Joe Hepworth – 12 Nov, 2020 General

The UAE’s announcement, on 8th November 2020, of a raft of major changes to laws pertaining to social affairs is a major and positive development for the country’s economic standing.

Of course, businesses, potential investors and trading partners will always look at the rules governing trade, commercial contracts and FDI and at the business conditions and projections that concern their industry, but in recent years other non-economic factors such as ESG have come increasingly to the fore as a major consideration in the corporate world.

And it’s not just the big multi-nationals.  The new era of ‘born global’ SMEs who are tech-enabled & unconstrained by geography can and do take their businesses anywhere and it’s often lifestyle drivers that are the biggest factor in this regard.

Whilst the easy headlines from the UAE are around the decriminalization of alcohol possession and consumption and a similar relaxation of the laws on cohabiting, non-married couples, changes to the rules concerning inheritance & divorce (effectively having such issues come under the jurisdiction of the expatriate’s home country) are likely to have a greater beneficial impact on attracting young entrepreneurs and businesses.

Today’s founders, owners and managers will move their business interests to countries where they feel the norms of society meet and mirror their own, so the UAE’s progressive moves this week will undoubtedly be positive in attracting the next generation of mobile and high-growth foreign companies.