The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) is pleased to unveil its Abu Dhabi Business Center’s ‘Business Activity Report’ for the year 2021. The emirate saw 25,427 new licenses issued, up 21.5% from the 2020 figure of 20,925, while renewed economic licenses increased to 83,484, up 15.8% from 72,070 in 2020, a clear indication of continued post-pandemic recovery, growth, and development.

H.E. Rashed Abdulkarim Al Blooshi, Undersecretary of ADDED, said “As a result of the Emirate’s pre-emptive approach towards tackling the effects of the pandemic whilst prudently driving the macro-economy forward, Abu Dhabi was able to forge ahead successfully with its growth and diversification roadmap. The economic landscape in Abu Dhabi has been crafted to offer businesses and entrepreneurs a compelling proposition, something made possible by our evolved and digitalised infrastructure”.

 H.E. further explains, “Initiatives such as the Investor Journey programme which was responsible for driving a 71% reduction in business set-up requirements in coordination with 26 local and federal government entities, and the lowering of ADDED setup and renewal fees by 90%, have facilitated ease of doing business for investors and entrepreneurs. We also pride ourselves with the integrated public-private business partner eco-system which we managed to create to allow businesses to benefit from and thrive”.

According to the Business Activity Report, of the 25,427 economic licenses issued, Commercial sector licenses made up 24,077, up 21.4% from 19,839 in 2020, with Professional sector licenses making up 711, were up 35.7% from 524 licenses in 2020. Agricultural, Livestock and Fishery sector licenses settled in at 64 in 2021 compared to 70 in 2020. Tourism sector licenses grew to 126 in 2021 from 89 in 2020 an increase of 41.4%, while Industrial sector licenses grew to 206 from 180 licenses, a 14.4% growth on 2020. Occupational sector licenses rose 9% from 223 in 2020 to 243 licenses in 2021. ‘Tajer Abu Dhabi’ new licenses issued in 2021 reached 7,106 compared to 7,087 in 2020, while the number of instant licenses issued came in at 2,653 for 2021, compared to 2,159 in 2020.

New licenses for Foreign Investors grew from only 6 in 2020 to 273 in 2021; Freelance licenses issued in 2021 increased to 1,749 from 279 in 2020, with Virtual licenses that were launched in Q4-2021 for non-resident foreign investors came in at 11 licenses.

H.E. Mohammed Munif Al Mansouri, Executive Director of the Abu Dhabi Business Centre, said, “We are witnessing the gradual and calculated growth of businesses across all sectors and industries, and this is testament to the efforts made towards taking Abu Dhabi’s economy through to the next level of its evolution. For ADDED during 2021, delivering an ‘ease-of-doing-business’ environment for business owners was the critical objective and milestone, and we’ll continue to build on and safeguard this environment and ecosystem to further benefit the aspiring local and international investor”.