Abu Dhabi is close to unveiling new strategy to diversify its economy

Emirate to host Annual Investment Meeting from May 8 to 10 as it aims to boost investment in several sectors

Abu Dhabi’s new industrial strategy is gaining momentum amid growing interest from investors and business owners, said Mohamed Al Shorafa, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development. Khushnum Bhandari / The National
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Abu Dhabi is on the verge of revealing its overall new economic strategy to diversify its economy and is looking to boost investment in a number of sectors, the chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development has said.

The emirate is "close to unveiling Abu Dhabi’s overall new economic strategy, which also plans for ushering in a new era for our diversified economy”, Mohamed Al Shorafa said on Thursday. He added that the emirate considers innovation, entrepreneurship and digitalisation as the “cornerstones of sustainable and long-term economic growth and diversification”.

Mr Al Shorafa made the comments at a media briefing organised to announce details of the Annual Investment Meeting event, which will be held in the UAE capital from May 8 to 10 next year.

Abu Dhabi has launched a number of new initiatives in the past twelve months as it focuses on diversifying its economy away from oil.

In June, it launched a new industrial strategy to boost the contribution of the sector to the overall economy. As part of the strategy, it is investing Dh10 billion ($2.72 billion) across six industrial programmes to more than double the size of the emirate’s manufacturing sector to Dh172 billion by 2031.

Mr Al Shorafa said Abu Dhabi’s new industrial strategy was "slowly building momentum … with significant interest already shown from business owners and investors”.

It also unveiled various measures such as rent rebates, discounts on utility bills and loan guarantee packages to support businesses and stimulate economic growth during the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this year, it removed more than 20,000 requirements that were deemed critical to establishing a business in the emirate. It also launched a Dh5 billion IPO Fund to help encourage and support private companies to list on the local stock market.

In the long term, the emirate “will continue to focus on several high-growth fields” including health care and biopharma, agriculture-technology and FinTech, energy, tourism and ICT (information and communications technology), Mr Al Shorafa said.

Abu Dhabi’s economy expanded by 11.2 per cent in the first six months of the year on an annual basis, driven by a robust performance of the oil and non-oil sectors, latest government data indicated.

The size of the emirate's real gross domestic product at constant prices surpassed Dh543 billion at the end of the six-month period, while the value of non-oil GDP grew by Dh28.4 billion to Dh273 billion during the same period.

“Our overarching objective in Abu Dhabi is to continue to invest extensively towards creating a knowledge-based economy, thus redefining economic standards for businesses on par with other global and capital cities, both on and offshore," Mr Al Shorafa said.

The three-day Annual Investment Meeting will be attended by decision-makers, investors, experts and academic figures from all over the world. They will discuss the global investment landscape amid the current geopolitical and economic challenges and its effect on foreign direct investment.

"AIM Global 2023 will enable the UAE to increase its contribution to the regional and international efforts that aim to enhance the global business landscape reiterating the UAE’s status as a trade and investment hub, regionally and globally," Dr Al Zeyoudi said at the same event.

Foreign direct investment in the UAE has increased by 116 per cent in the past decade, as the country’s economy continues to grow despite pandemic-driven headwinds.

Total FDI rose to $20.7 billion in 2021 from $9.6 billion in 2012, state news agency Wam reported this year, citing a report from the Ministry of Economy.

The UAE also signed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements with India, Indonesia and Israel, and is currently holding negotiations with Turkey, Georgia, Colombia and Cambodia as it aims to strengthen trade and economic ties with different countries.

Updated: November 24, 2022, 3:45 PM