Abu Dhabi sees strong non-oil foreign trade growth in 2023
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Abu Dhabi sees strong non-oil trade growth amid diversification push

Abu Dhabi sees strong non-oil trade growth amid diversification push

The latest data from the statistics authority shows that non-oil foreign trade grew by more than Dhs281.9bn in 2023

Kudakwashe Muzoriwa
Abu Dhabi sees non-oil foreign trade growth of 8% in 2023

UAE’s capital Abu Dhabi posted full-year non-oil trade growth of 8 per cent in 2023, the government media office reported on Friday citing the emirate’s statistics agency.

The latest data from the Statistics Centre – Abu Dhabi (SCAD) shows that non-oil foreign trade grew by more than Dhs281.9bn in 2023 compared to Dhs260.4bn the previous year.

Last year, imports grew by 19 per cent to more than Dhs136.4bn from Dhs114.3bn in 2022 while re-export activities achieved a growth of 11 per cent to nearly Dhs52.4bn compared to Dhs47.2bn a year earlier.

Rashed Lahej Al Mansoori, director general of the General Administration of Abu Dhabi Customs said the growth rates reflect the emirate’s economic expansion across all sectors, which contributes an active role in driving the economic growth wheel of the country.

“This is driven by policies, decisions and strategic initiatives adopted by the federal government to create a business environment open to the global economies, thereby enhancing the country’s competitiveness,” Al Mansoori said.

Abu Dhabi plans to boost its annual non-oil exports to nearly $50bn by 2031, including in the food-processing, pharmaceuticals and chemicals sectors, Ahmed Jasim Al Zaabi, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) said in an interview with Bloomberg.

The government seeks to provide investment opportunities totalling more than $33bn by 2027 as part of its plans to boost non-oil exports, according to ADDED.

“Abu Dhabi witnessed significant growth in several key economic activities during 2023, which was directly reflected in the growth of foreign trade through the emirate’s ports,” said Abdulla Gharib Al Qemzi, acting director general of SCAD.

Al Qemzi said the growth reflects the ongoing economic diversification efforts, adding “With the acceleration of non-oil activities growth and a strong infrastructure supporting it, Abu Dhabi’s economic position on the global scale is further solidified.”

Abu Dhabi’s non-oil sector growth

 Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi’s private sector grew strongly, amassing $92.2bn, marking a 35 per cent increase compared to 2016, ADDED said earlier in April.

Supported by the private sector and family-owned businesses, Abu Dhabi’s non-oil sectors experienced a significant growth of 9.1 per cent during 2023, reaching $166bn and contributing 53.4 per cent of the total real GDP.

Family-owned businesses in the emirate represent 50 per cent of companies in the construction sector, which grew by 13.1 per cent in 2023 compared to 2022 to reach Dhs97bn; 60 per cent in the finance sector, which rose by 25.5 per cent to Dhs79bn; 80 per cent in the wholesale trade sector, which achieved a growth of 7.9 per cent to reach Dhs63bn; and 70 per cent in the transportation sector, which rose by 17.1 per cent last year.

Over the past decade, Abu Dhabi’s non-oil GDP has expanded by a robust 28.5 per cent to Dhs474.6bn in 2014 to Dhs610bn in 2023, and a 19 per cent jump in total real GDP, from Dhs960.1bn in 2014 to Dhs1.14tn in 2023.

Read: Abu Dhabi’s non-oil economy grew 12.3% in Q2 2023

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