Abu Dhabi's non-oil economy grew an annual 4.1 per cent last year, driven by government’s robust economic policies and the emirate’s speedy recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, figures compiled by Statistics Centre — Abu Dhabi (SCAD) showed.
Several non-oil economic activities showed positive growth rates at constant prices last year, Abu Dhabi Government Media Office said in a statement on Tuesday.
Non-oil real GDP growth was led by agriculture, forestry and fishing activity that expanded 23.1 per cent on a yearly basis, according to SCAD data.
They were followed by manufacturing (up 21.7 per cent), health and social service activities (19.7 per cent), arts, entertainment and recreation (17.3 per cent), wholesale and retail trade (15.3 per cent), accommodation and food service (14.7 per cent), transportation and storage (7 per cent), and electricity, gas, water supply and waste management activities (6.9 per cent).
Mining and quarrying activity, including crude oil and natural gas, contributed nearly 50.3 per cent to Abu Dhabi's real GDP last year.
The UAE capital rapidly overcame the consequences of Covid-19 due to the “prudent economic and investment policies set by our wise leadership”, including several stimulus initiatives for business and household sectors, Mohamed Al Shorafa, chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (Added), said.
The initiatives helped the coronavirus-hit sectors to recover and expand while laying the groundwork for a robust economy, Mr Al Shorafa said.
“These initiatives promoted a stimulating investment environment that can attract talent and innovative entrepreneurs, which is clearly reflected in the 2021 GDP results,” he said.
Abu Dhabi was quick to respond to the economic challenges posed by the pandemic. It launched an economic stimulus package in March 2020 that included 16 diverse initiatives under Ghadan 21 — the government’s economic accelerator programme.
It offered a waiver of registration fees for commercial vehicles until the end of 2020, toll gates, real estate registration and authentication, in addition to the waiver or reduction of bid bonds, a 25 per cent reduction in industrial land rental fees and removal of all commercial and industrial violation fines.
Meanwhile, non-oil activities added 49.7 per cent to Abu Dhabi's economy at constant prices.
“The growth proves the remarkable progress Abu Dhabi has made to diversify its economic base and sources of income in line with its ambitious strategic plans,” the statement said.
Abu Dhabi GDP estimates are considered an important input for sustainable development planning, aimed at supporting decision making and advancing the capital's economy.
Although oil continued to be important mainstay for the emirate's economy, it pursued an ambitious strategy for diversification of the economic base and income sources, Rashed Al Balooshi, undersecretary of Added, said.
“The performance of Abu Dhabi's economy, that made rapid strides for diversification, shows that it is moving from strength to strength, benefiting from a prudent administration that learns from past experiences in its endeavours to optimise opportunities,” he added.
The strong growth in key economic activities confirms that Abu Dhabi has successfully navigated through the Covid-19 pandemic, Ahmed Fikri, director general of SCAD, said.
The emirate is “rapidly recovering from the repercussions, which stands in testimony to the sound planning, excellent performance … the leadership’s clear vision and proactive response to challenges, as seen in the massive and diverse stimulus packages.”