Sharjah’s economy grew 5.2% in 2022 on the back of economic diversification efforts

Emirate’s wholesale and retail trade sector recorded highest annual growth rate of 24% last year

General view of Sharjah. Photo: Department of Statistics and Community Development
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Sharjah’s gross domestic product grew by 5.2 per cent last year, driven by economic diversification efforts that are aligned with the emirate's development strategy.

The emirate registered Dh136.9 billion ($37.2 billion) in GDP earnings last year compared with Dh130.1 billion in 2021, Sharjah's Department of Statistics and Community Development said on Tuesday.

The DSCD data is based on a survey of independent agencies and the government sector.

“The preliminary estimates for 2022 indicate a positive economic performance in the emirate,” said Sheikh Mohammed Al Qasimi, chairman of DSCD.

“The economic diversification of the emirate has been a driving force behind the growth that we are currently witnessing, which aligns with the emirate’s development plans.”

The non-oil sector also posted a 5.2 per cent increase in 2022, bringing the total to Dh133.4 billion, compared with Dh126.8 billion the previous year, according to DSCD estimates.

Sharjah has been experiencing strong growth after its government took several measures to support businesses and residents to mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The emirate introduced Dh1 billion of economic stimulus measures in 2020 in response to the economic challenges caused by the global crisis, which included the waiving, reduction or cancellation of certain government fees and charges.

In December, Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah, approved a Dh32.2 billion budget for 2023 that prioritises spending on infrastructure, capital projects and economic development.

The 2023 budget aims to achieve financial sustainability and enhance the emirate’s economic competitiveness.

About 35 per cent of the budget will be allocated to infrastructure and capital projects, 34 per cent to economic development, 28 per cent to salaries and 23 per cent to social development, the Sharjah Finance Department said at the time.

In terms of government revenue, operational revenue represents 69 per cent of the total budget for 2023, an increase of 11 per cent from last year's levels. Capital revenue constitutes 11 per cent of this year’s budget.

Sharjah’s wholesale and retail trade sector, as well as the repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles were the most significant contributors to GDP last year at 24 per cent, the DSCD data showed. This was followed by manufacturing sector at nearly 17 per cent.

Real estate activities ranked third at nearly 9.7 per cent, highlighting the sector’s role in “providing investment opportunities” in the emirate, the DSCD said.

The construction sector, meanwhile, contributed 9 per cent of the emirate’s GDP, reflecting the role of this sector in “achieving urban development and infrastructure” in the emirate.

Sharjah has been aggressively expanding its portfolio in a number of areas including real estate, tourism, aviation, technology and health care.

Sharjah joins race for UAE's most breathtaking building

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The emirate earlier this month approved plans for a new healthcare and research district. The Jawaher Boston Medical District project will establish an integrated network of healthcare systems in the emirate, featuring hospitals, laboratories, and research and development centres.

Sharjah is also ramping up its focus on adventure and eco-tourism with a number of new projects.

Khor Fakkan, on the UAE’s east coast, for example, will be home to one of the biggest developments with the opening of a new adventure park next year, the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority revealed during Dubai's Arabian Travel Market last week.

Work on Sharjah International Airport’s terminal expansion will also start in mid-2023, with completion expected in 2026, to meet rising travel demand, the emirate’s airport authority chief Ali Al Midfa said in March.

Updated: May 09, 2023, 4:12 PM