The UAE’s Ras Al Khaimah’s investment authority (Rakia) is partnering with HSBC to open up a wider range of banking services to businesses operating in the emirate.

The two institutions signed a memorandum of understanding in an attempt to create more attention from international businesses looking to expand into the wider UAE region.

“This is a breakthrough partnership that manifests the continuing success of Rakia in attracting major business enterprises and investors to Ras Al Khaimah,” notes Khater Massaad, chief executive officer of Rakia.

“We believe that our partnership with HSBC will help open more business opportunities in the emirate for global investors that are planning to expand their presence in the Middle East by establishing a manufacturing or operations base in Ras Al Khaimah,” Massaad continues.

“We have seen tremendous growth from Ras Al Khaimah in the past year.”

Ras Al Khaimah is not an oil-based economy and so has an increased focus on developing its trading and service sectors.

During 2010, the emirate upped the amount of new business licenses issued by 27% to 1,108 compared with 2009, giving the region a total of 3,679 business licenses issued by Rakia since 2006.

Of these new licenses, more than half are made up of consultative or service companies and trading firms.

Abdulfattah Sharaf, chief executive officer of HSBC’s UAE business, notes: “We have seen tremendous growth from Ras Al Khaimah in the past year as it continues to establish a respected presence as an investment hotspot. We hope that this partnership will stimulate further socioeconomic growth and development as we build on our strong working relationship to find innovative ways to help grow our customers’ businesses.”

This joint operation comes soon after Bank of America Merrill Lynch agreed to outsource corporate banking and cash management facilities for Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank.