x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Western Region seeks to diversify

The UAE's civil nuclear programme will be among the key drivers of economic diversification in Al Gharbia, according to the Western Region Development Council.

The UAE's civil nuclear programme will be among the key drivers of economic diversification in Al Gharbia, according to the Western Region Development Council.

Al Gharbia, which constitutes 60 per cent of the total area of the emirate of Abu Dhabi and 51 per cent of the land mass of the UAE, includes seven cities: Liwa, Madinat Zayed, Ghayathi, Ruwais, Mirfa, Sila and Delma Island.

The area contributes 45 per cent of the country's GDP, but the region is overly reliant on the oil and gas sector. The Western Region Development Council (WRDC) has drawn up a list of non-oil sectors that will help to drive economic growth and development.

It includes a number of non-oil-related projects, chief among them being the civil nuclear energy programme in Barakah. Reactors in the area aim to generate a quarter of the emirate's power needs from nuclear energy by 2020.

But other sectors are also becoming important to the economy, including tourism, which is expected to account for 5.2 per cent of Al Gharbia's GDP, compared with 1.3 per cent in 2010.

Residential projects are also regarded as a priority area because of the demand for 15,000 additional homes, according to WRDC, while the need for commercial and retail space is also expected to rise.

The hospitality and leisure sector, which caters for 680 hotel rooms and serviced apartments, is another area that has been singled out as offering potential investment opportunities. The region's development will be discussed at the Al Gharbia Development Forum at the Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi on May 27.

The event will include discussions on opportunities available in the region's transport sector in addition to the various projects due to take place within the next five years, among other topics.

"The investment and development opportunities offered by Al Gharbia are unprecedented and are critical to the future development of Abu Dhabi in particular and the UAE in general," said Edmund O'Sullivan, the chairman of Meed Events, organisers of the forum in cooperation with WRDC.

"The potential for growth is still largely untapped and those who want to get insider insights on where the opportunities lie should not miss this gathering," he added.

 

gduncan@thenational.ae