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Abu Dhabi Non-Oil Sector Reports 6 percent Growth

Abu Dhabi : 10 November 2010

On track for 2030 Vision, industry outside of the oil sector surpasses 50 per cent of GDP.

The non-hydrocarbon sector grew by about 6 per cent last year and now dominates the emirate’s economy, responsible for over 50 per cent of the GDP according to a senior official.

This increase is contrasted by a marked contraction within the oil industry, which actually fell by almost 34 per cent in 2009 on the backs of falling prices and decreasing output.

Chairman of ADDED (Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development), Nasser Ahmed Khalifa Al Suwaidi, stated that the increase in non-oil sectors combined with the sharp decline in the price of oil resulted in non-hydrocarbons capturing more than half of the economy for 2009.  Suwaidi also noted that the Economic Vision 2030 plan expected that shift to happen in 2015.

These results served to confirm that the emirate’s balanced approach to economic reform is solid.  Abu Dhabi is moving to expand and diversify production within the emirate creating additional incomes sources and strengthening the economy to weather the volatility within the stock and real estate markets, as well as oil revenues.

ADDED will soon release their annual report on the economy with a foreword that notes Abu Dhabi is in the midst of expansion within the economy.  Suwaidi stated that the growth is grounded on the determination and ambition of the leadership and designed to move Abu Dhabi into position as the area’s leading hub for business.

Suwaidi noted that this plan will utilize the current resources within the area’s economy as well as launch a group of new investments made among a variety of sectors.  The plan also intends to concentrate on improving the opportunities for foreign investments in an effort to reach the amounts needed for the 2030 Economic Vision.

He also stated that Abu Dhabi holds many economic elements that are strong and present both potential and opportunity within the economy.  Those prospects pushed Abu Dhabi to the leading position in the region and stood out as a bright spot within the global financial crisis.

Suwaidi credits the quick government intervention that took place in the wake of the worldwide economic crisis as offering an effective buffer and creating a stable environment within the nation’s banking industry.

These moves by the government have supported non-oil business activity, helping to produce the recent rates of growth.

Another official for the ADDED stated that growth between 2003 and 2008 hit an impressive 24 per cent, although the nominal GDP decreased 18 per cent in 2009 after a sharp drop in the oil industry.

ADDED Undersecretary Mohammed Omar Abdullah said that last year’s economic performance of Abu Dhabi could be seen as a positive one, even taking into account the falling oil prices and unstable environments across the global economy after the crisis.

Data shows that a drop in the price of crude, combined with the requirements of an OPEC agreement that saw a decrease in oil output, made a dent in the nominal GDP of Abu Dhabi, shrinking it by 34 per cent for 2009.

Over the same period the non-hydrocarbon industries recorded decent rates of growth despite the heavy challenges facing these industries.

Abdullah reported that economic activity in each non-oil industry was able to continue growing, in line with years passed.

The initial five-year plan for the Abu Dhabi economy notes an imperative pace with real reforms indicating that clear and well defined diversification programs are creating more income and strength within the economy.  The reforms have also increased efficiency within the private sector and supported strategic developments with a focus on target markets outside of the local area as well.

Paul Holdsworth, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News
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