x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Modelling system to aid capital

The Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development unveils a complex economic modelling system that aims to help government departments make better decisions in the future.

The Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development (ADCED) yesterday unveiled a complex economic modelling system that aims to help government departments evaluate past decisions and make better ones in the future.

"It is essential that policymakers are provided with state-of-the-art technology and methods that provide them with accurate information and projections to enable them to make sound, informed decisions," said Fahad Saeed al Raqbani, the ADCED director general.

ADCED developed the system in co-operation with EcoMod, an economic analysis consultancy that works with businesses and governments around the world. The new modelling tool is called ADMOD.

Ali Bayar, the president of EcoMod and a professor of economics in Brussels and Berlin, said ADMOD would give Abu Dhabi's leaders unprecedented details about economic conditions, enabling them to forecast how those conditions might change.

As the quantity and quality of economic statistics about the emirate increase, he said, the model would become a more robust and useful tool for government agencies. The Statistics Centre-Abu Dhabi (SCAD) is in the midst of a drive to collect more complete data about the economy.

"There are a lot of data gaps," Mr Bayar said. Statistics about Abu Dhabi were also often misleading because of differences in methods of collection and analysis, he said. "Not only is data missing, but data is inconsistent", he said.

ADMOD's models will be applicable to a range of sectors, including oil, manufacturing, electricity, gas, water, construction, trade, hotels, restaurants, transport, communications and social services, according to an ADCED statement.

"It provides impact results for various economic policies taking into consideration various economic sectors, population segments, a detailed labour market structure and the overall economy of the emirate," Mr al Raqbani said. "Using ADMOD, policymakers can assess the impact of various policy measures on different groups of the population and of the labour market, such as Emiratis, foreign workers and collective workers. The model also captures skill differences in the labour force and the user can make future projections about the impact of policies on workers with different skill sets."

ADMOD is one of the first initiatives launched by ADCED since Mr al Raqbani's appointment as the director general in September amid a shake-up of the board of directors. He had been deputy director general since June 2008.

ADMOD's introduction follows a number of other moves to improve data collection and monitoring as Abu Dhabi moves ahead with its Plan 2030, a sweeping vision outlining aims to develop the private sector and diversify the economy away from oil.

In addition to SCAD's improvements to data collection, the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council recently introduced a system to give government departments fuller information about development patterns and environmental conditions to guide their decisions.