x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Capital unveils plan to fire up non-oil exports

Abu Dhabi has announced ambitious targets to raise the value of non-oil exports seven-fold by 2030, in an effort to shield its economy from volatility in oil prices.

Abu Dhabi has announced ambitious targets to raise the value of non-oil exports seven-fold by 2030, in an effort to shield its economy from volatility in oil prices. The capital wants to expand foreign direct investment to 23 per cent of its GDP by 2030, from 14 per cent now, to support the development of its export market, said Mohammed Omar Abdullah, the Undersecretary of the Department of Economic Development in Abu Dhabi.

The emirate is looking to nearly triple its GDP by 2030 to US$416 billion (Dh1.52 trillion), from about $142bn last year. Policymakers are turning to private financing to play an increasing role in funding the capital's diversification plans outlined in its 2030 economic vision. "Growth has to be driven by non-oil exports to reduce GDP volatility through diversification and this will see Abu Dhabi become an attractive investment destination," Mr Abdullah said yesterday at the MEED Abu Dhabi Conference.

For many years the emirate's expansion has been driven by the public sector, bolstered by revenue from its substantial oil reserves. Hydrocarbons account for 60 per cent of the capital's economy. Its income was cut at the end of last year when oil prices sharply declined from highs of $147 to $32. Although oil has now stabilised to about $78, concerns persist that any dip in the global economic recovery could choke demand.

Industry, finance, health care and tourism are among the sectors Abu Dhabi has focused on to diversify its economy and lift the value of its non-oil sector to 64 per cent by 2030. "Right now oil prices are swinging quite wildly and Abu Dhabi's GDP has been fluctuating as a result, so a diversification of its economy will reduce the chances of that," said Giyas Gokkent, the chief economist and head of research of the asset management group at the National Bank of Abu Dhabi.

@Email:tarnold@thenational.ae