Economic data released earlier this week confirm that Abu Dhabi continues to enjoy a solid improvement with enhanced growth across all sectors. The data from Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi shows that the emirate’s gross domestic product (GDP) improved by 7.7 per cent year over year, reaching a record Dh911.59 billion in 2012, up from Dh846.68 billion in 2011.

While the data provide much food for thought, one trend that will please government officials and economics is that non-oil activities and sectors contributed about 43.5 of GDP in the emirate during 2012 at current prices. Given that the government is determined to diversify the emirate’s economy away from the oil sector, it will take solace from the fact that the non-oil sector increased 9.6 per cent — surpassing the best estimates that had been previously put to paper.

It is important to note, however, that oil will play and continues to do so a very significant proportion of the economic pie. The statistics authority noted that the price of the resource is still relatively high although a flattening is expected during 2013, given increased production from shale deposits and other supplies that had been affected by geopolitical events now being turned on again.

The data however also underlines that Abu Dhabi is robust and an attractive investment opportunity for those seeking a very safe haven from the turmoil elsewhere across the region. And with Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi coming on stream in the last quarters of 2012, trade and shipping figures also show that the non-oil sector of the emirate will continue to thrive and increased its share of GDP in the current and future years.

The intent of officials in Abu Dhabi was to significantly increase the growth rate of non-oil related economic sectors. Given that since 2005, non-oil sectors have increased 2.4 times, the diversification drive is well underway and is achieving substantial success, gaining traction with the recovery of trading levels with the gradual rebound of the global economy. This data show non-oil diversification is a winning policy.