India-based Hinduja Group’s Ashok Leyland to make 1,400 school buses at its UAE factory
- Its $50M facility is the sole certified bus manufacturing plant in the Gulf
- The deal is seen as a major boost to the UAE manufacturing sector amid its localization push
Wes Schwalje, Chief Operating Officer of Tahseen Consulting, discusses the significance of Ashok Leyland's bus manufacturing deal with Arabian Gulf Business Insight.
In addition to attracting global companies to the UAE, there should also be a focus on supporting local champions
The UAE’s manufacturing localization push through initiatives like Make it in the Emirates and Operation 300 Billion are key to attracting foreign direct investment to emirates like Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, and Umm Al Quwain.
It is important that the focus is on the export-oriented sector and it would be great to see Ashok Leyland’s manufacturing facility focus on the export of electric buses, for example, where the UAE could develop a world-class expertise in a promising niche in preparation for the energy transition.
In addition to attracting global companies to the UAE, there should also be a focus on supporting local champions. Al Fakher, for example, has grown into a multi-billion-dollar company that exports to over 100 countries and is the largest producer of shisha moassel in the world. With a HQ in Dubai and manufacturing facilities in Ajman, Al Fakher has a significant local economic footprint and could become the biggest global consumer shisha brand while preserving an important aspect of the Middle East’s cultural heritage.
The government’s Operation 300 Billion industrial strategy seeks to increase the sector’s GDP contribution to AED300 billion by 2031