Who Still Needs a Local Partner in the UAE?

November 13, 2023

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has long been a magnet for foreign investors due to its business-friendly economic landscape. Over the years, the government has introduced several reforms to attract more foreign investment. In this blog, we’re answering the question, who still needs a local partner in the UAE?

In 2021, the UAE Commercial Companies Law (CCL) was amended to allow foreign investors in the UAE to own 100% of their mainland or onshore company in various sectors. However, some sectors still require a 51% Emirati partner.

Here’s who still needs a local partner in the UAE

1. Security and Military/Civil Defence

In alignment with national security priorities, the UAE mandates local Emirati partners for businesses operating in security and defence sectors.

2. Insurance

The insurance sector necessitates local partnerships, ensuring stability and adherence to local regulations within the industry.

3. Education

Stringent regulations in the education sector to preserve educational standards and cultural sensitivities.

4. Oil & Gas

A big contributor to the UAE’s economy, the oil and gas industry requires local partners for foreign companies, facilitating knowledge transfer and technology sharing.

5. Healthcare

Strict regulations in healthcare demand local partnerships, guaranteeing quality healthcare services and adherence to national standards.

6. Manpower

Manpower services, including recruitment agencies, require Emirati partners, ensuring oversight in a vital sector of the labour market.

7. Land/Real Estate Ownership

Investments in land or real estate necessitate local partnerships, preserving local ownership and ensuring responsible development.

8. Northern Emirates

Specifically in the Northern Emirates, certain business activities like restaurants still require local partners.

How CBD Can Assist

CBD Corporate Services offers a secure, robust corporate nominee structure that ensures full compliance and control of your business across UAE, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Egypt – allowing you to confidently expand and thrive in new markets.

To learn more about who still needs a local partner in the UAE, email: or call/Whatsapp +971 56 218 4695.

Authored by Brad Williams – Consultant at CBD Corporate Services

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