Ras al Khaimah (RAK) is one of the seven emirates that comprise the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Despite lacking the high-profile name association that belongs to emirates like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Ras al Khaimah has been experiencing exponential growth under the leadership of HH Saud bin Saqr al Qasimi. Sheikh Saud has been focusing on propping up the tourism and business sectors to boost the local economy. With so much optimism surrounding the future development of the region for businesses in these sectors, there is plenty to learn. Let’s take a moment to look behind the curtain to learn why Ras al Khaimah is one of the most exciting areas for developing business to turn to in 2020.
Ras al Khaimah is located barely an hour away from the rich emirate of Dubai. Yet for all of their close proximity, the two areas couldn’t be further temperament from one another. Ras al Khaimah is as luxurious as you’d expect a visit to Dubai to be, but the emirate itself also has the luxury of being a calm, relaxing, and gentle place to visit bereft of the traditional glitz and glam intrinsic to Dubai. As a result, RAK exists in a beautiful place where prosperity is present without the downsides intrinsic to the tourism sector.
The reason that RAK exists in such a special place is that the emirate has never had the luxury of relying on oil. RAK has been forced for generations to change its economy to embrace industry trends. Unlike the other emirates in the UAE, RAK has benefited from having to diversify their business propositions to bring more activity to the region. As a result, RAK is poised for a huge year of explosive growth in the business world and entrepreneurs are starting to take notice.
According to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), RAK is one of the most diverse countries in the region from an economic standpoint. According to a study put together by the GCC, there is no single element within RAK’s economy that comprises more than 20% of their GDP. Diversification is a huge benefit for not only RAK but outsiders looking to embrace the region to bring their own business to the area. Thanks to the legislative efforts of Sheikh Saud, RAK is experiencing explosive growth in its primary industries: tourism, construction components, financial services, fishing, and finally manufacturing. Understanding the major industries that are flourishing in RAK is one thing, but understanding why they are flourishing is another one entirely.
Why are companies flocking to Ras al Khaimah in 2020? Primarily, Sheikh Saud and the RAK government has made it so that the barrier for entry into the emirate is relatively low. The RAK Economic Zone (RAKEZ) in particular is helping to support this idea. The RAK Economic Zone hosts more than 15,000 companies from countries throughout the world. Businesses who set up shop in the RAKEZ benefit from quick and easy business establishing processes, complete foreign ownership benefits, easy market access to Europe and Asia, and a cooperative government. As a result of these business-friendly policies, which certainly don’t exist everywhere in the M.E., RAK has become a hotspot for start-ups and innovative tech companies.
Ras al Khaimah has also made the World Bank’s report for 2019 thanks to their business-friendly policies. According to the report by the World Bank, Ras al Khaimah has put forth a concentrated effort to make it easy to start a business, acquire permits, enforce contracts, and register properties. For the stat-friendly readers out there, Ras al Khaimah has seen their EODB score jump from 84.51 to 86.12 over the last year. An EODB score is a mathematical equation that determines the Ease of Doing Business in a specific country. For those unfamiliar with this standard of scoring, the EODB score for Ras al Khaimah in 2019 would put them in the top 30 destinations around the planet for establishing a business. Ras Al Khaimah outscored all of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Business-savvy entrepreneurs looking to embrace international trends would do well to turn their eyes to the growth of Ras Al Khaimah. With such explosive growth over the last two years, what is to come in the near future?