UAE leads in the race to the post-oil, knowledge-based economy

A plethora of initiatives and diversification tools indicate country's readiness for new pastures

The UAE and wider Middle East is well placed to take advantage of disruptive technology such as hyperloop trasportation. Courtesy Hyperloop One
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The UAE has made great strides towards diversifying its economy over the past decade. Today, around 70 per cent of output is accounted for by the non-oil sector. By 2021, that share will rise another 10 percentage points. For a country with a bounty in oil and gas, commodities that remain in high demand around the world, this means an expansion in our local economy. Quite simply, we are growing even larger.

Such developments do not happen on their own. It is the result of careful planning. Currently, a number of laws are in the works that will help establish a welcoming environment for foreign investment. And as the Minister of Economy, Sultan Al Mansouri, explained, other laws will supplement this, making the Emirates an even more efficient place to conduct business for companies already established, as well as those in gestation. On top of that is prudent investments to build new strengths. Such diversifications will see Dh300 billion spent on 100 initiatives covering health and education, energy, transport, water and technology. We are already in the midst of a revolution in renewable energy – in how we increasingly use it and in technology development. Now often known for the fossil fuel we supply the world, we will soon gain renown for the solar and other technologies we are developing to supply the world of the future.

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But diversification is more than all that. On the road to our transformation into a knowledge society, our schools and universities are also playing a role to ensure that Emiratis take their rightful place in the new economy. And we are adding to our stock of entertainment outlets and cultural venues so that the economics of leisure bring in more tourists to share our hospitality. In other words, through these and many other areas we are not only deepening our economy, but expanding its horizon as well.

The UAE has set the cornerstones for a sustainable economy, guaranteeing it will enter the post-oil era in full readiness. Just as importantly, that economy, in totality, is primed to be even bigger than it is today. For that is just as important an attribute to sustainability.

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