Abu Dhabi Launches Unified Economic Licence

Abu Dhabi Launches Unified Economic Licence 

The move aims to enhance ease of doing business across the Emirate.

The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED), in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Free Zones Council, launched the Unified Economic License in Abu Dhabi, spearheaded by Khalifa Economic Zones Abu Dhabi (KEZAD Group), Abu Dhabi Airports Free Zone (ADAFZ), Masdar City Free Zone, and Creative Media Authority (CMA), to bolster the Emirate’s competitiveness as a business-friendly destination for investors and entrepreneurs.

The new initiative unifies procedures for registering economic licences across the Emirate and its free zones, in a move to streamline business setup and reinforce governance and transparency. It will introduce a standardised reference number for all licences and ensure company data remains current within a newly integrated Abu Dhabi registry, simplifying data management and fostering collaboration between free zones and mainland authorities.

Investors will benefit from a seamless and faster digital setup process, reflecting Abu Dhabi's commitment to continuously improve the business ecosystem and solidify Abu Dhabi's position as a global business hub. To ensure a smooth transition, representatives from entities responsible for economic licence registration have formed a task force.

His Excellency Ahmed Jasim Al Zaabi, Chairman of ADDED and the Abu Dhabi Free Zones Council, said, “Free zones play a significant role in our economic diversification and attraction of foreign direct investments (FDIs) in key targeted sectors. Unifying the licensing process of economic establishments in the Emirate is a pivotal step, underscoring Abu Dhabi's commitment to enhancing a business ecosystem that aligns with global standards, empowers investors, entrepreneurs, and exceptional talents to capitalise on the extensive and promising opportunities offered by the Emirate's dynamic and thriving economy. This is achieved through the revision and enhancement of legislative and regulatory frameworks, and accelerated efforts in digital transformation.”

“We are working alongside our strategic partners and all other stakeholders to create the necessary framework and activate an efficient system that unifies all registration activities. We will continue to develop this partnership to meet investors’ needs and to ensure that Abu Dhabi has the best conditions for ease of establishing and doing business, while increasing its global competitiveness and achieving our strategic goals,” H.E. Al Zaabi added.

Capt Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, Managing Director and Group CEO, AD Ports Group, said, “AD Ports Group and its subsidiary KEZAD Group welcome the Abu Dhabi Free Zones Council’s initiative to unify the licensing process of economic establishments in Abu Dhabi. This collaboration exemplifies our commitment to creating a streamlined and efficient business environment that aligns with global standards. By enhancing our legislative and regulatory frameworks and accelerating our digital transformation efforts, we are empowering investors, entrepreneurs, and exceptional talents to fully leverage the extensive opportunities within our thriving economy.

“This unified system will facilitate easier business establishment and significantly boost Abu Dhabi's global competitiveness. We look forward to continuing our partnership with ADDED, ADAFZ, Masdar City Free Zone, and Creative Media Authority to achieve our shared strategic goals and ensure Abu Dhabi remains a premier destination for business and investment,” he added.

Elena Sorlini, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer at Abu Dhabi Airports, said, “At Abu Dhabi Airports Free Zone, our strategic vision is to establish Abu Dhabi as a premier global business hub catering to a diverse investor base. Central to our mission is facilitating seamless business operations, and we wholeheartedly support initiatives that aim to create a conducive business environment that attracts investors across target sectors. Our collaborative efforts to unify licensing for economic establishments will significantly streamline and enhance Abu Dhabi’s business landscape. This alignment with the emirate’s ambition fosters sustainable economic growth through increased diversification, ultimately advancing Abu Dhabi’s economic development aspirations.”

Ahmed Baghoum, the Chief Executive Officer of Masdar City, praised the initiative to consolidate the registration and licensing of economic establishments in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. He remarked, “This pivotal measure fortifies the business ecosystem within the emirate and elevates its standing on the global competitiveness stage. It is in perfect alignment with Masdar City's strategic objective to bolster and advance Abu Dhabi’s sustainable economic framework.”

Mr. Baghoum further elaborated that this initiative is integral to the continuous evolution of the capital’s economic landscape and exemplifies the strategic approach of the Masdar City Free Zone. This strategy centralises all services, simplifying the licensing and investment processes for new enterprises. It actively fosters an inviting environment for entrepreneurs and investors, enhancing the legal and regulatory framework to support business endeavors and expand opportunities for sustainable economic development in the emirate. “Masdar City remains steadfast in this mission, underscoring our unwavering commitment to realizing Abu Dhabi's economic vision”, he added.

Mohamed Dobay, Acting Director General of the Creative Media Authority, said, "We are proud of the strategic partnership with the Department of Economic Development and all economic sectors in Abu Dhabi, as the MOU and the initiative to unify and facilitate the registration procedures is a remarkable step aligns with our goal, maintaining Abu Dhabi's position as a leading global destination for creative and media companies”.

The mandate of Abu Dhabi Free Zones Council, which was established in 2021, is raising the standards for collaboration between free zones and other entities in the Emirate, developing policies and legislations as well as key performance indicators to ensure alignment with socio-economic strategies.

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