UAE eases limits on foreign ownership to attract investors

The latest legal reforms come as the UAE has spent billions of dollars preparing to host some 25 million visitors for the World Expo, which was pushed back to 2021 because of the pandemic. (AFP)
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Updated 24 November 2020

UAE eases limits on foreign ownership to attract investors

  • Earlier this month, the UAE also announced a series of reforms to its Islamic legal code
  • The reforms allow foreign entrepreneurs and investors to set up their own companies without involving local shareholders

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates has relaxed and removed a range of limits on foreign ownership of companies, state-run media reported Monday, in the country’s latest bid to boost its global status and attract foreign investors.
Earlier this month, the UAE announced a series of reforms to its Islamic legal code, allowing unmarried couples to cohabitate, improving protections for women and loosening restrictions on alcohol consumption.
The dramatic changes come as the UAE has spent billions of dollars preparing to host some 25 million visitors for the World Expo, which was pushed back to 2021 because of the pandemic.
The UAE also expects Israelis to join the legions of foreigners who have opened up businesses and bought apartments in the coastal cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi following a breakthrough US-brokered normalization deal between the countries.
Dubai in particular, which was teetering on the brink of an economic downturn before the pandemic thanks to a weak real estate market, is eager for the influx of capital and travelers. COVID-19 has battered its economy, which draws largely from the tourism, hospitality and aviation industries.
The presidential decree that alters the corporate law helps the UAE “strengthen its leading position regionally and globally as an attractive destination for projects and companies,” state-run WAM news agency reported.
The reforms allow foreign entrepreneurs and investors to set up their own companies without involving local shareholders, the agency said.
That’s a welcome development for the country’s many expatriates who long had their ownership capped at 49 percent in firms outside free zones.
Other legal amendments remove quotas requiring that Emiratis hold the majority of board positions and serve as chairs for onshore companies. Companies that want to be publicly traded will be able to sell up to 70 percent of their shares instead of the current 30 percent limit.
The amendments will certainly diminish the appeal of 45 “free” zones across the UAE, where those wanting to avoid local-hiring quotas and retain full foreign ownership would set up shop.


Egypt receives 1.4 million tourists in second half of 2020

Updated 23 January 2021

Egypt receives 1.4 million tourists in second half of 2020

  • Al-Anani said that 756 hotels and 1,039 tourist restaurants have obtained health and safety certificates since the start of the pandemic
  • Charges for trips to Luxor, Aswan, Sharm El Sheikh, Taba and Hurghada were reduced and ticket prices for all archaeological sites and museums were halved

CAIRO: As of December, Egypt received 1.4 million tourists since the resumption of the tourism activities at the beginning of July, bringing the total number of tourists during 2020 to 3.7 million.
Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled Al-Anani revealed this during a meeting with the Egyptian Prime Minister, Mostafa Madbouly, to review the ministry’s plans to combat the coronavirus.
He said that 756 hotels and 1,039 tourist restaurants have obtained health and safety certificates since the start of the pandemic.
The minister also reviewed the domestic tourism initiative Winter in Egypt and the discounted prices in this initiative.
Charges for trips to Luxor, Aswan, Sharm El Sheikh, Taba and Hurghada were reduced and ticket prices for all archaeological sites and museums were halved.
The minister also reviewed the follow-up on the Cabinet’s decisions to support the tourism sector.
The minister discussed the support offered to the tourism sector, including the procedures to obtain credit facilities and to extend support though the Ministry of Social Solidarity to tourist guides until the end of December 2020.
On Friday, the Egyptian government cut the price of fuel for the aviation sector to support the tourism sector and stimulate aviation in Egypt. According to a statement, the reduction of 15 cents per gallon will continue until the end of this year.
Tourism revenues in Egypt have fallen by more than 69 percent over the past year, from $13.03 billion in 2019 to $4 billion in 2020, Al-Anani said.