Abu Dhabi's economy expands 10.5% in first nine months of 2022 on non-oil sector growth

The emirate's non-oil sector grew by 10.3% on an annual basis and contributed 50.3% to its GDP

The Abu Dhabi skyline. The emirate's economy made a strong rebound from the coronavirus-induced slowdown. Khushnum Bhandari / The National
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Abu Dhabi's economy grew by 10.5 per cent on an annual basis in the first nine months of 2022, the fastest expansion in the Mena region, driven by strong growth in the non-oil sector, according to government data.

The non-oil sector grew 10.3 per cent annually thanks to government efforts to diversify the economy, boost the private sector's contribution and invest in human capital, the Abu Dhabi Media Office said on Tuesday, citing the latest data released by the Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi (Scad).

The non-oil sector contributed 50.3 per cent to the emirate's gross domestic product, figures showed. It recorded an increase of Dh39 billion ($10.6 billion) from the same period in 2021 to hit Dh417.3 billion by the end of the third quarter.

“Abu Dhabi’s robust economy continues to prove its superiority driven by … its ability to attract foreign direct investments and agile policies that enabled our economy to achieve the strongest growth in the region,” said Ahmed Al Zaabi, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (Added).

“The private sector plays a crucial role in supporting the economy’s continued growth, and we will continue to prioritise sustainable economic policies to broaden the investment landscape.”

The UAE’s economy continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic with higher oil prices and government initiatives to support diversification.

The country's economy, the second largest in the Arab world, is estimated to have grown by 7.6 per cent last year, the highest in 11 years, after expanding by 3.9 per cent in 2021, the UAE Central Bank said.

It is forecast to grow 3.9 per cent this year, while non-oil sector expansion is estimated at 4.2 per cent and oil GDP projected at 3 per cent, the Central Bank said.

Abu Dhabi's “resilient” economic framework, economic competitiveness and macroeconomic stability has helped spur its GDP growth, the statement on Tuesday said.

“According to statistical estimates of the first nine months of 2022, all economic sectors demonstrated impressive growth with the exceptional performance of main economic sectors,” Ahmed Mahmoud Fikri, director general of Scad, said.

Abu Dhabi's real estate sector grew 20.3 per cent annually in the first nine months of the year on a rise in investor interest in waterfront and island communities, Scad said.

Several new waterfront developments have started in the emirate in recent months, including Jubail Island, Saadiyat Island and Reem Island.

The accommodation and food services sector in Abu Dhabi grew 20.2 per cent in the first nine months of 2022 as the emirate hosted 4.1 million international visitors.

Visitors from India accounted for 12 per cent of all non-Emirati hotel guests in Abu Dhabi, totalling 480,000 visitors and increasing 31 per cent from the previous year.

During the first nine months of 2022, the wholesale and retail trade sector reached Dh45 billion, with a 17.4 per cent increase year-on-year. This sector accounted for 5.4 per cent of Abu Dhabi's nine-month GDP, according to Scad.

The transport and storage sector recorded growth of 11.4 per cent during the nine-month period, boosting the emirate's GDP by 1.7 per cent.

Abu Dhabi Airports reported this month that the emirate’s five airports handled a combined total of 15.9 million passengers in 2022, tripling passenger volumes from a year ago.

Etihad Rail shows scenic journey through Abu Dhabi forest

Etihad Rail shows scenic journey through Abu Dhabi forest

The manufacturing sector in the UAE's capital grew 8.1 per cent, contributing 8 per cent to the GDP during the first nine months of 2022.

The Abu Dhabi government will invest Dh10 billion across six industrial programmes to more than double the size of the emirate’s manufacturing sector to Dh172 billion by 2031, according to the Abu Dhabi Industrial Strategy announced last year.

The new strategy will boost Abu Dhabi’s trade with international markets, with the aim of increasing the emirate's non-oil exports by 143 per cent to Dh178.8 billion by 2031.

Meanwhile, the city's financial sector grew by 6.9 per cent in the first nine months of 2022 on an annual basis, with a value of Dh28 billion, according to Scad. The sector accounted for 5.5 per cent of the GDP.

“The growing confidence of the international community and the economic growth potential has made Abu Dhabi a preferred destination for investors, businessmen, entrepreneurs, innovators, and other professionals from different parts of the world to the Capital of Capital,” the statement said.

Updated: February 14, 2023, 9:11 AM