Dubai’s economy from 1975 through 2008 grew by a factor of 11, making it the fastest-growing economy in the world over the period, says a new study by the Dubai Economic Council.
The study noted that while the growth was uneven, for the past 15 years it had reached “an extraordinary pace for international standards”.
The study noted that “few countries in the world have been able to sustain such an extraordinary pace of growth for an extended period of time”.
The council’s study, releasedtoday, details the economic growth of the emirate from 1975 – 2008. The study breaks down the growth between 1975 through 1990 showing an annual rise in GDP of around 6 per cent, then 1990 through 2005 showing an annual rise of about nine per cent. If one focuses on the years 2000 through 2008, one sees an extraordinary growth rate, on average, of over 10 per cent per year.
The research underlines that few other countries can match the emirate’s growth, citing the GDP’s of other city states, such as Hong Kong and Singapore, in comparison and the US as a benchmark. The US’ GDP tripled from 1975 through 2008, Hong Kong grew by a factor of 7, Singapore by a factor of 10 and Dubai by a factor of 11.
The emirate’s growth statistics look less rosy when one focuses on the output per working person or the average output capacity of the workforce. The workforce’s average output, after a substantial decline in the early 80s, remained flat until 2004. This compares unfavourably with the US, Hong Kong and Singapore, which all recorded steady growth and a positive trend.
The report found that Dubai had managed to catch Singapore with its higher labour productivity by 2007 in some sectors such as retail, wholesale trade, construction, transport and communications.
Other sectors had not done as well in terms of productivity.
“The growth in manufacturing, though vigorous, has not been enough to close the gap with Singapore and there remains space for future improvement in Dubai. The more backward sector seems to be that of social and personal services,” the study said.
The study also noted that conclusive statements on the Dubai economy were difficult to make, because “statistical data in the UAE, and in particular Dubai, are scarce and, on several occasions, limited in terms of coverage and time congruency”.
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