The UAE posted its strongest-ever economic growth in 2014, with real gross domestic product up 4.6 per cent and nominal GDP reaching Dhs 1.47 trillion, the country’s VP, PM and Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum has said.
Quoting the figures from an upcoming National Bureau of Statistics report, Sheikh Mohammed wrote in a note published in official news agency WAM on Saturday that the decrease in oil prices had a positive impact on many economic sectors.
Current-price growth rates for the transport and storage sector amounted to 10 per cent, up from 7.9 per cent in the previous year, the wholesale and retail sector was at 8 per cent compared to 6.8 per cent in the previous year, and the construction sector rose 6.1 per cent compared to 3.4 per cent in 2013.
“This shows clearly the UAE’s economy is distinguished by its resilience,” Sheikh Mohammed wrote.
The financial sector also saw some 15 per cent growth in 2014 with its contribution to GDP reaching Dhs 122bn. In the tourism sector, the UAE recorded around 20 million visitors last year.
Production in the manufacturing industries reached some Dhs 450bn while production in the construction sector reached Dhs 295bn.
The UAE also continued to attract talent with total compensation paid to employees reaching Dhs 410bn in all sectors, including Dhs 82bn in the government sector.
Sheikh Mohammed added that the country is set to continue performing strongly in 2015.
“We expect to continue to achieve strong growth in 2015 as work continues on a large number of infrastructure projects, such as the expansion of national airports totalling Dhs 100bn and building the Union Rail Network, a project worth Dhs 40bn, in addition to roads and transport projects, new and improved tourist facilities, electronic infrastructure, real estate, and financial services.”
The rise in government spending and investment and the increase in government and private capital, which amounted to Dhs 353bn in 2014, also indicate continued strong growth in 2015.
He stressed that the UAE will adhere to its long-term strategy of diversifying its national economy. The contribution of the non-oil sector to the national economy has currently reached 68.6 per cent of the constant-price GDP.
“We have put in place all the necessary plans to take that contribution to as high as 80 per cent in 2021 through intensive investment in the industrial and tourism sectors, air and maritime transport, import and re-export, as well as supporting a range of projects and initiatives based on the knowledge economy,” he wrote.
“By developing new sectors, such as the Islamic economy, and investing in innovation, content development and other such activities, our aim is to build towards economic diversity in 2021 in order to strengthen the economic and financial stability of the UAE and fortify ourselves against the inherent fluctuations and instabilities of world markets.”
The UAE will also invest in transitioning to a knowledge economy and triple national spending on research and development before 2021. The country plans to increase the number of workers in the sector from the current 22 per cent to 40 per cent of the workforce over the next six years.
“I would like to emphasise that we are continuing to work to achieve better standards of living for our people, providing the best environment for our investors, and creating the best destination for our visitors,” Sheikh Mohammed added.