Over the past few years, Ras Al Khaimah has blossomed into a full-service destination for tourists, entrepreneurs, investors and retirees. Under Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, the emirate’s hospitality and healthcare industries have forged high-profile partnerships that promise to turn RAK into a world-class destination for medical tourism. At the same time, His Highness has spearheaded a massive expansion of his emirate’s manufacturing industry.Thanks to his foresight, RAK now exports millions of dollars’ worth of finished goods to clients in the UAE and beyond.
Ras Al Khaimah: The Middle East’s Craft Workshop
Unlike many neighboring states, RAK has a diversified manufacturing economy that produces a wide range of finished goods for export and domestic consumption. From customized ceramic urns to decorative and high-tech glass products, the emirate’s skilled craftspeople have contributed to an export-focused renaissance that continues to gather steam.
Much of the growth has been driven by foreign companies that appreciate RAK’s low living costs, fair wages and business-friendly tax policies. In 2012, well-regarded French glass firm Saverglass committed to investing nearly $100 million in a new facility that’s capable of producing at least 150 million glass bottles per year. As the hub of the company’s Middle East operations, the Saverglass facility will employ hundreds of local workers and contribute millions of dollars to the country’s economic output. Likewise, tableware manufacturer Arc Industries recently doubled the production capacity at its flagship RAK facility.
Making the Building Blocks of Economic Success
Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi has also expanded RAK’s capacity to produce important building materials like structural steel and cement. Thanks to exploding export demand from fast-growing economies in Asia and the Middle East, RAK Cement Company has rocketed past many of its regional competitors to become one of the Arabian Peninsula’s premier building-materials companies. Despite soft economic conditions in key European and North American markets, the company nearly tripled its export sales figures in 2012 and looks likely to post similarly eye-popping growth figures in the years to come.
Health, Wellness and Open Borders
The success of RAK’s medical tourism industry has been well-documented. Thanks to His Highness’s patronage, RAK Hospital and other local medical centers attract patients from around the world, from Tokyo to Minnesota. At the same time, the emirate’s pharmaceutical industry has drawn the attention of global investors who see its potential. As the region’s largest pharmaceutical firm, RAK-based Gulf Pharmaceuticals exports its products to over three dozen countries and continues to grow its year-on-year sales. Meanwhile, the newer Dabur International has carved out a niche in the booming personal-care industry. With such well-run, well-capitalized companies leading the charge, RAK’s export-focused pharmaceutical industry looks certain to drive the emirate’s economic growth and raise its international profile even further.
Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi Champions Free Trade Across RAK
The emirate’s success wouldn’t be possible without business-friendly policies that reward entrepreneurship and encourage long-term investment. Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi has leveraged his nuanced understanding of the relationship between low taxes, limited trade barriers and flexible labor markets into a fruitful partnership between RAK’s public-sector leaders and the international business community. The RAK Investment Authority has created thousands of high-paying jobs by pumping millions of dollars into worthy construction and expansion projects throughout the emirate. Meanwhile, the Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone’s innovative approach to business growth and retention has led to its recognition as FDI Intelligence’s top free-trade zone for digital marketing growth. The zone is also recognized as the most efficient and sustainable in the entire UAE.
RAK: Open for Business
Thanks to his firm guidance and balanced philosophy, His Highness has succeeded in retooling RAK’s economy for the 21st century. With robust free-trade zones, business-friendly policies, and a diverse roster of high-tech and artisan-rich manufacturing firms, the emirate is poised to welcome new investment and trade relationships in the coming years. Simply put, RAK’s manufacturing sector is open for business.
About Saud bin Saqr al Qasimi
Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al Qasimi is the Ruler of Ras al Khaimah. He enjoys international travel including the United States where he recently visited to see his daughter, Amna bint Saud bin Saqr al-Qassimi graduate from Stanford University with an MBA.