Dubai: The UAE Economic Forum 2019, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, began at the Armani Hotel, Dubai, on Wednesday in the presence of Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai International Marine Club.
The two-day Forum, which has ‘The UAE Enterprising Economy: Resilience, Growth & Prosperity’ as its central theme, is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Economy as well as the economic departments in all the emirates. The Forum will continue its deliberations on Thursday.
Sheikh Mansour honoured the economic departments and the Ministry of Economy for their participation in the Forum and also the organisers and Technical Team of the Forum for their efforts.
The Forum builds on the success of the ‘Emirates Economic Planning Forum’ and the ‘UAE Economic Outlook’ during the last six years by combining them into a single event this year.
Abu Dhabi will host the UAE Economic Forum in 2020 followed by the other emirates in the coming years.
A landmark event in consolidating efforts towards achieving the goal set in the UAE National Agenda to make the country one of the most innovative in the world by 2021, the Forum features a series of discussions and dialogue sessions aimed to culminate in recommendations on policies and strategies that help accelerate and sustain economic growth nationally.
Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of Dubai Economy, stressed in his opening speech that the forum reflects the vision of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid in anticipating economic events globally and regionally as well as adapting to the changes and developing alternative analysis and scenarios for growth and prosperity
Al Qamzi continued: “At a time when many analysts are growing anxious about increasing uncertainty in the global economic scene, Dubai is witnessing economic growth supported by the insightful vision of the leadership and its directives that the emirate be a free and open economy and a magnet for local and foreign investments. It has also enabled us to achieve comprehensive and sustainable development based on innovation and high productivity, which balances the needs of the present and the future. We built on this basis a diverse base of economic activities with high added-value, which contributed to increasing the capacity of the local and national economy to grow and confront any internal or external shocks.”
Al Qamzi added: “The unique economic model paved the way for Dubai to occupy the highest rank in the most important global economic indicators, including the first in the Arab world, and the fourth globally in the economic performance in the ‘Dubai Competitiveness 2018’ report issued by the ‘International Competitiveness Centre’ of the International Institute for Management Development, IMD, located in Switzerland. Dubai also ranked first in the world among the top 20 cities for renewable energy investments, second in terms of economic prospects, and third in the world in terms of the number of new investment projects, according to the ‘Global Future Cities 2018 – 2019’ report, issued by the FDI Index benchmark of the Financial Times.
The latest studies conducted by the Dubai Economy revealed that Dubai’s economy is expected to grow at a rate of 2.1percent in 2019, 3.2 percent in 2020, and 3 percent in 2021 in light of external factors and the expected positive repercussions of the strategic initiatives launched by the Government of Dubai and the UAE, including launching long term residency to attract talent in all vital sectors of the national economy, 100 percent ownership offered to foreign investors, and hosting Expo 2020, for which the Government of Dubai has launched major infrastructure projects.
Mohammed Al Shehhi,Undersecretary for Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Economy, said: “The patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for this event reflects the significance of consolidated efforts in boosting the economy in the UAE. Today we are celebrating the success of the ‘Emirates Economic Planning Forum’ and the ‘UA Economic Outlook’ by merging the two events into a single forum under the auspices of the Ministry of Economy and the departments of economic development in all emirates, and thus starts a new journey of closer cooperation for further economic development in the country. “
Al Shehhi added that the UAE remained one of the most diversified economies in the region with a real growth of 1.3percent in non-oil GDP in 2018 while real GDP growth was 1.7percent. Non-oil sectors contributing more than 70 percent of UAE’s GDP today validate the leadership of the country in various vital economic sectors, such as tourism, industry, information and communications technology, small and medium enterprises, logistics, and financial services.
“Our vision for the future is optimistic, and through the pillars of the UAE vision 2021 and the UAE Centennial 2071, we work hard to achieve the goals of the country in the near term, and formulate strategies for the mid-to-longer term. The UAE under its pragmatic leadership is keeping pace with future trends and embracing advance technology to be in the forefront of the digital transformation happening worldwide,” Al Shehhi concluded.
Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa, Chairman of the Department of Economic Development, Abu Dhabi, in his opening address stressed that the ‘UAE Economic Forum’ marks the beginning of a unified interactive economic platform at the national level and added that Abu Dhabi hosting the next forum in 2020 will further enhance integration between national initiatives and strategic plans of the seven emirates as well as contribute to achieving economic interdependence in the UAE.
Elaborating on the endeavours made by the Department of Economic Development to build a diversified, competitive economy based on knowledge, development, and innovation, Al Shorafa aid overall, Abu Dhabi’s economy has been able to continue its growth and diversification while also remaining flexible and successfully responding to challenges. Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, in Abu Dhabi increased by 5 percent to reach about AED 105 billion by the end of 2018, despite the decrease in FDI flows worldwide by 13percent during the same year.
“Recently, government efforts, in cooperation with the private sector, have played an active role in accelerating the pace of economic growth in Abu Dhabi, despite unfavourable global, economic conditions. The real gross domestic product of Abu Dhabi increased by 1.9 percent to reach more than AED 797 billion by the end of 2018,” Al Shorafa said adding that most of the non-oil sectors in Abu Dhabi managed to maintain positive growth rates, especially manufacturing, which get at about 6 per cent at fixed prices, to raise its contribution to more than 12 percent of GDP.
Al Shorafa stated that the economy in Abu Dhabi is expected to continue its positive path to achieve a real growth rate exceeding 2 per cent by the end of 2019, supported by a positive momentum within the overall non-oil economic activities that are expected to grow at a rate of approximately 1.8 percent at constant prices by the end of this year. The emirate’s strategy to expand the production base and diversify income sources is successfully going in line with the long-term goals of the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030.