One of the most important things for business in Africa is finding a base of operations which offer low operating costs, ease of links to their home country, and importantly and investor friendly environment. One location which ticks all three boxes is the Ras Al Khaimah. This is largely due to the work of the emirate’s pro-western leadership which has worked tirelessly to the transform the city-state.
Since ascending to the throne of Ras Al Khaimah, His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al-Qasimi has worked tirelessly to continue the policies of his father. Many of these policies have transformed the once sleepy emirate into a fast growing, yet still comfortable, place to do business.
A reason for this transformation have been the generosity, moderation, and diplomacy of the emirate’s leadership. The result has been the creation of an environment where east can meet west. This is a big plus for traders and businessmen from Africa as it means they have a low-cost, yet well-connected location to use as their base of operations in the Gulf Coast Region.
The benefits of these policies have been the inauguration of a Free Trade Zone as well as improved healthcare and educational facilities. There is a reason for these embrace of free trade in Ras Al Khaimah. The emirate is not oil rich. It has had to leverage the creativity of its people and its location to gain a competitive advantage.
This also opens the door for businessmen looking to do business in Africa. After all, it close proximity the Straits of Hormuz and air links make it a prime location for logistics companies. Why would you want to use the more expensive Dubai or Abu Dhabi as a base? As Ras Al Khaimah offer the same advantages for a fraction of the cost?
It’s not just trade. According to World Education New and Review, the emirate is home to several foreign education institutions. One of these is the Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL-ME). The institute has operated a graduate research center in the city since 2009.
This means that students and executives have access to world-class educational institutions right on their doorstep. Ultimately, this helps to raise the capabilities of African leaders at a time when they are increasingly seeking to make their mark on global markets.
Another benefit of the benevolence of Ras Al Khaimah’s leaders is stability. Leaders understand they need to give their people an opportunity to build a better life. In turn, this has helped to counter the dark tide of violence and radicalization which has embroiled the region. This is a major plus as it helped to reduce the uncertainty which adds risk, and cost, to international trade.
To be successful in Africa, one needs to have a strong conduit to the international stage. For many Ras Al Khaimah is the answer. It ticks all of the previously mentioned boxes and with stable leadership this is a trend that is set to continue.
So if you are looking for an investment location in the Gulf Coast Region then you should consider Ras Al Khaimah. Foreign investors in the Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone (RAK FTZ) enjoy full ownership, zero taxation, and full repatriation of profits. With tax rates in most African countries are high, this offers the opportunity businesses to implement effective tax optimization strategies.
The quality of life is another benefit of Ras Al Khaimah. According to the New York Times, the emirate offers access to world-class hospitals and hotels. The emirate hosts a cosmopolitan mix of expatriates. As such, it is a meeting place for business-minded expatriates who are seeking the quiet life.
In the end, it is the pro-western leadership of Ras Al Khaimah which is the difference maker. While it does not have the oil riches of other countries in the area. Free trade, low taxes, world-class health care, and education, as well as its strategic location, have made the emirate an ideal location for businessmen seeking to facilitate trade into or out of Africa. So if you are looking for the ideal location, check out Ras Al Khaimah. It might not be the largest or most well-known emirate, but its competitive advantages are becoming to ignore.