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There is no doubt that last year was particularly difficult for many around the world. While the UAE did not escape the pandemic however, there are not only signs of a swift recovery, but growing evidence that many sectors have in fact been prospering.

The UAE itself is showing some key indicators of quick recovery:

  • UAE real estate is currently booming
  • The country leads the way on vaccination roll-out
  • The world-leading pandemic response has boosted UAE brand awareness
  • Leading on ESR / Redomiciliation

As for RAK ICC, we had incredible support from our business partners, with many of our agents in fact showing double-digit growth in their business with RAK ICC last year. Creating an environment for prosperity came down to a few key initiatives:

  • We were able to navigate the lockdowns and travel restrictions and continue to deliver a premium service.
  • Our strict compliance with the latest Economic Substance Regulations (ESR) meant we were on the right side of many compliance issues arising from the pandemic.
  • We continued to grow. New incorporations increased 6% on 2019, and we brought 34 new agents on board.

So let’s look in more detail at how the UAE has in some respects prospered over the last year or more.

1. UAE real estate is currently booming

At RAK ICC we have seen increasing investor confidence, with many buyers from around the world seeing the UAE as somewhere that is stable and safe for relocation. In fact, RAK Properties has recorded profits of 433% to Dh64.14m for Q1 this year, compared to Dh12.04m for Q1 in 2020.

It’s a buyer’s market at the moment and investors (local and overseas) are making the most of the reduced prices to buy investment properties in the UAE.

What’s more, initiatives such as the introduction of online property transfers from Dubai Land Department, the UAE Central Bank’s economic stimulus package, and favourable payment options from developers have all helped support the market further.

There have also been some key moves this year here at RAK ICC that have further boosted real estate. First, RAK ICC and RAK SME signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) designed to increase investment opportunities in Ras Al Khaimah. Second, RAK ICC and Ras Al Khaimah Municipality Department have signed an MOU which allows international investors to own properties through a RAK ICC entity. Finally, over 200 NOCs have been issued for RAK ICC companies to own real estate in Dubai following the MOU signed between RAK ICC and Dubai Land Department on July 2019.

2. The country leads the way on vaccination roll-out

The UAE’s vaccination roll-out vaccination has been described as happening at a ‘blistering pace’, ranking second in the world for doses per 100 people. Currently, over seven million COVID-19 vaccine jabs have been administered across the UAE.

More than 60% of the UAE population has now been fully vaccinated, and over 88,000 injections are being administered in every 24-hour period, totaling over 12 million doses to date.

This assertive approach further cements the UAE’s commitment to remain both the region’s commercial and tourism hub, ensuring that it remains an environment that is welcoming and safe for both holiday travel and business.

3. Brand boost from pandemic response

According to the Journal of Global Health, ‘the UAE has been efficient and effective in handling the crisis of COVID-19. It continues to pioneer in health care and serves as a leading example in the Middle East in comprehensively protecting the population and responsibly reopening the economy.’

This kind of response, which had made headlines around the world, has further enhanced the UAE’s reputation and continued to boost business confidence in the Emirate.

The UAE government acted swiftly to reduce the impact of the pandemic, allocating a flexible stimulus of AED 256bn.

The key initiatives it put in place were the following:

  • Strengthening the growth of the economy and business sector
  • Strengthening the food security strategy
  • The national disinfection programme and safe distancing rules
  • Exceptional rules and regulations
  • Humanitarian initiatives

The response served as both best practice in dealing with a unique situation, as well as demonstrating to the wider world how the UAE continues to be a country that can use its agility and forward-thinking approach to tackle the issues of the day.

4. Leading on ESR / Redomiciliation

Location. It was on everyone’s mind. Both the pandemic and the new Economic Substance Regulations (ESR) meant that many businesses were considering whether they needed to move to ensure a safer and more prosperous future.

With many jurisdictions landing on the EU’s blacklist for non-cooperation in terms of tax, the UAE became an ever-more popular site for relocation.

Within the UAE, redomiciling specifically to RAK ICC became an increasingly popular option with the prosperity of many of our agents last year a good indicator for optimism for the future. Moving to RAK ICC and RAKEZ means companies can meet the ESRs, including the required amount of physical assets, employees, and core income-generated activities (CIGAs).

But rather than supplying a single solution, we see each company as unique, so each solution will be unique. In all cases, the process is seamless and hassle-free and you can preserve your operational and banking history.

It’s also worth noting that RAK ICC is perfectly placed when it comes to meeting UBO regulations. We understand the distinction between disclosures which are necessary and losing your privacy. While many jurisdictions are now implementing public company registries due to these regulations, RAK ICC remains committed to keeping your information confidential.

Moving forward

COVID-19 has had a huge global impact, and it’s important not to downplay the suffering many have had to deal with on both a personal and business level. However, there are not only signs for optimism for the future, but evidence that many businesses did surprisingly well in 2020.

Thanks to the UAE government’s swift response to the pandemic, the country looks set to build on its accomplishments into the future and continue to offer the best business environment for your company.