Preparations are underway for the ninth Annual Investment Meeting (AIM), the premier event in foreign direct investment in the Middle East and North Africa.

The event will take place on April 8 – 10 in Dubai, under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai.

This year’s event will be themed Mapping the Future of FDI: Enriching World Economies through Digital Globalization, and is poised to address the global challenge in the flow of foreign direct investment, which has faced a decline of 15 percent following increased protectionist policies being adopted by several countries.

This has in turn greatly impacted the economic outlook of developing countries. However, many are optimistic with new investment interest in disruptive technologies which have gained traction in the recent years and are considered to change the nature of global industries in the coming decades.

AIM 2019 aims to rethink and identify strategies to direct the flow of FDIs to nation-states whose investment outlooks are aligned with disruptive technological advances or smart city solutions such as Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Big Data, Blockchain, and more. AIM 2019 will bring together prominent political, economic, financial, and academic figures to map out how to attract FDIs through strategic partnership, knowledge sharing, networking, exchange of experiences, and exploring business opportunities on a global scale.

UAE Minister of Economy, H.E. Eng. Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, stated that while there is a current shift in investment policies and structure, the trend also offers great new opportunities and challenges for the regulators.

“We have seen how technology has rapidly advanced over the years creating an efficient digital economy which is not just limited to the technology sector, but has penetrated across every sector, evolving to what we now validly recognize as digital evolution,” the minister said.

Despite the premise of declining global FDIs in the recent years, AIM 2019 remains optimistic to play its part in matching large-scale investments with investment projects and destinations from various participating organizations and countries. Industry 4.0 alone has started to dictate the flow of global investments and has been enjoying huge optimism which is anticipated to continue, if not increase, in the coming decades.

A glimpse on the outlook for these disruptive technologies places Artificial Intelligence to contribute USD15.7 trillion to global economy by the year 2030 and with global investment reaching USD89.9 billion by 2025. Blockchain, the most disruptive technology today, sees its worth of global investment to come around USD300 billion by 2024.

Smart Mobility, or intelligent transport system, has been attracting serious and heavy investments that by 2024, global FDIs on this sector is expected to reach USD57.44 billion. Smart Infrastructure, a trend that we are beginning to see to replace our aging buildings and facilities, have taken huge investment interest to an anticipated USD3.7 trillion by 2035.

Likewise, global projects on Sustainability will reach large scale investment of USD22.89 trillion. FDIs on disruptive technologies can also play a major role in increasing cross-border investments and regional trade facilitations.

AIM 2019 aims to be yet the most relevant, if not the biggest FDI platform in the world. Part of its milestone in its previous staging had been putting under one roof 1,000 experts and FDI specialists and 20,000 attendees from over 140 countries, where 1,200 conference delegates benefitted from FDI dealings and strategic networking.

The three-day event facilitated 1,852 business-to-business meetings and 821 government-to-business meetings and was graced by prominent international government ministers, governors, mayors, chairmen, director generals, CEOs, managing directors, corporate heads, general managers, investors, businessmen, C-level participants from private sector, entrepreneurs, advisors, and economic specialists.