UAE economic boom to continue
Abu Dhabi:, December 2, 2007
The UAE, which turned 36-year-old on December 2, 2007, is continuing to strengthen its position as a primary regional trade, business and investment powerhouse. And there is little sign of let-up in the current economic boom of the country.
Thanks to higher oil revenues, zero-deficit budget, sound public spending and economic diversification drive that the UAE’s gross domestic product is set to surge to Dhs697 billion in 2007.
In 2006, the UAE recorded 23.4 per cent rise in GDP growth to Dh599 billion over 2005.
The non-hydrocarbon sector's contribution went up from 46 per cent in 1990 to 62.5 per cent in 2006, an indicator of the successful economic diversification policy of the UAE government.
The UAE economy rests on strong fundamentals that are not merely oil-driven. Sectors like tourism, education, media, health, industry and finance have evolved as ideal platforms for enhanced investment, according to UAE Economy Minister Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi.
''The economy has performed admirably over the past few years, and is poised to forge ahead with assertiveness and confidence. All-round development is perceptible in every emirate offering more opportunities for investors and making rapid strides in developmental initiatives,' she said.
The UAE is working aggressively towards economic modernisation, diversification into new oil and non-oil based manufacturing and service activities, and encouragement of the private sector, according to the 2006 Growth Competitiveness Index published by the World Economic Forum.
''The UAE economy is rapidly growing and is expected to grow even at a higher rate in the coming years. The UAE has become the single most important trade hub in the region and the third largest re-export center in the world after Hong Kong and Singapore,” the report says.
According to the UAE Central Bank Governor Sultan Al Suweidi, the GDP has been growing at a rate of more than 10 per cent at current prices in the last 10 years.
“With higher world oil prices, the UAE economy will continue to do well,” he says.
'The UAE will continue to be a trade and business center and a tourist destination in the region and certain economic sectors will continue to grow,' Al Suweidi adds.
In November, the cabinet passed the federal budget for 2008. The Dh34.9 billion budget is the UAE's biggest and has the highest increase rate in the history of the federation, with a hike of Dh6.7 billion over the 2007 budget, which stood at Dh23.8 billion. It is also the fourth consecutive free-deficit state budget.
Earlier this year, UAE Vice-President, Prime Minister, and Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum unveiled a strategy to further stimulate economic growth, strengthen the competitiveness of the national economy and upgrade regulations and legislation to match current and expected economic growth.
The strategy also seeks to establish a national competitiveness council to advise the federal government on competitiveness issues, establish a national statistics office and prepare a federal framework for minimum regulations requirements for both free zones and special economic zones, such as labour rights and environment conservation requirements.
Abu Dhabi leads
Abu Dhabi’s GDP is projected to rise by 8.2 per cent in 2007 and will maintain a steady growth rate of no less than 13 per cent to hit Dh584 billion in 2010, according to a Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI) report.
The report expected non-oil sectors to keep a vibrant annual growth of at least than 18 per cent. The share of non-oil sectors in the GDP is expected, by the report, to rise to Dh163 billion in 2007, up from Dh138 billion in 2006. It will post a phenomenal jump to Dh263 billion in 2010, the report anticipated.
The report attrib