As part of its Abu Dhabi Local Content Programme, the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) has reported that government tenders have reached a combined value of AED44 billion for companies holding In-Country Value certificates in 2023. The government tenders are part of the nation’s economic growth and supporting the Abu Dhabi Industrial Strategy.

In the UAE, companies that contribute value to the national economy are awarded In-Country Value (ICV) certificates by the UAE Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology. The Abu Dhabi Local Content Programme, an initiative supporting ADIS goals, was designed to contribute to the growth of Abu Dhabi’s non-oil GDP, strengthen the drive towards a knowledge economy, enhance technology adoption, increase Emiratisation rates and reward ICV certificate-holding companies as part of its strategy to actively prioritise local production and supply chains.

In 2023, the Abu Dhabi Local Content Programme awarded over 3,500 government tenders with a combined value of AED44.17 billion to companies holding ICV certificates, compared to 707 tenders awarded in 2022 with a total value of AED2.5 billion. Tenders with local content value represented 51.6 per cent of total tenders awarded by the Abu Dhabi Local Content Programme to ICV certificate-holding companies in 2023, compared to 41.2 per cent in 2022. The 2023 tenders successfully channelled AED22.81 billion back into the local economy, bolstering the support for locally manufactured goods, advancing Emiratisation, and promoting economic diversification.

The performance of the programme reflects the success of Abu Dhabi Industrial Strategy in strengthening the emirate’s position as the region’s most competitive industrial hub.

His Excellency Ahmed Jasim Al Zaabi, Chairman of ADDED, said: “The industrial sector plays a pivotal role in driving forward our next phase of development, aiming to accelerate growth while placing skills development and sustainability at the top of our strategic priorities. The strong performance of the industrial sector in 2023 underscores the remarkable success of the Abu Dhabi Industrial Strategy (ADIS) in catalysing the vibrant expansion of the emirate's manufacturing sector.

“Since its launch in June 2022, ADIS has boosted Abu Dhabi’s industrial sector by increasing access to financing, enhancing the ease of doing business in the emirate, and attracting domestic and foreign direct investment (DDIs and FDIs). The transformational programmes of the strategy provide ample opportunities for talent, businesses, and investors who share our ambition to employ innovative methods and techniques associated with Industry 4.0, circular economy, and sustainability to shape Abu Dhabi’s manufacturing sector. This is part of our multi-polar strategy to foster economic growth through impactful initiatives that prioritise innovation, attract investments, and support the success of key sectors, including growth of the industrial sector.”

In addition to amplifying ICV-holding companies, the Abu Dhabi Local Content Programme also expanded its Golden List, a catalogue of products registered in the programme to increase demand for local products through government procurements. In 2023, the programme registered a total of 742 products on the Golden List, up 4.4 per cent from 711 in 2022. The number of entities registered increased by 29.1 per cent from 127 in 2022 to 164 in 2023.

The Industrial Development Bureau (IDB), ADDED’s arm to develop and regulate the emirate’s industrial sector, has also been active in launching other initiatives to achieve Abu Dhabi’s Industrial Strategy. In 2023, it registered an increase in the total number of highly skilled jobs to 16,810. The number, which was 13.6 per cent higher compared to 14,800 jobs by end of last year, reflects ongoing efforts to accelerate transformation to smart manufacturing while attracting highly skilled talent.

The number of new industrial licenses in Abu Dhabi rose 51.25 per cent, from 240 licences in 2022 to 363 licenses in 2023, representing a total investment of AED10.76 billion. The number of active factories in the emirate, on the other hand, reached 1,103 in 2023, up 11.75 per cent from 987 in 2022. The total capital investment of active factories reached AED373.79 billion, underscoring growth and heightened economic activity.

Manufacturers also signalled greater willingness to support sustainability efforts in the emirate, with the number of companies participating in the Sustainability Programme, which focuses on building sustainability practice and culture and encourages manufacturers to adopt industrial sustainability guideline (ISG) in 2023 rising 36.4 per cent to 75 companies.

IDB has also launched several initiatives to attract global players to Abu Dhabi and signed over 18 MoUs and agreements to attract FDI to the emirate. These agreements are expected to bring estimated investments of AED8 billion, as well as support the transfer of knowledge, technology, and expertise to further boost the emirate’s industrial sector and its role in accelerating economic diversification.