Dubai: The non-oil sector has experienced positive growth during the first quarter of 2015, wrote Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in a note on the UAE economy.

“The UAE will also adhere to its long-term strategy to diversify its national economy, as the non-oil sector has achieved strong growth rates in GDP [at current prices] of 8.1 per cent in 2014,” he said in the note released on Saturday, adding that the contribution of the non-oil sector to the national economy has reached 68.6 per cent of constant-price GDP.

“We have put in place all the necessary plans to take that contribution to as high as 80 per cent in 2021 through intensive investment in the industrial and tourism sectors, air and maritime transport, import and re-export, as well as supporting a range of projects and initiatives based on the knowledge economy.”

Shaikh Mohammad wrote that by “developing new sectors, such as the Islamic Economy, and investing in innovation, content development and other such activities, our aim is to build towards economic diversity in 2021 in order to strengthen the economic and financial stability of the UAE and fortify ourselves against the inherent fluctuations and instabilities of world markets.”

“The strategic plans I have launched since I assumed the role of Prime Minister in 2006 have achieved many of their goals and objectives, as national production has risen from Dh1.3 trillion in 2006 to Dh2.5 trillion in 2014,” he wrote.

“The total manpower in the national labour market in 2014 reached 275,000 citizens, and we are aiming to take that number to 460,000 citizens by 2021.”

The note continued saying that production reached Dh450 billion in the manufacturing industries in 2014, up from Dh230 billion in 2006, and production in the construction sector has also grown.

Shaikh Mohammad also noted that the UAE in 2014 continued to attract great talent, leading the world as a preferred destination for talent and skills according to reports, with total compensation paid to employees in 2014 reaching Dh410 billion in all sectors, including Dh82 billion in the government sector.

“The UAE will continue implementing a long-term plan facilitating our transition to a knowledge economy — an area where the UAE is currently leading the Arab World — as we aim to triple national spending on research and development before 2021, increase the number of workers in that sector from the current 22 per cent to 40 per cent of the workforce over the next six years, and take the UAE from being the top of Arab countries in the Global Innovation index to being within the top ten countries in the world in 2021 in that same index,” he said.

Positive impact

He said that the fall in oil prices from $115 for Brent crude last July to the mid-60s, has had a positive impact on the growth of many economic sectors in the UAE in 2014, boosting the current-price growth rates for the transport and storage sector amounted to 10 per cent, up from 7.9 per cent in the previous year.

In the financial sector there has been double-digit growth in 2014 of some 15 per cent, with contributions to gross domestic product reaching Dh122 billion, he wrote.

In the tourism sector, the note said the UAE has continued to launch a wide range of tourism projects and entertainment destinations with some 20 million tourists visiting the seven emirates according to statistics issued by the local tourist authorities. The sector continues to consolidate the country’s status as one of the world’s most important travel destinations.

Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid ended the note by talking about the government’s focus on Emiratis.

“I would like to end my note by emphasising that we are continuing to work to achieve better standards of living for our people, providing the best environment for our investors, and creating the best destination for our visitors,” he said “The UAE continues to approach the world with open arms, providing a safe, productive and stable environment, supportive of regional and global initiatives that aim to achieve good for the people and stability for the nations of the world.”