Among the seven Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, the UAE is the biggest investor in Pakistan. From 2004 to 2017, its public and private sector investments totaled more than $6 billion. Several key companies such as Emirates National Oil Company, International Petroleum Investment Company, Etisalat, Al Ghurair, Abraaj Capital, Dana Gas, Emirates Investment Group, Emaar, DP World, Julfar, Arabian Packaging Company and others have invested in Pakistan.
Vast UAE foreign direct investment and joint ventures have been operating successfully in Pakistan for years. A large number of high-dividend FDI investment and joint venture opportunities exist in Pakistan. These include sectors such as infrastructure development and expansion, power generation and distribution networks, water resource development and desalination, farm-based industries, fresh fruit production for export and export in packaged form to destinations such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Some of the noticeable investments of UAE in Pakistan are:
Pak-Arab Refinery Company Limited (PARCO), an integrated energy company, is a joint venture between Pakistan and the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. PARCO owns and operates over 2,000 kms of pipeline network. It is Pakistan’s most modern refinery with marketing and distribution operations and joint ventures with renowned international companies.
With investment in Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL), UAE’s Etisalat brings its international experience and technology to Pakistan. Both have strong bond creating a momentum for future prosperity and building a digital and connected Pakistan. Being the largest ICT service provider in Pakistan, PTCL has been serving the nation since 1947 as Pakistan’s telecommunication backbone and is present in more than 2,000 cities and towns. It provides cutting-edge technology and powerful array of telecom services, including Voice Telephony, Fixed & Wireless Broadband, Over-the-top Applications, Digital Television, Carrier & Wholesale, Satellite Services and Data Centers, serve the connectivity needs of millions of consumers and businesses nationwide. It is a member of four international submarine cable consortiums, i.e. AAE-1, SMW-3, SMW-4 and IMEWE, and handles majority of the internet traffic coming in and going out of Pakistan.
Qasim International Container Terminal (QICT) commenced operations in August 1997 and has the distinction of being the first state-of-the-art modern container terminal in Pakistan. It is the only terminal in Pakistan wherein the customer has the option to clear his container from either DP World Karachi or clear the same from off dock container terminal ‘NLCCT’ located in the heart of the city. This is one of the main strategies that have boosted the throughput to over a million tons in 2015.
Dubai Islamic Bank
UAE-based Dubai Islamic Bank is one of the few Islamic banks in Pakistan that is offering a variety of products to cater to the needs of banked segment as well as the marginalized population of our society since 2006. Dubai Islamic Bank Pakistan Limited (DIBPL) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dubai Islamic Bank UAE, the world’s first Islamic bank.
U Micro Finance Bank
U Microfinance Bank Limited (U Bank) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) — Etisalat Company. The bank has a network of 90 touch points, across 85 cities and rural areas in Pakistan and offers a wide range of microfinance loans, deposit products and branchless banking solutions. U Bank’s branchless banking offers services under the banner of UPaisa in collaboration with Ufone (Pak Telecom Mobile Limited).
Bank Al Falah Limited
Bank Alfalah Limited is the fifth largest private bank in Pakistan with a network of over 600 branches in more than 200 cities. The Bank has an international presence in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bahrain and a representative office in the UAE. The Bank is owned and operated by the Abu Dhabi Group. The International Finance Corporation of the World Bank partnered with the Bank in 2014, and holds a 15% stake in Bank Alfalah.
Real estate market is crucial for promoting commerce and industry, growth and employment, and poverty reduction. The liberalization of the Pakistani economy has increased business opportunities and migration of the labor force to urban localities has led to an increase in the demand for both commercial and housing space. In this connection, the name of UAE based Emaar is worthy of mention.
Shaikhani Group of Companies
The Shaikhani Group, previously known as The Memon Group of Companies, is a multi-billion dollar international business conglomerate with diversified interests in real estate development, trading, manufacturing, and IT. Headquartered in Dubai, the Groupis spread across 90 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. Armed with an experience of over 30 years in real estate development, having delivered over 30,000 units across the world since it first began its operations in 1978, the Group has so far invested over AED 1.5 billion in freehold property development projects in the UAE since 2008. The Memon Group of Companies was launched in the Gulf in 1993 and has since been remodeling the UAE property development sector by delivering quality projects and services to its customers.
[box type=”note” align=”” class=”” width=””]The writer is a Karachi based freelance columnist and is a banker by profession. He could be reached on Twitter @ReluctantAhsan[/box]