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Dubai Embarking on New Phase of Growth: Qamzi

Middle East : 19 February 2012

Source: Khaleej Times

Dubai is embarking on a new phase of its development process, with a stronger commitment at the top level to removing barriers to trade and enhancing public-private partnerships, said Sami Al Qamzi, Director-General of the Department of Economic Development.

“While the global economy is in transition Dubai is ushering in a series of changes, new economic policies as well as innovative strategies. These changes, along with our fundamental economic strengths, will allow Dubai to play a greater role in global economy while as well achieving our objective of sustainable growth and development,” Al Qamzi said in his introductory remarks on Wednesday at Dubai Economic Outlook 2012 conference.

He said Dubai has owed its economic success to a strong synergy between an enabling leadership and strong private sector capabilities. “Private enterprise and a business-friendly government are at the core of Dubai’s reputation as a well-diversified economy driven by high quality services, manufacturing and re-export capabilities,” Al Qamzi said at the event held under the theme ‘The Power of Vision — Economic Development in an Uncertain World’. The focus of the event was on to three key topics: ‘Macroeconomic Outlook’, ‘Restructurings for Development’ and ‘Engines of Growth’.

Speakers at the forum also presented outlooks on key sectors such as finance, logistics and transportation, trade, real estate, tourism, and retail, among others.

Hamad Buamim, Director-General, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Marwan bin Galitha, Director-General, Real Estate Regulatory Agency; Jamal Majid bin Thaniah, Vice-Chairman, DP World; Dr Nasser Saidi, Chief Economist, Dubai International Financial Centre Authority; and Dr Mohammad Lahouel, Chief Economist, DED, shared perspectives on the future of Dubai’s economy at the forum.

Buamim said the weighted average expectation rating of Dubai trade sector is set to improve to 5.8 in 2012 from 5.7 in 2011.

Quoting from “Dubai traders outlook survey 2012,” he said factors negatively affecting the trade sector score currently at 42 per cent are inadequate access to additional capital, lack of export credit facilitation, global trade barriers and lack of access to financial support and services. “If polices and procedure are put in place to address these issues the weighted overall average score of the trade sector will rise to 55 per cent,” Buamin said.

Thaniah said with a projected gross domestic product growth of 3.8 per cent and an inflation of 2.1 per cent in 2012, the UAE would see its exports surging to $276.1 billion, imports growing to $219 billion and external debts swelling to $170 billion this year.

He said Dubai’s non-oil trade exceeded Dh814 billion at the end of the third quarter 2011, up 23 per cent over the same period in 2010. In 2010, after a decline, Dubai’s direct trade bounced back to post a growth of 18 per cent to Dh575.66 billion.

Dr Saidi said uncertainties resulting from the global downturn and eurozone crises as well as regional developments following from the “Arab firestorm” have underscored the importance of Dubai’s economic vision.

He said an eastward shift in global economic activity and financial flows presented vast opportunities for Dubai’s economy and the private sector, and outlined five key drivers of growth that would help reposition Dubai as a global hub for finance, trade, and a renewable energy. He also called for the creation of a Dubai-based Arab bank for reconstruction and development.

Lahouel forecast that Dubai’s economy would grow by 4.1 per cent in 2012 driven by over six per cent growth in tourism, and similar rates in trade and manufacturing, in addition to transport.

The growth will continue despite a continued decline in construction, he said.

Lahouel said the final figures on GDP growth achieved in 2011 were not out, though he expected they should be around three percent, a “little bit over two percent,” achieved in 2010.

Standard Chartered’s Marios Maratheftis projected positive outlook for the UAE in general with more projects under way in Abu Dhabi, and put the forecast for growth rate in 2012 at 2.4 per cent.

A slower rate of growth is not bad news because the quality of growth is improving, he said.

“The fundamentals of Dubai are pretty healthy and strong. Construction will continue to be negative, but I think it is good news because focus is shifting towards productive sectors,” he said.

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