Dubai Development and Investment Authority… A Global Investment Dynamo

27 Jun 2022
Dubai Development and Investment Authority - Mohammed bin Rashid

“We were proud of our accomplishments in Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, and Dubai Knowledge Park, but our work was far from done. We could not take a moment to celebrate our accomplishments because we were working on other projects at the same time. Furthermore, our effort did not end with the completion of the projects; rather, we were setting the groundwork for these initiatives’ future development and expansion in the business sector. It was as though we sparked the match that ignited the Emirates’ economic boom.

“At night, his Highness would fantasize about exotic global tourist spots and out-of-this-world cities. And in the morning, he would direct us to transform his visions into reality”

Anyone who wants to work with his Highness must be as swift as a deer… Awakening with no idea of how far or where the journey will lead he understands that he may run non-stop until the next day. It is not an easy task to keep up with his Highness’ renewed and innovative ideas.”

Dubai Development and Investment Authority

 Mohammed bin Rashid and Mohammad Al Gergawi in a conversation

After all, this was just the beginning. We were aware that His Highness would be steering us toward new projects with long-term strategies and objectives. For His Highness, the conclusion of one endeavor merely signaled the start of another. Through these ventures, His Highness was preparing us for a wider scheme from which various cities of diverse and new economic sectors would spring up. This is what His Highness intended when he initiated the establishment of the Dubai Investment and Development Authority.” This is how the Mohammad Al Gergawi, the former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Dubai Development and Investment Authority, who experienced that phase of development in its entirety, expressed his Highness’ vision, thought, and purpose in founding the Authority.

In order to make these visions and dreams come true, the Dubai Government concentrated on luring investments that would serve as the city’s economic foundation. For this reason, new projects and initiatives were launched at the beginning of the 21st century to create a favorable environment and stable infrastructure that would attract investors as well as encourage a flow of capital that would allow the country to establish its position as a global investment hub and be able to keep up with a rapidly changing economy.

The Dubai Development and Investment Authority (DDIA), established under the directives of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in 2002, was one of Dubai’s important initiatives to make Dubai dream an astonishing reality. DDIA worked to promote the Emirate of Dubai as a global financial and commercial hub by attracting foreign investments as well as developing local investments. All of which contributed to positioning Dubai as a meeting place for the world attracting tourists, investors, thinkers and entrepreneurs.

To support all sectors, His Highness was looking to the investment sector as an avenue for growth in Dubai’s development. In order to reduce our reliance on oil and broaden our economic base, we have been working on a long-term development strategy for the country, according to His Highness. As a result of our efforts in this area, our economy has become one of the most dynamic and diverse in the region. The non-oil sector’s GDP contribution increased by more than 90 percent as a result of these efforts.

Therefore, the DDIA’s projects and initiatives have increased Dubai’s visibility on the global economic map and pumped millions of dollars of investment into the city.

The Dubai Investment and Development Authority, headed by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, under the supervision and follow-up of Al Ali, launched several projects and initiatives, the most prominent of which are:

Mohammed Bin Rashid Fund for SMEs

Since the beginning of 2000, the Dubai government has been planning and working to create an environment that encourages entrepreneurship and promotes the spirit of adventure among young people, encouraging them to launch their own projects rather than rely solely on government jobs.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Establishment for Young Business Entrepreneurs was established to serve that goal in June 2002 by a decree of His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, with a capital of fifty million dirhams. And it was the first development project of the Dubai Investment and Development.

Dubai Development and Investment Authority

At the inauguration of the foundation, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said:

“The Dubai government is ready to put all available capabilities and resources accessible for the ambitious youth, and to support and finance their projects, as we believe in the importance of their role in the prosperity and growth of the future nation”

At that time, His Highness instructed all governmental and semi-governmental departments and bodies to allocate no less than 5% of their purchases, project supplies, and services to the projects registered with the Corporation.

Through this project, His Highness intends to engage young people in the nation’s economic development. The establishment of the Fund was accompanied by the establishment of a development fund with a capital of 700 million dirhams in collaboration with the Dubai Islamic Bank to finance the projects of young citizens. A resolution was passed in 2009 to rename the initiative The Mohammed bin Rashid Establishment for Young Business Leaders.

Since its inception in 2002, the Fund has provided Emirati entrepreneurs with more than 630 million dirhams in incentives and exemptions, while the total number of Emirati entrepreneurs who have benefited from it has increased to 38,565 by the end of 2019.

Dubai Healthcare City

Dubai Development and Investment Authority In the presence of Mohammad Al Gergawi and a number of officials, Mohammed bin Rashid reviews the plans for the Dubai Healthcare City project in 2002

Twenty years ago, Dubai was not a pioneer in the medical sector, nor was it a center for major international hospitals, nor was it a center for academic complexes and research centers. However, it was an incubator for great ideas and a catalyst for achieving leadership and competition in sectors that will dominate the new economy. In 2002, Mohammad Al Gergawi, Board Chairman of DDIA, supervised the launch of “Dubai Healthcare City,” under the directions of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to transform the Emirate into a world-class healthcare center. A headquarters for the teaching of medical sciences, research and technology of life sciences, and a regional center for medical tourism, with an initial cost of $ 1.8 billion.

Dubai Development and Investment Authority

 Mohammad Al Gergawi at the Dubai Healthcare City opening of the Boston University Dental Research Center


The city is home to some of the world’s most prestigious medical and health institutions and research centers, such as Mohammed bin Rashid Academic Medical Center and Al Jalila Foundation, as well as a number of hospitals, such as Dubai Hospital, Rashid Hospital, Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital, Emirates Specialty Hospital, and Mediclinic City Hospital.

The Dubai Healthcare City project contributes to Dubai’s position as a leading medical tourism destination, as well as attracting foreign investment, which totaled $1.5 billion in 2018.


International Investment Summit

In October 2002, the authority launched the “International Investment Forum” with the intention of opening new channels to promote the region to investors around the world and to attract foreign investments to it, particularly since it was considered one of the least attractive regions for foreign investments. Over the years, the forum has attracted tens of thousands of Arab and international participants and hundreds of investors.

The forum had ambitious goals, according to Al Gergawi, who oversaw the establishment of this major investment event, in light of the economic changes that the world was witnessing


Dubai Sports City

After a series of specialized and smart cities, such as Dubai Media City, Dubai Internet City, and Knowledge Village, which bolstered Dubai’s position in the technical, commercial, and knowledge sectors, the authority announced in 2003 a massive project to boost Dubai’s position in sports. The Dubai Sports City project developed as part of the “Dubailand” project, spans 50 million square feet and includes a full range of high-level sports facilities, training academies, recreational facilities, and more.

The project, which costed more than 35 billion dirhams, was launched in partnership with several Emirati investors to help Dubailand achieve its goals of becoming a high-end family tourism destination that attracts tourists and visitors from all over the region and the world.

Dubai Development and Investment AuthorityDubai Sports City includes extensive green space for golf courses

The city’s major sports facilities are all within walking distance of the city’s main residential areas, including the Cricket Academy, the 25,000-seat cricket ground, and the Els Club Golf Course. Dubai Sports City officially hosted the 2018 Asia Cricket Cup.


International City for Humanitarian Services

Under Dubai Development and Investment Authority, Al Gergawi oversaw the launch of the International City for Humanitarian Services, which was one of Dubai’s first steps toward becoming a global humanitarian hub dedicated to helping those in need wherever they may be. It was launched in September 2003, on 3.6 million square feet. Later that year, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid directed the establishment of the International Humanitarian City, by merging Dubai Relief City and Dubai Humanitarian City, to become a headquarters that includes various international and regional bodies and institutions and non-governmental organizations that are active in humanitarian aid. As a micro-international community, it is home to more than 400 people from 61 different nationalities and 85 different organizations that represent various societies and countries with diverse cultures and ethnicities, all working together for the greater good.

Dubai Industrial City

Dubai Development and Investment Authority

Scenes of Dubai Industrial City

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum ordered the establishment of “Dubai Industrial City” in November 2004 to promote the country’s industrialization and attract investors from all over the region and the world, particularly the estimated $1 trillion in Arab investments. For this reason, Sheikh Mohammed commanded that the city be built on a vast area that is close to Jebel Ali Port, as well as key points of highway access linking Dubai and the other Emirates of the country, thereby facilitating the movement of incoming and outgoing shipments.

“The establishment of Dubai Industrial City comes in line with Dubai’s strategic plans to diversify its economy and strengthen the role of non-oil sectors such as tourism, trade, industry, and services,” AlGergawi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Dubai Development and Investment Authority and Dubai Holding, described the project’s strategic importance when it was announced in 2004.

Since its establishment in 2004, Dubai Industrial City, a subsidiary of TECOM Group, has attracted more than 8.4 billion dirhams in indirect investments. Today, the city is home to approximately 250 factories, 750 commercial partners, and over 5,000 specialists who work in an organized environment that catalyzes the growth and expansion of the UAE’s industrial sector.

Reflective Break

Who would have imagined, that amid Dubai’s hot summer, when temperatures soar to 45 degrees, and its residents would escape the country for a vacation, would become a major tourist destination for shoppers from around the world during the Dubai Shopping Festival; a dreamy idea by Sheikh Mohammed has transformed Dubai into a global tourist destination. Who could have predicted in 2003 that the concept of establishing a medical city in Dubai would generate $1.5 billion in investments in 2018? Imagination has no boundaries when it comes to ideas with a wide range of possibilities. And Sheikh Mohammed has harnessed all possibilities to transform Dubai into the world’s most desirable destination in 21st century.

Q & A:

When was Dubai Development and Investment Authority established?

In 2002

What major projects were established by Dubai Development and Investment Authority?

Mohammed Bin Rashid Fund for SMEs

Dubai Healthcare City

Dubai Sports City

International City for Humanitarian Services

Dubai Industrial City