The economy of Dubai grew by 2.7% in real terms in 2016 despite declining oil prices, sluggish growth in developed as well as many emerging economies, and a mere 1.7% growth in global trade – its lowest since 2008-2009. The emirate’s economy is expected to grow by 3.1% in 2017.
The facts were revealed during the ‘UAE Economic Outlook 2017’ launch event hosted jointly by the Dubai Department of Economic Development and the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development. It was also revealed that Dubai will announce its future economic outlook twice every year from now onwards – in January and October. The economic outlook will shed light on growth opportunities in the emirate both at the macro-economic and sectoral levels and against the global economic backdrop.
Sustainability and flexibility are the most notable characteristics of Dubai’s ongoing economic and social transformation under a wise and devoted leadership.
More than three decades ago, the leadership put diversification on the top of the development pyramid in Dubai and the growth vision and strategies adopted since then have all focused on accelerated and sustainable growth. It has led to faster integration of the emirate’s economy into the global economy and quantitative as well as qualitative growth away from oil. Real economic growth has averaged five per cent a year, while the importance of non-oil economic activities has grown steadily. Our efforts at economic diversification continue unabated with a target of increasing the contribution of the non-oil sectors to UAE GDP from 70% today to 80% during the next 15 years,.
During the past year, the UAE continued the course of diversification and progress and achieved new milestones. This includes a jump of 8 points in the World Bank Doing Business report, from the 34th to now the 26th easiest country in the world for doing business, and ahead of any other Arab country. The World Bank also recognised the UAE as one of the top 10 most improved business environments over the past year.
UAE also topped the list of countries in the Middle East and North Africa region Global Entrepreneurship Index Report 2016, and ranked 19th in the world ahead of countries such as Norway, South Korea, Turkey and Japan. According to the World Competitiveness Report 2016-17, the UAE is second only to Singapore in the Air Transport Infrastructure Quality index that measures the general level of infrastructure in airports and their compliance with international standards.
Reaffirming Dubai’s commitment to pursue its decades’ old policy of openness, His Highness said that the emirate will continue to embrace the world economy through welcoming trade, investment, people and ideas. Environmental sustainability is another guiding principle of the UAE 2021 National Agenda that was announced by HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to entrench the principle of sustainability in the march towards a diversified and competitive green economy in the UAE.