x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Abu Dhabi is stepping up plans to drive job creation in the Dh41.5 billion industrial sector as a number of projects get under way in the emirate.

Abu Dhabi is stepping up plans to drive job creation in the Dh41.5 billion industrial sector as a number of projects get under way in the emirate.

The Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) plans to add industrial jobs at a rate of between 8 and 9 per cent annually through 2020, Wam agency reported yesterday.

It also aims to increase the number of companies operating in the industrial sector by 4 per cent during the same period.

Gulf economies are racing to develop industries such petrochemicals, metal processing and food production to help alleviate unemployment and reduce their dependence on oil and gas amid a rapidly changing global energy landscape.

Ayman Al Makawi the director general of the IDB said the fledgling body would focus on developing a national workforce for the industrial sector, create funding initiatives and drive export promotion.

Mr Al Makawi said that the main challenge facing the IDB would be developing industrial clusters and providing investors with quality infrastructure.

The Government is targeting 13 industrial sectors in a bid to broaden its economic base. They are building materials, petrochemicals, metals engineering, iron and steel, plastic, aluminium and food industries, renewable energy, oil and gas, semiconductor, packaging, aviation and transportation equipment.

The IDB was established last year as an affiliate of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development. Its brief is to set a legal, licensing and supervisory framework to promote industrial investment across the emirate and boost competitiveness.

In December, Mr Al Makawi expressed doubts that the emirate would be able to achieve a target of sourcing almost a quarter of its GDP from industry by 2030.

“Where we are today comparing it to the original targets is simply – I don’t want to say impossible – but it’s very difficult to achieve,” he said on the sidelines of the Abu Dhabi Conference.

“The original targets were set and [since then] the world has changed.”

Billions of dollars of investment have been earmarked for Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad), the industrial park planned to eventually fill an area of land two-thirds the size of Singapore.

Its largest tenant, Emirates Global Aluminium, is expected to draw in substantial investment from associated processing companies.

Emirates Steel is also rapidly expanding its range of products and last year delivered its first shipment of locally produced nuclear grade reinforcing steel to the reactor construction site in Al Barakah.

South America’s largest food processing company Brasil Foods will begin producing goods at its 1.6 million square foot plant in Kizad from June, which will be the Sao Paulo-based company’s largest facility outside of South America, employing 1,200 people.

It will begin producing 30,000 tonnes of meat products, breadbased foods and pizzas. It will have capacity to eventually ramp up to 60,000 tonnes per year.