ABU DHABI: The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the UAE has grown 236-fold in the 43 years since the establishment of the Federation, starting at just Dh1.77 billion in 1971, and is expected to reach Dh419 billion by the end of this year, Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, the UAE Minister of Economy, said on Monday.

Minister Al Mansouri expected the UAE economy to grow by 4.8 per cent this year. Looking ahead past 2014 and citing the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF’s) recent projections, he said the economy will continue to grow at a rate of between four and five per cent over the next seven years.

“This growth was made possible thanks to the federal government’s successful economic policies based on economic diversification and sustainable development in the country’s various sectors,” Al Mansouri told representatives of the local, regional and international media at a meeting hosted by the National Media Council (NMC) on the occasion of the UAE’s 43rd National Day.

“With this good performance, the general budget is expected to see a surplus of nine per cent of the GDP, double the figure of 2012.”

The Minister added that non-oil sectors now account for 69 per cent of the UAE’s GDP with oil accounting for the remaining third as the government continues its efforts to diversify away from oil and rely more on non-oil income.

Despite the positive growth rate, inflation rates are expected to remain between 2 and 3 per cent by the end of 2014, thanks to the flexibility of the UAE’s economy and the measures being taken by the government to curb price hikes.

“In the past ten years of the presidency of His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE has progressed by leaps and bounds in its quest for excellence which was launched by the nation’s founding father, the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan,” he said.

Al Mansouri also expected the UAE’s bulk commodity exports including oil to grow by 5.8 per cent to $381 billion this year, compared with $354 billion in 2013.