The UAE’s economy is expected to grow by four per cent in 2012, according to Sultan Al Mansoori, the country’s Minister of Economy. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, he told reporters that the growth rate would be perfect under the current regional and global conditions, such as the Euro crisis.
Although the UAE is integrated with the global economy and is not immune to international challenges, Mansoori stressed that a positive outlook was essential. “We must be optimistic and look forward to growth and overcome various challenges, especially as the UAE has a diversified economy and at the same time is supported by oil resources,” official news agency WAM quoted him as saying.
Mansoori also said despite its problems, the Arab Spring threw open new opportunities for the UAE.
A “stable, secure state,” the country has seen immediate short-term benefits as investors look for safe havens, he said. But in the long term, all the regional economies would benefit from the transition, he added.
“The Arab Spring presents an opportunity for all governments to address pressing economic issues, including unemployment, corruption and stifling regulations that have held back growth,” he said, adding that the UAE would be open to offering advice to new regimes in the MENA region.
A recent report by Standard Chartered also recognised that the political turmoil in the region had to a ‘flight to safety’ effect on the UAE. While Abu Dhabi’s oil output increased to balance the lower output from Libya, Dubai saw non-oil sectors such as trade, tourism and retail growing. Overall, the UAE grew 3.8 per cent in 2011, said Standard Chartered.
However, the bank was pessimistic about 2012, forecasting that the UAE’s economy will only grow by 2.4 per cent due to a “more challenging global environment.”