#Dubai tops the Middle East & ranks 5th globally ahead of Madrid, Amsterdam, Sydney & Tokyo in CEOWORLD magazine’s survey of the Best Cities to Live in the World for Expats 2020.
Dubai ranked as best city for expats in Middle East
Dubai has also ranked fifth globally higher on the list than cities such as Sydney, Amsterdam and Tokyo.
Dubai has been ranked first in the Middle East and fifth globally among the best cities for expats to live and work in 2020.
According to a CEOWORLD Magazine, Dubai has ranked higher on the list than cities such as Sydney, Amsterdam and Tokyo.
The cities were ranked based on local friendliness, cost of living, quality of healthcare, safety, ability to raise a family, and career opportunities.
The magazine asked 127,000 expats from 186 cities to rank the best cities in the world to live and work in 2020.
The survey, conducted by CEOWORLD magazine on Oct 10, 2019, to Jan 2, 2020, was open to all expats over 18 who are currently living away from their home countries.
Dubai Economy issues 4,692 Instant Licences since 2017
Facility provides convenient model for businessmen who can now obtain a commercial licence within 5 minutes
The Business Registration and Licensing (BRL) sector at Dubai Economy reported that 4,692 Instant Licences were issued since the launch of the service in July 2017 to date.
Among the Instant Licences issued, 3,448 were in the commercial (73.5 per cent) and 1,244 were professional (26.5 per cent) categories.
The Instant Licence service provides a convenient model for businessmen who can now obtain a commercial licence within five minutes, enabling them to establish and conduct business in Dubai easily. The initiative is a path-breaking service whereby businesses can secure their commercial license in one-step for the first year without having a company’s lease or location.
Through the Instant Licence, Dubai Economy seeks to highlight the sustainable economic development and competitiveness of the emirate.
All business activities can benefit from the service, except public and private shareholding companies, through eServices (ded.ae/instant), the various outsourced service centres in Dubai, or the Happiness and Smart Lounges.
Holders of general trade licences can only use electronic services. All business partners or one of them must be present while applying through the outsourced service centres or the Happiness Lounge and must provide a valid passport copy of all parties (partner and manager), residence visa copy and no-objection letter from the sponsor to the foreign parties.
The Instant Licence offers the option of an electronic memorandum of Association (eMOA), in addition to obtaining the license and entry in the Dubai Economy commercial registry.
Furthermore, the licencee is given membership in the Dubai Chamber instantly, an establishment card of the General Directorate of Residency & Foreigners Affairs as well as three work permits for employees from the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation once the trade license is issued.
‘Native’ workers registration
The registration of ‘Native’ workers in the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation is done while issuing the Instant Licence. If the partners wish to appoint the employees before the issuance of the Instant Licence, they need to follow a few simple steps or else skip the screen and complete the procedures.
The number of Instant Licence owners reached 16,935 and 87.6 per cent (14,842) of them are men while women account for 12.4 per cent (2,093). The businessmen who secured Instant Licences so far include those from Britain, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, India, China, Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan and Sudan.
An Instant Licence can be obtained for four legal forms of businesses – limited liability company (LLC), single member LLC, sole proprietorship and civil company.
The Instant Licence initiative has also contributed to the sub-indicator ‘Starting a business’ in the Ease of Doing Business Index 2020 issued by the World Bank, which ranked the UAE 17th globally.
Dubai introduces instant bank account for new entrepreneurs
Dubai Economy has established a blockchain consortium in partnership with six UAE banks, whereby freelancers and entrepreneurs in Dubai will soon be able open bank account instantly.
“KYC (Know Your Customer) Blockchain Consortium” consists of Emirates NBD, Emirates Islamic, HSBC, Rakbank, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and Commercial Bank of Dubai.
Through the first KYC blockchain platform to be introduced in the UAE, authenticated and validated KYC data of companies will simultaneously be shared with financial institutions of their preference. This will expedite the opening of a bank account for newly registered companies and reduce the burdensome and costly requirements of managing KYC data for already registered companies. This is in stark contrast to the status quo, whereby multiple paper-based KYC files are redundantly originated and managed in silos.
Opening a bank account has been a major hassle for new entrepreneurs, freelancers and small businesses due to tough requirements from the banks and this platform will make life much more easier for them.
“The platform will offer a digital ‘Instant Bank Account’ functionality, allowing for faster and less cumbersome onboarding journey with banks and significantly improving the experience of new investors looking to establish themselves in the UAE. This in turn will boost customer satisfaction as well as ease of doing business in the UAE as a whole,” said Ali Ibrahim, deputy director-general of Dubai Economy.
He said this initiative will eventually become a nationwide ecosystem and invited other financial institutions and licensing authorities to join this initiative. The KYC platform will be launched in the first quarter of 2020 at which point it will open for additional qualified financial institutions and licensing authorities to join. Smart Dubai in collaboration with the UAE Central Bank will play a pivotal role in overseeing and regulating the Consortium operations.
Wesam Lootah, CEO of the Smart Dubai Government Establishment, said blockchain has tremendous potential to streamline services and operations, saving time, money, and resources for everyone involved – individuals, companies, or governments.
The consortium has partnered with global blockchain KYC firm norbloc as the technology provider to enable the ecosystem through its Fides KYC Platform while Dubai Pulse is the government-certified blockchain platform enabler.
Saoud Al Jassem, head of government banking at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, said, the Blockchain KYC Production Platform will allow corporate clients to experience seamless registration and account opening and enhanced KYC capabilities. “Additionally, it will ensure the UAE, in line with the Vision 2021, is a world leader in terms of the ease of doing business in the country. ADCB looks forward to working with the DED, norbloc and the consortium members to expand the Blockchain KYC Production Platform across the UAE.”
Geoff Stecyk, COO of RakBank, said they are thrilled to be a part of the nationwide initiative created by Dubai Economy called ‘Instant Bank Account’ that aims to digitize the onboarding process, making it more seamless, secure and frictionless.
“The concept of a Blockchain-based KYC platform will optimize costs by enabling financial and banking institutions to deviate from the outdated process of identification verification and take full advantage of today’s blockchain technology that has the potential to be faster, easier, safer and more efficient than the traditional verification processes,” he said.
Dubai businesses more upbeat on improving market conditions
With the Expo 2020 and a big surge in the inflow of tourists expected to revitalise commercial activity, businesses in Dubai are getting more upbeat on improving market conditions and strong prospects for international reach, Dubai Economy said.
The quarterly survey of Dubai Economy showed that the proportion of firms anticipating improvement in business situation in the first quarter of 2020 has increased to 60 per cent, from 58 per cent for the previous quarter, with the Expo 2020 and tourist arrivals expected to energise commercial activity.
In a statement, Dubai Economy said while softer demand, lower margins and less projects have had an impact in the last quarter of 2019 when 19 per cent businesses rated their performance as below par, the first quarter of 2020 is expected to bring in new purchase orders, increased volumes and more jobs.
Ali Ibrahim, deputy director-general of Dubai Economy, said the prevailing sentiment showed businesses in Dubai continue to go past challenges and make the best use of opportunities available to target new customers and markets.
“Initiatives to reinforce Dubai as a gateway and enhance ease of doing business have had a significant impact on overall economic activity in the emirate and particularly on trade and tourism,” he said.
“While the Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030 has energised the domestic manufacturing sector and diversified exports out of Dubai, local firms see an unprecedented opportunity for international exposure in the Expo 2020,” said Ibrahim.
He said exporters targeting new markets and SMEs enhancing their competitiveness are particularly significant in the context of the external orientation and innovation focus of Dubai’s economy.
Businesses in Dubai also count on the Expo to improve their credibility and relations with international companies, thus opening up opportunities for growth and exports. Exporters are slightly more optimistic than the overall business community with composite Business Confidence Index (BCI) scores of 128.8 points and 125.6 points, respectively.
The survey shows that among 70 per cent of the respondents who stated that they have expectations about Expo 2020, 56 per cent expect rise in commercial activity, 20 per cent expect improvement in business/market conditions, 14 per cent expect increase in visitor activity and seven per cent foresee increase in construction activity.
Economists and analysts argue that a host of proactive initiatives, reforms and incentive projects have been positively impacting the investment climate of Dubai, leading to enhanced consumer confidence in the economy.
Analysts see a rebound business optimism surrounding future output with corporates looking to the upcoming World Expo in 2020. They expect the overall economic momentum to be higher, spurring real GDP growth. The official economic outlook for Dubai foresees 3.2 per cent growth in 2020 and 3 per cent in 2021.
MUFG Bank economists expect Dubai to witness a rebound in economic growth this year due to a confluence of factors including, stronger corporate activity, higher real estate prices and renewed business optimism. S&P Global has predicted that Dubai’s GDP would increase at about 2.5 per cent a year until 2022 and much of the increase could come from economic activity associated with Expo 2020.
According Dubai Economy survey, projection for volumes has displayed a year-on-year (y-o-y) increase, with net balance increasing from 47 per cent for first quarter, 2019 to 53 per cent for first quarter, 2020, as businesses expected improvement in economic & business conditions and seasonal demand. “A stronger forecast for volumes has resulted in a more optimistic outlook for profits, with 62 per cent of firms expecting net profits to increase in first quarter, 2020 as compared to 54 per cent for first quarter, 2019.
Despite competitive pressure, firms are optimistic about the level of selling prices for the upcoming quarter.
Hiring intentions have improved on a quarter-on-quarter basis to meet the expected rise in demand, with net balance increasing from 14 per cent for fourth quarter, 2019 to 16 per cent for first quarter, 2020.
Manufacturing sector is more confident about its business prospects for parameters like wage levels, sales revenue, volumes, profits and hiring as compared to services and trading sectors. Within manufacturing, the metal segment is most optimistic about volumes for Q1, 2020, registering a net balance of 75 per cent, supported by expected improvement in business conditions and demand, ahead of Expo 2020. In the trading sector, food & beverages and textile segments are most optimistic about volumes for the upcoming quarter.
Within services sector, tourism & hospitality (hotels & restaurants, travel and car rentals) and transportation segments are optimistic about volumes and expect better market conditions in the upcoming quarter.