Abu Dhabi: The UAE government plans to increase the contribution of the non-oil sector to 80 per cent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) from the present figure of 70 per cent in the next 10 to 15 years, Minister of Economy Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri said.

Speaking at the Beirut Institute Summit in Abu Dhabi, Mansouri said the government has a policy of economic diversification to reduce dependence on oil to the overall GDP of the country.

“We want to increase the contribution of non-oil sector to 80 per cent from the present figures of 70 per cent in the next 10-15 years to the GDP. Our target is to reduce the contribution of oil sector to just 20 per cent to the overall GDP,” said Al Mansouri.

He said the growth rate recorded by the UAE economy last year was 4.6 per cent and the total GDP was $1.47 trillion.

“The country attracted foreign direct investment to the tune of $100 billion in the last ten years. We have become a favoured destination and ranked number one in the Middle East and Arab region in attracting FDI by World Economic Forum. It has a positive effect on the economy.”

“We have put an ambitious vision, purpose and agenda for each government body and the cabinet declared year 2014 as year of innovation. We plan to have 5 per cent of the total GDP from innovation by 2021.”

Lower oil prices and slow world economic growth, he said are the two most important challenges confronting the Arab region. “We have to be active, proactive in the political and economic situation. There must be solid infrastructure and logistical environment to achieve growth.”

“Our economy succeeded in maintaining high growth rate based on clear progressive vision and a clear goal.”

Gulf countries are feeling the heat after oil prices plummeted from $115 per barrel in last June to less than $50 per barrel in recent times.

The UAE and other Gulf countries are trying to diversify the economy and undertake reforms in subsidies in order to overcome revenue losses caused by lower oil prices.

The Beirut Institute Summit is a collaborative initiative to proactively influence future policies of the Arab region. The two day summit will end on Sunday. A number of policy experts are taking part in the summit.