The Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) successfully concluded a three-day delegation to London, United Kingdom, as part of its strategy to strengthen ties and step up bilateral investment between the Emirate of Sharjah and the UK.
Shurooq's delegation was headed by Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, the Authority's Chairperson, Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, Chief Executive Officer, Mr Saud Al Suwaidi, Director of International Relations and Partnerships, and Mr Yasser Mohammed Zamzam, Public Relations & Communication Manager ,and Ms Mariam Rashid Bin Al Shaikh, Investment Promotion Executive.
Over the three days, Shurooq held high-level meetings with a number of the UK's most influential business groups – leading organisations in areas such as trade, investment, commerce, private equity, healthcare, and urban planning.
On the first day of the visit – Monday, 13th April – meetings were successfully held with the London Chamber of Commerce, the Arab British Chamber of Commerce, UK Trade & Investment, and London and Partners & Med City UK. These were followed, on day two, with meetings with C & C Alpha Group, the British Chambers of Commerce, the Association of British Healthcare Industries, the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, the UAE Embassy, and the Global Counsel. On the third and final day, Shurooq's delegation met with the Lord Mayor's Office, Chiswick Business Park, the UAE Embassy, the Future Cities Catapult, and the Scottish Government.
Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of Shurooq, said, "This delegation represented another milestone in Sharjah's burgeoning relations with the UK. We were delighted to showcase the numerous investment opportunities in the Emirate to Britain's foremost investment groups, representing not just London but the whole of the UK – including Scotland and the city of Birmingham."
Al Sarkal continued: "Over the three days we presented in detail the many advantages of investing in Sharjah, from the Emirate's strong manufacturing sector to its world-class international connections, business-friendly environment with attractive incentives for foreign investors, diversified economy, and reputation as a regional centre of culture. We are extremely pleased with the outcomes of what were very fruitful meetings, and look forward to building upon the relationships we have established".
Economic relations between the UK and the UAE are growing apace. Bilateral trade between the two countries exceeded £12 billion in 2012. UK investment in the UAE reached a total Dh 30.8 billion in 2011, while the UAE invests over £5 billion in the North Sea. There are more than 100,000 UK expatriates in the UAE and more than one million British visitors each year to the Emirates. In Sharjah – which was recently named one of the world's top ten Small and Mid-sized Cities in the FDI Global Cities of the Future 2014/15 index – a British firm was recently awarded a contract worth £343 million to build the world's largest advanced thermal energy-from-waste facility.
This delegation to London built upon a number of notable meetings and conferences between business and academic leaders in Sharjah and the UK over recent years.
Representatives from Sharjah have included HH Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, as well many of the Emirate's foremost business organisations.
Shurooq's key mission is to provide facilities and incentives to help overcome obstacles facing investment activities in Sharjah, evaluate investment-related infrastructure projects, and lay down the necessary plans to complete such projects.
In recognition of its overall accomplishments, Shurooq was named The Banking Awards 2013 – and 2014 FDI Agency of the Year in the MENA region at the European's Global Banking and Finance Awards.