,271 members of the Electoral College – com- growing competition from other industrial areas with- posed of Emiratis chosen by the Supreme Council in the UAE and throughout the region. While RAK FTZ – were female. This represents a substantial and RAKIA have both grown substantially in recent improvement over the 2006 elections, when around years, increasingly they vie for foreign investors with 18% of the college was female. Perhaps more impor- well-funded industrial areas in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, tantly, 85 of the 469 Emiratis that campaigned for for example. The UAE dominated fDi Magazine’s 2011- a spot in the FNC in 2011 were female. 12 “Free Zones of the Future” study, with 15 of the top In RAK, women accounted for 38% of the 16,850 25 free zones located in the country. RAKIA’s indus- locals chosen to vote in the 2011 elections. This trial park took second place, while RAK FTZ took fourth. number is expected to rise in the next round of OUTLOOK: Despite these challenges, RAK is expected national elections, tentatively scheduled for 2016. to continue to take on a prominent role in the UAE for At the same time, RAK boasted the highest per- the foreseeable future. Government-led economic lib- centage of female candidates. Of the 60 candi- eralisation has resulted in a thriving industrial sector, dates that campaigned for one of the three spots which has in turn boosted RAK’s reputation both at allocated for elected representatives from RAK on home and abroad. A number of ongoing social reform the council, 16 were women, which equates to programmes are expected to turn the emirate into a around 27% of the total nominees, compared toFemale participation in major regional player in the areas of higher education 21% in Umm Al Quwain (UAQ), 20.9% in Dubai,public life has expanded, and health care in the coming years. Similarly, as inter- 18.8% in Abu Dhabi, 17% in Sharjah, 14.7% in Ajmanthanks to a number of net penetration rates continue to improve through- and 14.3% in Fujairah. When the election finished,social reforms, the opening out the UAE, RAK’s e-government project will have a only one women had won a spot in the FNC (Sheikhaof RAK Women’s College,support to female growing impact. All this should help ensure RAK remains Isa Ghanem Al Ari, elected in UAQ), but the jumpentrepreneurs and an a key part of not just the UAE’s economy, but also a in female participation is a good sign for the future.increased role in politics. vital piece of the economic framework of the region. www.oxfordbusinessgroup.com/country/UAE: Ras Al Khaimah
  8. 8. PROFILE ANALYSIS 15 The emirate has a reputation as a stable place to do businessSeason of changeThe Arab Spring has the potential to create new economicopportunities for the emirateIn his introductory remarks at the 2011 Global Arab has benefitted from ambitious development initiatives Annual real GDP growth inBusiness Meeting (GABM), held at the Al Hamra Con- by Sheikh Saud, who has worked to guarantee good the Middle East is estimated to average 4.8%vention Centre in Ras Al Khaimah in October 2011, governance and transparency in an effort to encour- for the 2012-15 period,Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, the ruler of RAK, spoke age economic growth. The emirate boasts a number second only to theof new opportunities created by the unrest that has of growth drivers and other competitive advantages projections for Asia.swept through North Africa and the Middle East in that should stand it in good stead in the post-Arab Spring2011 and early 2012. “The real challenge is how we economic climate. Like the rest of the UAE, RAK’s localcan provide good governance to the people, which I population boasts relatively high incomes for the region.believe begins with transparency,” he said. “Govern- The emirate’s financial sector, dominated by the Nation-ments should have the courage to bring in trans- al Bank of RAK (RAKBANK), fared well in the wake ofparency, which allows them to address challenges the international economic downturn (see Financialrather than accumulating problems.” Sheikh Saud’s Services chapter). Lending at RAKBANK continuedremarks highlight an important aspect of the demon- largely unabated through 2009 and 2010.strations – in a handful of relatively wealthy Middle East- RAK’s financial industry is underpinned by the thriv-ern nations, including the UAE, the Arab Spring has ing local industrial sector. The emirate’s numerousopened up new space for political dialogue and, poten- industrial zones, operated by the RAK Investmenttially, long-term economic growth. At the 2011 GABM, Authority (RAKIA) and RAK Free Trade Zone (RAK FTZ),business leaders from all over the Arab world expressed are well positioned to benefit from foreign firms thatcautious optimism about the opportunities for sus- are looking to set up shop in the UAE due to instabili-tainable expansion created by the ongoing protests. ty elsewhere in the region. The Arab Spring has beenThe idea that the Arab Spring will act as a catalyst for especially hard on small and medium-sized enterpris-political reform and economic expansion is increasingly es (SMEs). Both RAK FTZ and RAKBANK have workedprevalent. According to a mid-2011 report by the Econ- to cater to SMEs in recent years, which bodes well foromist Intelligence Unit, annual real GDP growth in the those looking to relocate to the UAE.Middle East is expected to average 4.8% for the peri- BY THE BOOK: RAK’s reputation as an up-and-od 2012-15, nearly twice the projected rate in North coming regional leader in higher education could alsoAmerica and second only to Asia. be a major advantage in the wake of the Arab Spring.MOVING FORWARD: In the short-term future, the Sheikh Saud has worked to boost research activitiesregion’s major hydrocarbons-producing countries – in the emirate. In 2009 the École Polytechnique Fédéralethe UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, in particular – stand de Lausanne (EPFL), a major Swiss technical universi-to benefit the most from the Arab Spring. With insta- ty, partnered with RAKIA to open a campus in RAK.bility elsewhere in the region, these countries should The government has also worked to improve thegain both from investors looking for stable markets and, quality of education on offer in RAK, encouraging a focus With unrest linked to theto a lesser degree, tourists looking for new destina- on teaching creative thinking and practical profes- Arab Spring affecting sometions. The UAE, which has been working to improve pub- sional skills. This focus bodes well for RAK’s ability to countries in the region,lic participation in government since 2005, is poised benefit from the rapidly changing regional economic Gulf states like the UAE can expect to see increasedfor rapid economic expansion. climate. Taking into account the focus on education, interest from investorsTIME TO SHINE: RAK in particular has made a name the burgeoning industrial sector and the UAE’s advan- looking for more stablefor itself in recent years as a secure and stable place tages, RAK is well positioned to capitalise on the new markets and from touriststo do business, especially in the industrial sector. RAK economic opportunities created by the Arab Spring. seeking new destinations. THE REPORT Ras Al Khaimah 2012
  9. 9. 16 PROFILE INTERVIEW Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah Big plans OBG talks to Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah Which sectors will provide RAK with the great- ed to RAK, and Etihad Rail, which is being developed est growth over the next few years, and what in concert with the other emirates. The rail project steps are being taken to attract investors? has significant potential. Shipping cargo via the rail SHEIKH SAUD: GDP in RAK rose by 8% in 2011, and network would simplify delivery, reduce vehicle traf- I am confident the rate in 2012 will at least match fic and improve road safety. We are also studying that. Two sectors in particular, industry and tourism, plans to expand the RAK airport to cater for the will provide continued economic growth and will expected increase in demand. allow RAK to maximise its assets. In addition to this, we are seeking to attract more Over the years, we have not only attracted inter- investment in RAK Maritime City and have already national groups to establish businesses here, but we seen positive feedback from foreign investors. IT have also developed top-tier companies at home. systems are consistently reviewed to make them Stevin Rock and RAK Rock, for instance, are good more accessible and investor-friendly. Alongside examples of this in the building materials industry. promoting industry and tourism, we also want to fur- They lead the market in supplying aggregates to the ther improve the quality of life in RAK by the gov- UAE and the region. ernment’s focus on upgrading schools, hospitals To foster further growth, industrial parks, such as and other public facilities. Al Hamra and Ghail, free zones and a maritime city have all been specifically designed to attract How can alternative energy strategies be used investors. RAK has an industry-friendly tax system, to minimise the impact of energy shortages when competitive production costs and excellent infra- it comes to economic expansion? structure, including ports, airports and roads. For SHEIKH SAUD: The federal government is invest- example, expansion at Saqr Port has made it the ing heavily in the upgrade of the electrical supply largest bulk port in the Middle East. This highlights infrastructure, while at the same time a couple of the importance our infrastructure currently has independent power projects have been initiated, when it comes to supporting the development of which have been instrumental in addressing short- industrial companies in RAK. ages. It is indicative of the “can do” spirit in Ras Al With regard to tourism, the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Khaimah that several industrial companies have Development Authority (RAK TDA) is identifying areas turned the energy situation into an opportunity. to increase long-term sustainable growth. The num- A number of cement companies are now under- ber of four- and five-star hotels in RAK and their high taking waste heat recovery techniques to make their occupancy rates point to the success of its strate- operations more efficient and become more com- gy. Our current challenge is to build more hotels to petitive within their industry. They have switched reach a target of 10,000 rooms by 2016. We are aim- their fuel from diesel to coal and are continually ing for 1.2m visitors in 2013. looking for ways to become more efficient. That said, here in RAK we want to raise the over- What new infrastructure projects are in the all efficiency levels of our industries by reducing pipeline for the emirate, and how have investors energy waste. In addition to conservation tech- reacted to these proposed investments? niques, we are also looking into how the emirate SHEIKH SAUD: The biggest projects coming up are can implement alternative methods of energy gen- the inter-emirate road, which will soon be extend- eration across different sectors of the economy. www.oxfordbusinessgroup.com/country/UAE: Ras Al Khaimah
  10. 10. PROFILE INTERVIEW 17 The focus on conservation extends to our munic- In what ways is the emirate working to positionipal waste system through our waste recovery itself as a first-choice destination for tourists asscheme. And with regard to landfill, we have iden- well as for foreign investors? What role doestified several ways of turning waste into gas, which RAK TDA play in this?can serve as an alternative source of energy. SHEIKH SAUD: I strongly believe that, given the The overarching idea is to invest in feasible, sus- close proximity to key tourism source markets suchtainable projects, as it is important for the future of as Europe, Asia and Russia, RAK will be able to becomethe emirate to have alternative sources of energy, a leading tourist destination.fostering growth across all areas of the economy. By the very creation of RAK TDA, we have consol-We have a duty to turn the very important issue of idated all tourism-related activities under one enti-high energy consumption into a solution for our ty, establishing a one-stop shop for investors thatenergy needs. can provide all of the necessary information, includ- ing data and feasibility studies.What efforts are being undertaken with regards RAK TDA’s primary objective is to position the emi-to fostering the development of the education rate regionally and on a global level as a leisure,system in the emirate? Are there any particular adventure and value-for-money destination. Its twoareas of focus? divisions, tourism and hospitality, have been activeSHEIKH SAUD: Over the past 40 years, our whole in both identifying and developing tourism projectscountry has witnessed tremendous transformational to increase the number of visitors and achieve over-changes, and we have come a long way as a result all growth for the sector.of these changes. I have already mentioned the significant growth Education is the foundation for growth across in the number of four- and five-star hotels andsectors. Our aim is to refine the “pyramid of knowl- resorts. One major project – and yet another inter-edge” and work on ways to upgrade our education national brand to come to the emirate – is the UAE’ssystem by improving the overall quality of our teach- first Waldorf Astoria hotel, which is scheduled toers and professors in both the secondary and ter- open in late 2012.tiary systems, as well as by revising the curricula in If location is important for tourism vis-à-vis Europe,place in local schools. Asia and Russia, it is equally significant for indus- The Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research is trial and other investments as well. You have alreadyat the heart of this work. The foundation has been seen the steps that we have taken in developingworking with the RAK Education Zone to assess Eng- industrial parks, free zones, ports and a maritime city.lish language teachers in our government schools, But this is not the end of the process. It is only theaddressing any skills gaps. beginning. The Al Qasimi Foundation is also conducting a We want to maintain a fluid business environ-study to help understand why the proportion of Emi- ment where the government is quickly responsiverati males who continue into higher education is to investors’ needs, monitoring new ideas and striv-relatively small. Our aim is to give the population of ing for perpetual improvement. We are continuallyRAK the choice of being able to stay in the emirate scrutinising our policies to simplify them, as well aswhile still attaining a high-quality education, as increasing the level of transparency, which is right-well as to attract students from outside the emirate. ly an extremely important issue for our investors. THE REPORT Ras Al Khaimah 2012
  11. 11. 18 PROFILE INTERVIEW Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud Al Qasimi, Crown Prince of Ras Al Khaimah Becoming a top destination OBG talks to Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud Al Qasimi, Crown Prince of Ras Al Khaimah What diversification strategy is being undertak- restaurants and services offered to visitors. We want en, particularly with regards to enhancing RAK’s tourists to visit RAK more than once, and I am confi- attractiveness to foreign investors? dent the emirate can become a number-one desti- SHEIKH MOHAMMED: RAK’s economy is already diver- nation as it possesses many attractions: we have the sified and the emirate is aiming to expand further. The UAE’s longest stretch of coastline, the Hajjar Moun- economic diversification programme implemented in tains, year-round sunshine and a history stretching RAK has created a fairly mixed economy, and the gov- back 7000 years. Located close to the regional eco- ernment has strived to espouse an economic vision nomic centre of Dubai, RAK differs as it is smaller and of openness. This will help RAK become more signifi- more traditional. It is an attraction for those wanting cant in a rapidly evolving and interconnected global to see another side of life in the Arabian Peninsula. economy. We are concentrating on developing tourist Hotel capacity is increasing, and the airport is being attractions, and, at the same time, we are promoting expanded to match tourism sector growth. Great industry. We have industrial parks that allow compa- potential also lies on Marjan Island, where the Real nies to share the success of existing industries. Madrid Island Resort is scheduled to open in 2015. We are seeking to achieve sustainable growth We have not forgotten the main GDP contributors such through attracting investments, taking full advan- as industry either. Given that we already have estab- tage of RAK’s competitive advantage in terms of its lished players in the market, more entrants are look- geographic location. Being close to the Strait of Hor- ing to come to the emirate and share the success of muz allows for maritime bulk trade and tourism devel- its expansion. Moreover, we also aim to ensure devel- opment. The mountains are also a great asset for the opment is environmentally friendly and we have a tourism and industrial sectors, particularly in the field range of industry and tourism projects specifically of cement and building materials. designed with ecology and habitat protection in mind. Today, efforts are under way to make RAK an investor- friendly destination. RAK is a first-choice location for How would you assess RAK’s relationship with the investors, thanks to business-friendly legislation that other emirates as well as the wider region? gives the investor the security to locate here. For SHEIKH MOHAMMED: While all of the emirates are investors, RAK is accessible, corruption-free and com- different, they complement each other in various petitive in terms of cost. To attract more foreign ways. When a visitor comes to the UAE, they see the investors, it is essential to market the emirate abroad, diversity of the country’s topography and the beau- and today, we are looking to develop relations with coun- ty of that diversity. On an economic level, with each tries that are more open to making investments. emirate’s economy expanding, the Gulf states have become better business partners for each other – not Which sectors will provide RAK with the greatest just locally but globally. Furthermore, as countries growth potential in the coming years? surrounding the UAE become richer, they will provide SHEIKH MOHAMMED: I am particularly keen to see us with more opportunities to do business, which I the tourism and industry sectors expand, as I believe regard as a motivation to develop the whole of the these two areas will provide RAK with the best growth UAE. Each emirate has a responsibility in this expan- potential in the coming years. With regards to the sion, and what RAK has to offer is an advantageous tourism sector, we have already set up the Tourism fiscal policy, a strategic geographic location, politi- Authority, and we are trying to streamline all hotels, cal stability and a competitive business environment. www.oxfordbusinessgroup.com/country/UAE: Ras Al Khaimah
  12. 12. PROFILE ANALYSIS 19 The local government has made numerous investments in industryProtect and preserveExpanding the supply of power and water and promoting sustainabilityAs the industrial sector has expanded over the past 2003-04, soon after the local government began The UAE’s federaldecade, demand for power and water in Ras Al making major investments in the industrial sector. government is planning to invest some $1.55bn inKhaimah has grown exponentially. Consequently, in Securing enough energy to power a number of large- power and waterrecent years RAK, like many of the other Northern scale manufacturing plants has been a challenge infrastructure, while RAKEmirates, has experienced sporadic power outages ever since. By 2006 RAK was suffering occasional has also added powerand water shortages. This is an issue in the emirate, blackouts, due in large part to burgeoning industri- plants to boost capacity.as it is home to a number of energy-intensive man- al demand for power, the steadily expanding popu-ufacturing companies and other industrial firms. lation and urbanisation. Outages normally took placeUnannounced power cuts could hurt revenue at in the summer months, when air-conditioner usemany of these firms, which rely on electricity to overloaded the power grid.power production. Similarly, RAK’s growing popula- In 2008 and 2009 FEWA purchased electricitytion and steadily increasing urbanisation have result- from the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authori-ed in rapidly rising demand for potable water, a very ty to make up for the local shortage. At the samelimited resource in the UAE. time, the authority began to develop plans to upgrade The local government has been working closely the power grid in the Northern Emirates and findwith the Federal Electricity and Water Authority new sources of energy to ensure future supply. In(FEWA), the federal utility that oversees the elec- mid-2009 RAKIA completed work on two new pow-tricity and water supply in the Northern Emirates, er stations, which now supply power to the indus-to overcome these shortages. In an effort to boost trial zones at Al Ghail and Al Hamra. A connectionpower supply, both the RAK Investment Authority between the two plants, which have a combined(RAKIA) and FEWA have set up new power infra- capacity of 129 MW, is being constructed so thatstructure in recent years, and the emirate is expect- idle capacity can be utilised. The 40-km pipeline ised to benefit from a new desalination plant by 2013. due to come on-line by the end of 2012. While ramping up energy and water supply in the RECENT EVENTS: In March 2011 Sheikh Khalifa binNorthern Emirates – and in particular RAK and Shar- Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE’s president, announcedjah, which have seen the greatest shortages – is a that the federal government would invest Dh5.7bnnational priority, local and federal authorities are also ($1.55bn) in power and water infrastructure proj-working to boost environmental protections at home. ects in the Northern Emirates, including building aBalancing these two priorities has been a key focus handful of additional power plants and substations,over the past few years. As of early 2012 the gov- improving the transmission network and boostingernment had managed to pursue both simultane- capacity at a number of older power stations. Inously, primarily by focusing on developing new clean October 2011 FEWA completed work on a numbersources of energy. RAK, home to a nascent but active of smaller power stations in the Northern Emirates,and technologically advanced sustainable energy including one in Masafi, output of which is splitsector, is leading the charge. between RAK and Fujairah; one at Al Sawan, in RAK;POWERING UP: In the 1990s and early 2000s, RAK’s and one in Al Nuaimiya, in Ajman. Two months lat-power supply was more than sufficient. The emi- er, in December 2011, the authority finished con-rate was powered by a mix of gas from local fields struction at the second Al Rifaa power substationand imports from Abu Dhabi and other energy-rich in RAK. These projects are part of the first stage ofneighbours. RAK first faced power shortages in FEWA’s overarching development plan for the area. THE REPORT Ras Al Khaimah 2012
  13. 13. 20 PROFILE ANALYSIS In mid-2011 parts of RAK experienced a water shortage as a result of a desalination plant in the central Al Nakheel area breaking down. In response FEWA announced plans in December 2011 to build a new desalination plant in the emirate, with a capac- ity of 15m gallons per day. The project, which is expected to be completed by 2014, will primarily sup- ply water for industrial use. Additionally, in early 2012 FEWA completed work on two 5m-gallon reservoirs in RAK. The two tanks, which cost Dh21m ($5.7m) to construct, will hold enough water to supply the emirate for two full days in an emergency situation. According to Mohammed Mohammed Saleh, the director-general of FEWA, the authority is also in the process of building two 10m-gallon tanks in RAK. A CENTRE FOR SUSTAINABILITY: RAK’s recent investments in environmental protection and alter- native power have the potential to turn the emirate into a regional leader in clean energy and water inThe emirate is exploring a number of solar projects, including a possible “solar island” off the coast the coming years. The RAK Environment Protection WATER WORLD: Water consumption in the UAE is and Development Authority (EPDA) has worked close- higher than in almost any other nation in the world. ly with the federal Ministry of Environment and In 2010, according to local news reports, the coun- Water to introduce programmes aimed at reducing try’s per capita water consumption rate was around the emirate’s environmental footprint. 500 litres per day, which is some 82% higher than The authority, which was set up by royal decree the world average. According to an early 2012 report in 2007, oversees a number of initiatives, including released by the Abu Dhabi Environment Authority, a recurring desert clean-up effort; a programme to annual water consumption in Abu Dhabi exceeds monitor and curb dust emissions at major industri- local supply almost 26 times over. At the current rate al plants; and a wide variety of educational pro- of use, local ground resources there will be deplet- gramming for schools and the general public. ed by the end of the year 2050. In early March 2011 the EPDA organised an inter- With this in mind, the great majority – around national conference entitled “Global Warming: Water 90% – of the UAE’s potable water supply is produced and Land Use”, which took place at the Al Hamra Con- by desalination. After Saudi Arabia, the UAE is the vention Centre in RAK and was hosted by Sheikh largest producer of desalinated water in the world. Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, the emirate’s ruler. Six of the country’s 70 desalination plants are locat- The conference attracted guest speakers from a ed in RAK. The newest plant – which includes desali- number of major US-based organisations, including nation and wastewater treatment components – the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, was set up in the Al Ghail industrial area in April 2010 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administra- by RAKIA. The majority of the production coming tion, and the University of Maryland. from the plant goes to large-scale manufacturers SOLAR WORKS: The Centre Suisse d’Électronique and other nearby industrial firms. et de Microtechnique (CSEM), a Switzerland-based FEWA, in conjunction with the federal govern- sustainable energy firm that established a presence ment and the water authorities in Abu Dhabi and in RAK in 2005 as part of a joint venture with RAKIA, Dubai, has launched a number of new water-relat- is developing a number of ambitious new solar tech- ed projects in recent years. As part of the recently nologies and processes in the emirate. announced Dh5.7bn ($1.55bn) federal investment The company’s flagship project involves floating in the water and power infrastructure in the North- massive solar arrays in the shallow waters off RAK. ern Emirates, FEWA is undertaking a handful of major The “solar island” project, which was still under devel- water-related projects. opment as of mid-2012, has attracted attention The authority will build a 100-km water pipeline from solar energy firms around the world. from Kalba, in Sharjah, to Dibba, which sits at the CSEM is also working on a number of other proj- north-eastern tip of the UAE, at a cost of Dh900m ects, including solar-powered air conditioners and ($245m). The line will supply 23m gallons of water solar polygeneration technology, which could poten-In an effort to expand per day to Fujairah and the town of Khor Fakkan in tially boost efficiency at power and desalinationwater supply, FEWA is Sharjah, which is home to a major container termi- plants. Finally, the firm is currently working to setplanning to build a 100-km nal. FEWA is also working on a Dh300m ($81.7m), up a testing facility for new solar and new thermalwater pipeline capable ofsupplying 23m gallons per 60-km pipeline that will be able to supply 18m gal- technologies, which may have the potential to even-day, at an estimated cost lons of water per day to Umm Al Quwain and a tually attract more alternative energy firms to moveof about $245m. Dh158m ($43m), 36-km pipeline to help supply RAK. ahead with setting up their operations within RAK. www.oxfordbusinessgroup.com/country/UAE: Ras Al Khaimah
  14. 14. PROFILE ANALYSIS 21 Proximity to a number of trade routes is an advantage for firmsTrading upBoosting economic ties increases regional integrationA substantial number of new international econom- UAE’s other major economic centres in Dubai and RAK has a number ofic agreements have boosted Ras Al Khaimah in recent Abu Dhabi. Additionally, RAK is not nearly as built-up competitive advantages for industrial development,years, largely as a result of government-led industri- as many of its neighbours. The emirate has a sub- including a prime locational development measures put in place over the past stantial amount of undeveloped, affordable land, on the Strait of Hormuzdecade. The emirate has established trade relation- which is a boon for industrial firms looking to set up and a substantial amountships with a diverse group of nations, including Tan- shop in the Gulf. Finally, RAK is home to sizeable of undeveloped, affordablezania and the US. Rising export revenues have allowed amounts of a wide variety of mineral deposits. Exten- land.the government to invest heavily in ambitious social sive limestone deposits in the Al Hajjar Mountains, forreform programmes. Similarly, as the emirate’s rep- example, have resulted in the development of a thriv-utation has grown, it has attracted an increasing ing construction materials segment, making RAK aamount of foreign investment. main supplier in the UAE for construction materials.BACKGROUND: Since the UAE was created in the THE LONG GAME: In addition to these natural advan-early 1970s, trade and economic ties have been at tages, the emirate has benefitted from decades ofthe centre of the country’s foreign policy. The rise of careful government oversight, with an eye to devel-Abu Dhabi and Dubai as regional financial and tourism oping the industrial sector. RAK’s current status as acentres, respectively, in the late 1990s and first half growing economic player in the UAE and further afieldof the 2000s was closely related to an increase in inter- is the result of a long period of economic liberalisa-national economic cooperation between the UAE and tion, government investment and reform.a number of major economic powers. Even in the The industrial sector, which today accounts for thewake of the 2008-09 international financial down- great majority of the emirate’s export revenues, wasturn, which had a negative impact on the country – launched in the 1970s and 1980s by Sheikh Saqr binthough not nearly to the extent of many Western Mohammed Al Qasimi, who ruled RAK from 1948 untileconomies – the federal government has highlight- he passed away in 2010. Sheikh Saqr played an inte-ed the importance of expanding and deepening eco- gral role in setting up the UAE’s first cement factorynomic integration. The topic of trade ties was a cen- in 1974. He was also one of the founders of RAKtral talking point at the 2011 Global Arab Business Ceramics in the 1980s. Today the firm is the largestMeeting, held in RAK in early October. According to ceramics manufacturer in the world.a speech delivered at the event by Sheikha Lubna After Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Sheikh Saqr’sKhalid Al Qasimi, the UAE’s minister of foreign trade, son, took over the day-to-day operations of RAK incontinuing to ramp up economic integration – in par- 2003, he introduced a series of ambitious economicticular with nations in the Middle East and North reforms and targeted investments in the industrialAfrica – is the best way to ensure regional peace and sector. Sheikh Saud’s government has focused onstability, not to mention steady economic growth. improving the emirate’s transport and industrial infra-A HISTORY OF GROWTH: RAK boasts a number of structure and increasing transparency requirementscompetitive advantages for industrial development. for government players and private sector firms, with The industrial sector, whichThe emirate’s location on the Strait of Hormuz means the long-term goal of boosting overall economic diver- today accounts for a majority of the emirate’sthat local exporters and trans-shipment firms have sification. In recent years RAK has benefitted from the export revenues, is thedirect access to one of the world’s busiest shipping development of a modern transport network. RAK is result of a great deal oflanes. The proximity of the strait translates into ship- home to five interconnected ports, an international long-term planning by theping prices that are considerably lower than in the airport and a series of major road links. RAK is also state. THE REPORT Ras Al Khaimah 2012
  15. 15. 22 PROFILE ANALYSIS and the UK. As of early 2010, around 95% of these firms were small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In 2011 RAK FTZ saw 2033 new firms regis- ter to do business in RAK, a 17% jump on 2010. Sim- ilarly, in the first six months of 2011, around 800 new companies were registered with RAKIA, up 31% over the same period in 2010. The authority is home to more than 3000 firms. While the majority of these companies registered under manufacturing licences, there has been increased interest in trade licences in recent years as well, according to RAKIA. MAJOR PARTNERS: While RAK does business with companies from both hemispheres, the emirate main- tains especially close ties with a handful of nations and areas. China and India are both leading trading partners, for example. Around 30% of the firms reg- istered at RAKIA at the end of 2009 were based in the sub-continent. Similarly, European companies accounted for 18% of the firms registered with RAKIA, Asian firms for 7%, US-based companies for 3%, andBoth RAKIA and RAK FTZ have seen a sizeable uptick in registration numbers over the past few years Russian and other Commonwealth of Independent expected to play a major role in the planned UAE-wide States-based firms for around 2%. Etihad Railway network, which is currently in the ear- RAK’s thriving tourism market has the potential to ly stages of development. attract new hoteliers and other tourism-related com- INDUSTRIAL HEAVYWEIGHT: Perhaps the gov- panies from around the world in the coming years. A ernment’s most important move in terms of devel- handful of local organisations are working to boost oping the industrial sector was setting up the RAK Free trade ties in foreign markets. For example, in mid-May Trade Zone (RAK FTZ) in May 2000 and, five years lat- 2012 RAK FTZ sent a delegation to Pakistan, with the er, the RAK Investment Authority (RAKIA). These two goal of attracting Pakistani businesses to invest in the entities, which remain 100% owned and operated by emirate, either in the form of foreign direct invest- the government, have had a major impact on the emi- ment (FDI) or by setting up new companies in the UAE. rate’s industrial development. RAK FTZ- and RAKIA- The delegation participated in a series of seminars in operated industrial areas are home to the majority Karachi and road show events in smaller economic of the emirate’s largest and most successful compa- centres throughout the country. RAK FTZ is already nies. The planned RAK Maritime City will provide sim- home to a substantial number of Pakistan-based firms, ilar incentives for maritime-based industry. which are active in a wide variety of industries. In an The industrial sector, which includes steel produc- effort to boost ties with Korean and other East Asian tion, mineral processing, limestone quarrying and firms, RAK FTZ also recently sponsored the UAE’s manufacturing, is responsible for nearly one-third of inaugural Made In Korea exhibition, which was held RAK’s GDP, according to the RAK Department of Eco- in Abu Dhabi in mid-May 2012. Contacts made at the nomic Development (RAK DED). Foreign investment event are expected to eventually lead to new busi- has stagnated slightly in other parts of the region as ness opportunities for Korean firms looking to set up a result of the Arab Spring (see analysis), but RAK has shop in the UAE and vice versa. remained popular among international and local Trade with the US, in particular, has ramped up investors alike. Indeed, as costs and risks rise else- rapidly. In the past decade the UAE’s exports to the where in the region, RAK may benefit from a bump US jumped by 18%, from $971.1m in 2000 to $1.15bn in business. “There is a migration of companies from in 2010, according to official statistics. In 2010, the other GCC countries and the Middle East into RAK,” most recent year for which data is available, the UAE Alex Thomas, the general manager of marketing at was the US’s largest export market in the Middle East, RAKIA, recently told local press. “They are conscious and the 21st-largest overall. The two countries trade about cost.” According to RAK DED, the emirate’s a wide variety of products, including manufactured economy grew by 8% in 2011. metals, chemicals, transport equipment, machinery AROUND THE WORLD: While federal diplomats in and electronics, among others. Abu Dhabi handle the UAE’s official foreign policy, each Both RAK and the US are working to encourage addi- emirate is allowed to pursue trade and economic tional trade in the future. In early 2012 Oussama ElTrade with the US has relations with as many foreign entities as it likes. RAK Omari, the CEO of RAK FTZ, met with Michael Corbin,ramped up considerably. In has made good use of its autonomy in this area by the US ambassador to the UAE, to discuss futureearly 2012 the CEO of RAK ramping up foreign trade in recent years. Business- cooperation plans. “The visit is an opportunity to rein-FTZ met with the USambassador to the UAE to es operating in RAK hail from a variety of locations. force our positioning as a business hub geared atdiscuss plans for future RAK FTZ is home to over 5000 firms from more than helping SMEs and global businesses to set up in thecooperation. 106 countries, including, notably, India, Egypt, the US region,” El Omari told local press during the meeting. www.oxfordbusinessgroup.com/country/UAE: Ras Al Khaimah
  16. 16. 6 CONTENTS RAS AL KHAIMAH 2012ISBN 978-1-907065-60-6 PROFILEEditor-in-Chief: Andrew JeffreysEditorial Director: Peter Grimsditch 10 A rising star: Welcoming investment to itsRegional Editor: Oliver Cornock many expanding sectorsEditorial Manager: Jean Charles Ben 12 Mover and shaker: Encouraging economicSichou growth with an eye towards socialChief Sub-editor: Alistair Taylor developmentDeputy Chief Sub-editor: JenniePatterson 14 In the public sphere: Emirati women are takingWeb Editor: Barbara Isenberg on a growing role in public lifeSub-editors: Danya Chudacoff, ElyseFranko-Filipasic, Sam Inglis, Elise 15 Season of change: The Arab Spring has theLaker, Esther Parker, William Zeman potential to create new economicContributing Sub-editor: MiiaBogdanoff opportunities for the emirate 16 Interview: Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi,Analysts: Nick Anderman, BenCampbell, Henry Harding 18 Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah Interview: Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud Al A broader viewSenior Editorial Researcher: SusanManoğlu Qasimi, Crown Prince of Ras Al Khaimah Page 24Editorial Researchers: Thomas Bacon, 19 Protect and preserve: Expanding the supply ofOwen Barron, Souhir Mzali, AdelineOka power and water and promoting sustainability One of the region’s most diversified economies, 21 Trading up: Boosting economic ties to RAK boasts sizeable tourism, manufacturing,Art Director: Yonca ErginDeputy Art Director: Cemre Strugo increase regional integration high-tech, retail and construction sectors,Art Editor: Meltem Muzmuz among others. Balance is the aim, with the stateIllustrations: Shi-Ji LiangPhotographer: Mark Hammami ECONOMY following what is know as the “20:20” rule: no one sector should make up more than 20% ofProduction Manager: Selin Bolu 24 A broader view: Diversified base continues to GDP or more than 20% of the fiscal surplus.Operations Manager: Yasemin Dirice expand as investment-friendly policies draw Growth is expected to continue, with a partic-Logistics & Distribution Coordinator:Esen Barin in FDI ular focus on exploiting underserved niches.Operations Assistant: Öznur Usta 33 Interview: Jim Stewart, CEO, Investment & Development Office, Government of RAKOBG would like to thank its localpartners for their assistance and 36 Niche potential: Promoting research and INDUSTRY & RETAILsupport in the research of this project. development in high-tech industries 56 Finding a niche: A wide variety of 37 New goals in sight: Encouraging foreign investment in a range of areas opportunities exist for investors 62 Interview: Dr Ayman Sahli, CEO, Julphar 39 Moving on up: The transition towards 63 A friendly location: Free zones, industrial higher-value finished and semi-finished products continues parks and other services cater to foreign investors 65 Pushing production: An open-door policy FINANCIAL SERVICES paves the way for FDI 66 A diversifying offer: The appetite for 42 Ramping up: Solid fundamentals underpin expansion higher-end products is growing 50 Top banks: A look at the leading financial firms 52 Building new businesses: Financing for SMEs is CONSTRUCTION & REAL ESTATE becoming easier to come by 70 Pushing ahead: Developments are helping to spur on projects in several new segments Finding a niche 75 Bouncing back: By diversifying its strategies, the industry is overcoming difficulties Page 56 brought about by the international financial With the emirate’s free zones work- crisis ing to encourage new industrial ven- 77 Interview: Louis-Armand de Rougé, CEO, tures, RAK is positioning itself as a RAK Marjan Island Football manufacturing centre for both the 78 The move forward: Modest gains are a positive UAE and the wider region. While sign for future growth ceramics remains the largest industrial 83 Accessing credit: Increased mortgage segment, other areas are also posting options facilitate greater investment strong numbers. Due to economic growth, the appetite for more expen- TRANSPORT sive goods is increasing, both for 86 Accommodating growth: Expanding capacity the mid-market and luxury segments. across road, rail, air and sea www.oxfordbusinessgroup.com/country/UAE: Ras Al Khaimah