Dubai DFI engages OCO Global to drive UK investment into UAE

04 June 2018 3 min. read

Belfast-based investment consulting firm OCO Global has signed an MOU with the Dubai Investment Development Authority to encourage UK business investment in the UAE. With Middle Eastern countries eager to diversify away from oil, and UK businesses looking for markets outside Europe in the event of an unfavourable Brexit settlement, the deal has good potential to be fruitful.

Uncertain about the trade-related fallout of Britain’s exit from the European Economic Area, many British businesses are scanning for new markets – including the Middle East. Consulting partners will be a key ingredient for businesses looking for strategic help in venturing outside of Europe, while international governments will also turn to the consulting industry in order to boost the flow of investment into their countries.

Once such firm, specialising in economic development and investment, is OCO global. Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Belfast, the consulting firm has over 60 professionals across offices in London, Paris, New York, Tokyo, Bogota, and Dubai. OCO Global provides services including lead generation, marketing, and market entry, and has supported organisations like Invest Hong Kong, Invest in France, and Enterprise Florida.

Now, OCO has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Dubai Investment Development Authority (Dubai FDI) to encourage UK business investment in the United Arab Emirates. Due to a decline in oil prices in the middle of the decade, the oil-centred economy of the UAE has suffered. Many parts of the economy have been hit, with, for example, real estate prices taking a 10% dive. Seeking to distance themselves from the peril of basing their entire economy on the price of a barrel of oil, the UAE is looking to diversify their economy – with foreign investment into other areas being a particular goal.Dubai DFI engages OCO Global to drive UK investment into UAEThe MoU between OCO and Dubai FDI covers sectors including financial services, education, entertainment, hospitality, technology and healthcare. The agreement expands the work that OCO’s sister company the British Centres for Business (BCB) has performed in partnership with Dubai FDI for the past four years. The BCB has been helping run a unique ‘soft landing’ incubator program in Dubai to attract UK business investment, and has already supported 31 UK firms using the incubator.

“I’m delighted to finalise this with Dubai FDI which builds on the great cooperation we already have through the BCB since 2014,” commented Joe Hepworth, OCO Director Middle East. “With our global reach and work promoting trade and investment around the world, we look forward to bringing our international channels and networks to bear to support Dubai FDI’s vision of attracting the very best companies into the UAE.”

Dubai FDI Deputy CEO Khalid Al Boom added; “This is a step closer towards the realisation of our vision of positioning Dubai on a global stage as a business opportunity for new initiatives and an essential base for successful business. It will pave the way for stronger collaboration between all parties involved with an end goal of facilitating smooth investments by UK companies in the emirate.”

Currently, 138 of the Fortune 500 companies have their MENA headquarters in Dubai – a 93% share amongst its regional peers. As such, the city is already well-established as a regional hub and as a prime gateway to South Asia, Central Asia, and the Far East.