Abu Dhabi posts more than eight percent annual growth

August 7th, 2008 - 3:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Abu Dhabi, Aug 7 (IANS) Propelled by privatization and diversification, Abu Dhabi, the largest emirate of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), posted an annual growth of more than eight percent, WAM reported Thursday quoting official records. A report released Wednesday by the emirate’s Department of Planning and Economy (DPE) said the economy “continued to perform strongly throughout 2007, thanks to the judicious privatization policies and diversification programmeā€¯.

“Abu Dhabi’s gross domestic product (GDP) rose from 149 billion dirhams in 2002 to 400 billion ($109 billion) in 2007, a significant growth of 8.12 percent per annum,” said Butti Ahmed Mohammed bin Butti Al Qubaisi, executive director at the DPE.

“The share of oil revenues fell from 92.3 percent to 91.6 percent despite the rising prices, indicating the strong growth in non-oil sectors,” Ahmad Zain Al Manawi, an economic expert at DPE, said.

Al Qubaisi said social support and services have also improved with the hike of social benefit by 75 percent in 2006. The minimum social support was increased to 2,200 dirhams due to rising living costs.

With more than 40 billion dirhams allocated for tourism development and more than 100 billion dirhams for new real estate projects up to 2010, DPE expects growth to intensify further in the coming years.

The emirate also seeks to attract more foreign direct investments (FDI), which stood at 17.8 billion dirhams in 2007.

“This is relatively a low value, accounting for only 24 percent of the total FDI received by the UAE in 2007, while Abu Dhabi’s contribution to the country’s GDP exceeds 58 percent,” DPE said in its report.

Abu Dhabi, the largest of the seven emirates of the UAE, accounts for more than 85 percent of the country’s total landmass.

The emirate’s proven crude oil reserves stand at 92.2 billion barrels, representing 94 percent of the total reserves of the UAE, which is the world’s sixth largest oil exporter.

The report projected greater impetus for Abu Dhabi’s economy during 2008, noting strategic changes that are taking place in the emirate.

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