x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Wave of development projects to provide jobs in Al Gharbia

Al Gharbia’s progress in attracting investment to improve life for Emiratis and stimulate the economy will be monitored at a forum in Abu Dhabi on May 20.

A total of 460 villas are being developed in Sila and 700 units are being developed in Madinat Zayed, above. Silvia Razgova / The National
A total of 460 villas are being developed in Sila and 700 units are being developed in Madinat Zayed, above. Silvia Razgova / The National

New projects in Al Gharbia spanning 600,000 square metres across sectors including tourism, property and industry will be unveiled next week.

The awards will be the latest milestone in the Western Region’s efforts to draw investment, people and jobs.

“As per the Al Gharbia 2030 plan, the region will witness the completion of many initial phases across a variety of projects. Upcoming development projects that are to be implemented on an area of almost 600,000 sq metres will also be awarded at the upcoming Al Gharbia Development Forum,” said Mohamed Hamad bin Azzan Al Mazrouei, the undersecretary of the Ruler’s Representative Court in the Western Region.

The forum in Abu Dhabi on May 20 will act as a showcase for the region’s US$100 billion of development plans targeted at improving the quality of life for the estimated 184,500 residents, while broadening the mix of the economy. Unemployment is estimated at 8 per cent, but joblessness among women is far higher. The region also lacks some basic facilities.

Among the fresh projects officials will announce next week are schemes for tourism, with an area of 450,000 sq metres; property, with an area of 48,000 sq metres; and industry, with an area of 98,000 sq metres. Food security and agriculture are other sectors that the region is seeking to build investment in.

Al Gharbia is home to a significant chunk of Abu Dhabi’s energy reserves, which generated 44 per cent of its GDP in 2011. But the sector has so far provided only limited jobs for the region.

Mr Al Mazrouei said it was difficult to give an exact figure about how many jobs would be created through the new projects.

“One of the things we fight for when it comes to projects in the Western Region is that they guarantee some sort of percentage of the Western Region residents being hired,” he said. “There’s a lot of recruitment happening in the Western Region. We get a lot of employment requests and they get diverted to the oil and gas and alternative energy company. In Etihad Rail, we know there will be Emiratis operating, maintaining and supervising, so that is a big plus for us.”

Better employment prospects could help Al Gharbia to achieve its ultimate aim: the reversal of years of migration to the capital.

In an effort to improve livelihoods, the region is partnering with private-sector developers to build hundreds of homes in more than eight community facilities in the region. A total of 460 villas are being developed in Sila and 700 units are being developed in Madinat Zayed. Hospitals are being built in two towns in the region, said Mr Al Mazrouei.

tarnold@thenational.ae

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