x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

New economic tool aiming to boost Abu Dhabi's growth

State-of-the-art technology is to help Abu Dhabi learn from past decisions and plan better for the future as the emirate unveils a new economic modelling system.

State-of-the-art technology is to help Abu Dhabi learn from past decisions and plan better for the future.
State-of-the-art technology is to help Abu Dhabi learn from past decisions and plan better for the future.

The Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development (ADCED) today 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 policy makers 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," Fahad Saeed al Raqbani, the ADCED director general, said.

The ADCED developed the system in cooperation with EcoMod, an economic analysis company that consults with companies and governments across the globe. 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 detail about economic conditions and the ability to make forecasts about how those conditions might change.

As the quantity and quality of economic statistics about the emirate increases, 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 oftentimes misleading because of differences in methods of collection an 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 director general in September amid a shake-up of the board of directors. He had been deputy director general since June of 2008.

ADMOD's introduction follows a raft of other moves to improve data collection and monitoring as Abu Dhabi moves forth with its Plan 2030, a sweeping vision outlining aims to grow 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 that will give government departments fuller information about development patterns and environmental conditions to guide their decisions.

afitch@thenational.ae