Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy
FILE PICTURE - Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy also stressed the importance of multilateralism in a world driven by geopolitical and economic crises. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: The UAE’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 7.6 per cent in 2022, double more than the projected 3 to 4 per cent, said UAE Minister of Economy Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri.

“When the Central Bank (of UAE) and all the financial institutions in the country said in March last year that UAE’s GDP will grow at a rate of 3 to 4 per cent. Today, and this is not yet announced, we are looking at (growth rate of) 7.6 per cent,” said Al Marri.

“Foreign Direct Investment inflow was $9 billion in 2018, and last year at the year before, it was $20 billion. That’s doubling. The UAE is in the business of doubling and that’s something important to look at,” the Minister said during the opening session of Investopia 2023, which began today (March 2).

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Abu Dhabi is hosting the second edition of Investopia, under the theme ‘envisioning opportunities in times of change’, in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development.

26 new CEPAs in the pipeline

The Minister said at least 26 new Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements (CEPAs) are in the pipeline to bolster economic diversity and foreign investment. “We have already signed CEPAs with India, Indonesia, and Israel. And we are signing agreements with Turkey, Cambodia, Georgia, and Vietnam,” Al Marri said.

The UAE Minister of Economy, also Chairman of Investopia, said several steps had been taken to diversify the economy and steer it away from being oil and gas-driven. “In 1970, 70 per cent of UAE’s GDP came from oil and gas sectors. Today, it is only 30 per cent,” he added.

“Key economic sectors are witnessing a steady growth in the flow of investments, and several national companies are entering into partnerships with foreign firms,” said the Minister.

Fresh talent

Al-Marri also said that the 100 per cent business ownership law for mainland companies has resulted in 300,000 new businesses and circulated the economy better. “We recorded Dh2.2 trillion worth of trade,” the Minister added. He also credited the newly launched residency visas – golden, green, and the freelancer- that drew fresh talent into the country in large droves. “All this movement has contributed to economic growth,” he stated.