Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Dubai reached $4.84 billion in the first half of 2018, a 26% increase compared to last year, the state-run Emirates News Agency (WAM) has reported. This comes after total FDI flows reached $7.43 billion last year, a 7% increase compared to 2016.

The figures signify improving investor confidence in Dubai, which comes as the UAE undertook a number of steps recently to boost economic competitiveness — including introducing long-term visas for investors and allowing 100% foreign ownership by the end of 2018.

The number of FDI projects surged to 248 in the first half, an increase of 40% over the same period last year, according to data issued by the Dubai Investment Development Agency, part of the Department of Economic Development in Dubai.

Investors from the U.S., India, Thailand, Spain and the U.K. topped the list of source countries for FDI capital.

The U.S. was also responsible for the most investment projects, followed by France, the U.K., India, and Switzerland.

“We are confident about the future prospects for enhancing FDI flows, especially following the issuance of new laws that enhance Dubai’s competitiveness as a preferred global destination for investment,” said Fahad Al Gergawi, CEO of the Dubai Investment Development Agency.

According to Santander, FDI inflows have recovered considerably in the UAE after a slightly turbulent period between 2010 and 2013, caused by the global economic crisis and regional instability.

Against that backdrop, the political and economic stability of the country has attracted investors fleeing other countries in the region, with the bulk of FDI concentrated in the sectors of trade, real estate, finance and insurance, manufacturing and construction.