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Dubai to nurture startups with Indian talent

Hadi Badri, the chief executive of economic development at Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, said in an interview that Dubai is looking to attract tech talent from India to foster a startup ecosystem to double its gross domestic product (GDP) by 2033.

According to the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), he said India and the UAE, of which Dubai is a part, intend to expand non-oil trade to $100 billion by 2030 from just $50.5 billion in April.

He added that Dubai is in talks with Indian manufacturers interested in having the emirate as a distribution hub.

“The ties have come on the back of the CEPA agreement that allows acceleration of 30%-plus trade growth.”

Indian companies and non-resident Indian-owned entities generate around one million jobs in the UAE, according to Dubai Chambers. “And this is something that we can build on. The UAE’s acceptance into the BRICS economic bloc is also, I think, another stepping stone that will allow even more to be done between the UAE and India,” Badri said.

Businesses in Dubai are more interested in making new investments in the economy. “One of the key areas that they’re looking to strengthen teams is around digital talent, people who understand computer science, data scientists and so on. As tech entrepreneurs, they are contributing to the ecosystem in Dubai. It has gathered some good momentum.” 

Over 83,000 companies of Indian-origin companies are registered with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, accounting for 25% of the chamber’s total membership, he said.

“I met the Lenskart co-founder as it is already in Dubai; I think they came in two-three years ago, and are using Dubai as a platform to expand in the region. And this is the formula that we see a lot of businesses take.”

According to Badri, having over 30 free zones, a favourable tax environment, streamlined business procedures, top-notch logistics infrastructure, and Dubai’s strategic proximity to India make it possible to reach a $100 billion non-oil trade volume with India. Dubai also allows 100% foreign ownership in most of its economic sectors.

“I think, discussions with the chambers were very positive. They also have the appetite to increase this connectivity between India and the UAE. So, we expect some kind of potential partnerships and collaborations to come out of this. When you meet the chambers and businesses, it is always the case that the business-minded people in India have appreciated the way, or always liked the way, emirates like Dubai have treated them,” Badri said.

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