• Trade license applications grew 5 per cent in Sharjah in quarter 1 of 2015
  • Total output is now at AED45bn ($12bn)
  • Continued growth mean infrastructure will have to be upgraded

The first quarter of 2015 saw a five per cent increase in the number of trade licences applied for in Sharjah, attendees were told at Sharjah Investment and Development Authority’s (Shurooq’s) CEO Clubs Business Roundtable on 1 June.

“The total output, or sales, has reached AED45bn ($12bn),” said Abdel Aziz Mohammed Shattaf, head of economic promotion at Sharjah Chamber of Commerce & Industry.  “There are more than 2,000 factories in Sharjah concentrated on foods and beverages, plastics, and construction materials.”

Their biggest export market is the GCC, led by Saudi Arabia with AED14bn in exports. Oman and Kuwait are also high on the list with AED4bn and AED2bn respectively. Europe also imports AED2bn-worth of goods from Sharjah, which meet their stringent quality standards.

“In the GCC, it’s easy for products made in the UAE,” said Shattaf. “And African markets have been increasing over the last few years.”

Food and beverages, and construction materials are the most exported goods.

Sharjah is also looking to future growth. The expansion of Sharjah Airport International Free Zone, which currently hosts 7,500 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), should be complete by the end of 2016.

But Sharjah will also need to upgrade its infrastructure to keep attracting businesses.

“As Sharjah grows, demand on infrastructure, community services and the business environment grow with it,” says Marwan bin Jasim Al-Sarkal, CEO of Shurooq. “We need to invest and plan.”

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