Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid and Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed attend the UAE Ministerial Retreat Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: The UAE leaders met Saturday to take part in brain-storming sessions on the post-oil economy at Bab Al Shams Desert Resort in Dubai. During the retreat, four working groups that included ministers, experts and general managers were formed to propose ideas and discuss initiatives.

The ministerial retreat was held in the presence of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

Both leaders took part in the retreat’s panel sessions, which aim to draw up a comprehensive national programme that ensures the diversification and sustainability of the country’s economy. The retreat, attended by officials from federal and local departments, will continue Sunday.

“As we used to be before, we are united under one roof with one vision and one future, Bab Al Shams is our springboard towards the UAE post-oil journey,” Shaikh Mohammad said.

The retreat began with a set of panel sessions. The first day of the retreat began with sessions in which participants looked at the current state of the UAE economy by reviewing the GDP growth rates since 1980, and the contribution of oil and non-oil sectors. One of the sessions was dedicated to highlighting opportunities for the development of the vital non-oil sectors in the UAE to contribute to strengthening the UAE’s position.

In 1980, the total GDP of the UAE was Dh555 billion; 21 per cent of the GDP came from non-oil sectors while 79 per cent came from oil. But in 2014, the UAE’s GDP was Dh1.154 trillion, with 69 per cent of this coming from the non-oil sector while the oil sector accounted for 31 per cent. Shaikh Mohammad said on Twitter: “The UAE’s GDP in 2015 is estimated to be with Dh1.5 trillion with 30 per cent of it from oil sector. We will not stop here, we are moving forward to reduce the oil contribution to our GDP.”

Another session discussed future scenarios for the UAE economy, highlighting the most important scenarios that could be adopted by the government to make a quantum leap in achieving positive changes in various sectors. The session also stressed the significance of developing national talent to lead these sectors.

Four working groups

During the retreat, four working groups that included ministers, experts and general managers were formed to propose ideas and discuss initiatives.

Lieutenant General Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, headed the group on human capital that aims to foster, attract and maintain talent and great minds.

The group on economy was presided over by Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, which discussed a knowledge-based economy built on innovation and modern technologies.

Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, chaired the “Government Polices” approach, which seeks to ensure financial sustainability of the government, and developing government facilities to prepare for an oil-free economy.

The “Community” group was led by Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister. The approach aims to promote the social welfare and diversify sources of income of Emirati families.

The UAE’s economy is distinguished by its resilience and balance. The UAE government had adopted resilient economic policies to diversify its economy, moving gradually away from dependence on oil and towards non-oil sectors to boost the national economy.

The UAE economy has shown remarkable stability driven by the government’s flexible economic policies over the past years, which are aimed at diversifying the economy.

The UAE government is working to establish a legal environment that supports economic growth and strengthens the country’s competitiveness in attracting investments. The non-oil sectors such as manufacturing, government services, infrastructure, and aviation have experienced significant transformation to become the best in the world.