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RAK


Julfar Towers


RAS AL KHAIMAH RUSH D


espite ongoing political unrest in the region, Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) today boasts economic growth and appears to have recovered well


from the global financial crisis. Tanks to extensive economic diversification plans implemented by the government, the UAE’s fourth largest emirate is becoming increasingly attractive as a business and leisure destination on a global scale. Foreign direct investments in the emirate are increasing and the real estate and tourism sector are booming.


An optimistic future In a recent report, reaffirming the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah’s credit rating at ‘A’ with stable outlook,


global ratings agency Fitch Ratings


also indicated that RAK shows an excellent ability to meet all of its most significant financial obligations in a timely manner and continues to make steady progress reducing an already modest debt burden. “Debt is edging down closer to 20% of GDP and the economy has


recovered well from the global and regional crisis, showing an impressive ability to diversify markets and attract foreign investment,” said Richard


Big projects backed up by a strong economy lure investors to the Northern Emirate


Fox, Head of Middle East and Africa Sovereign Ratings at Fitch. His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, ruler of RAK, is optimistic about the emirate’s future. “Te growth in GDP for RAK was eight per cent last year, and I hope we’ll


have the same figure this year, if not better. We have also seen a growth in business registration by more than 25 per cent. Tis is an indicator of growth, and I think this figure will stay the same in 2012,” he told Arabian Business. RAK has been adroit in finding new markets and the government is looking at diversifying the emirate’s business environment by boosting investments in tourism, real estate, industry, as well as trade and commerce sectors.


2011 has been particularly strong for RAK’s tourism market. “A swathe


of new hotels enjoy solid occupancy levels, with tourist arrivals up 40 per cent in 2011 and forecast to exceed one million this year, a fivefold increase since 2007,” Fitch reports. RAK has also recently signed a deal with world-famous Real Madrid football club to build a $1 billion resort complex,


24 I CITYSCAPE I MAY 2012


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