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THE ECONOMY - ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT


UAE participates in Hannover Messe 2014


posted on 06/04/2014

UAE is participating in Hannover Messe 2014, the world's leading trade fair for industrial technology, which will open on Monday in the German city of Hannover.
More than 6,000 exhibitors from all parts of the world will take part in the five-day exhibition, which is expected to be visited by more than 200,000 people. The lead theme and official motto for Hannover Messe 2014 is "Integrated Industry - NEXT STEPS".
The UAE participation in this exhibition is led by the Ministry of Economy and the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development and will feature 35 participating entities, including 19 industries.
This big participation aims at focusing on integration in all industrial sectors and availing of machines, industrial equipment, work pieces and system components, which will soon be able to exchange data in real time, and boost efficiency, safety and resource sustainability in production and logistics; the technological development which experts have dubbed the fourth industrial revolution.
Participants in Hannover Messe 2014, besides the Ministry of the Economy and the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, include the Higher Corporation for Specialised Economic Zones (ZonesCorp) which embraces 18 factories within its free zone, in addition to Kizad, Etihad Rail, Abu Dhabi Chamber, ADNOC Distribution, SENAAT General Holding Corporation, Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council, Ras Al Khaimah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ras Al Khaimah Free zone, Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dubai Silicon Oasis and Emirates Aluminium (Emal).
Hamad Abdullah Al Mass, Executive Director of International Economic Relations Sector, at Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development who is lead the UAE delegation said that the UAE participation comes at a time when the industrial sector in UAE and the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in particular, is experiencing a quantum leap in development and performance, and is registering remarkable growth.
The latest data and statistics confirmed the continued growth of the industrial sector, which contributed to UAE GDP by (13.4 per cent) at the end of 2012.
Al Mass said that Hannover Messe 2014 provides a valuable opportunity for UAE to benefit from industrial sophisticated technologies, and keep pace with advanced participating industries, especially the German technical and technological solutions which could contribute to the promotion and development of the industrial sector which is one of the most important strategic non-oil sectors in UAE.
He stressed that the industrial strategy 2011-2015 aims at building a dynamic and competitive industrial sector based on sophisticated methodologies and systems, contributing to development, strengthening competitiveness, upgrading the performance of the industrial sector and achieving sustainable development.
He explained that the Industrial Development Bureau of the Department of Economic Development, had identified 13 industrial sectors of focus in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, following the recommendations of the strategic plan for the Emirate; and reviewed plans of stakeholders in the industrial sector, with a view to identifying possible targets and industrial sectors that will contribute to achieving set economic goals, according to the determinants and pillars of Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030.
He pointed out that the targeted industrial sectors in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi include building materials, petrochemicals, engineered metal, iron and steel, plastic, aluminum, food industries, renewable energy, oil and gas, semiconductors, packaging industry, aviation and transportation equipment.
According to the report issued by the Studies Directorate on the occasion of the participation of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development in the Hannover Messe 2014, UAE is still the first trading partner of Germany in the Arab region in general, and the GCC countries in particular.
The National Bureau of statistics revealed that non-oil trade between UAE and Germany increased by 4.4% during the period (2007-2011), to mark Dh 32 billion in 2011; whereas non-oil trade between the two countries exceeded Dh 14 billion in the first six months of 2012.
Germany was ranked 10th in terms of the relative importance of UAE's foreign trade with the world during the same period. According the Ministry of Economy, UAE is Germany's first trade partner in the Gulf region. Total trade between the two countries grew by 125% between 2004 and 2012, as it amounted to ?10.5 billion (Dh 52.5 billion) at the end of 2012.
In terms exports to UAE, Germany was ranked 6th as one of the biggest exporters to the UAE during the first six months of 2012, as UAE imports from Germany reached Dh 13.4 billion. However, despite the increase in UAE exports to Germany by approximately 31% in 2011 compared to 2010, imports increased only by 3.3% during the same year, leading to a balance of trade deficit of Dh 29.1 billion.
The data showed that non-oil foreign trade of Abu Dhabi with Germany increased by 19.27% in 2013 compared to 2012. However; despite this improvement, non-oil trade between Abu Dhabi and Germany is still low compared to the total volume of non-oil foreign trade of UAE with Germany over the period (2010-2013).
Non-oil exports of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi to Germany did not constitute a significant proportion of total non-oil trade between the two sides, since it amounted to Dh 371.96 million, at the end of March 2013; while Abu Dhabi imports from Germany amounted to Dh 6.42 billion, to result in a trade deficit of Dh 5.68 billion with Germany during the same period in 2013.
Germany and UAE have strong trade and investment ties, especially that the number of German firms operating in the UAE, is estimated at 1,000 companies, most of which are based in free zones, particularly Jebel Ali free zone, Dubai Airport free zone and Ras Al Khaimah Emirate free zone.
The main activities practised by these companies include sales, distribution, marketing and services related to products and machines manufactured by companies in Germany.
The majority of these companies use their locations in UAE as regional centers for serving the Gulf region. Areas focused on by both countries include scientific research, energy and water desalination.
The Emirate of Abu Dhabi in particular owns shares in major investments and companies in Germany, such as International Plumbing Inc. in Dresden and Thuringia PV Cells.
Abu Dhabi's Future Energy Company "Masdar" which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of "Mubadala Development Company", entered into joint investments with German companies specialised in fields of renewable energy.
This resulted in the launching of several initiatives, such as the "Masdar" and Deutsche Bank Clean Tech Fund, which was launched with a view to creating a variety of investment partnerships and a stock portfolio, involving a number of top international companies specialised in clean and renewable energy technologies. The strategic partnership agreement between "Bayer Material Science AG", and "Masdar" for the production of environment friendly construction materials, is a model for efficient energy utilisation and cooperation to achieve sustainable development.
According to the report, Germany maintains a dynamic investment environment in Germany, and is well reputed as one of the best investment havens in the world.
Germany came in the first place among European countries, and was ranked fifth worldwide in terms of the "most attractive business locations" category. Several factors helped Germany to acquire this rank; most notably its strategic geographic location in Central Europe, having borders with nine European countries and the outstanding infrastructure.
Germany is considered as Europe's economic engine, and it comprises a significant local market, which allows easy access to the growing markets in the European Union.
German markets are open to investors to invest in all industrial sector activities, which made the country an attractive and secure location for investments. More than 55,000 foreign companies operate in Germany, and provide jobs for nearly three million people. During the period 2003-2010, FDI markets registered 3925 investment projects in 2929 foreign companies, which contributed to placing Germany in the fourth rank internationally in terms of attracting foreign direct investment projects in 2010. This emphasised the attractiveness of Germany as a location for international business.
Germany also features several advantages including low labor cost, qualified workforce, reduced tax levels, the state's support for research and development, in addition to the safe environment for investment, furthered by the enforcement and application of the property protection laws; and the protection of new technical inventions.
The German economy is diversified, where foreign companies invest in 39 different sectors. In 2011 investment projects in information and communications technology and software industry, captured 18 per cent, of total new investment projects, while business and financial services, automobile machinery and industrial equipment accounted for 15 per cent of total new enterprises.
Among the most important countries which invested in Germany in 2011 were the United States by 27 per cent, United Kingdom 9 per cent and Switzerland by 7 per cent of total investments.
UAE and Germany signed many agreements, including the agreement between the UAE and the German Ministries of Health, with the aim of strengthening cooperation and coordination between the two sides in various fields of human health, to facilitate the exchange of experiences and related projects and further cooperation in planning and hospitals management.
Other important agreements include the promotion and reciprocal protection of investments, cooperation in the field of military technologies and development of industrial technology, as well as the avoidance of double taxation.
Many memorandum of understanding boost cooperation between the two countries, such as the MoU between the UAE Ministry of the Economy and the Ministry of Economics and Technology in the Federal Republic of Germany, signed in 2010, to strengthen cooperation in the field of small and medium-sized enterprises; in addition to the memorandum of understanding between the UAE University and the Technical University of Berlin, which aims at promoting education and cooperation in research between the two countries.
Relations are also furthered by the memorandum of understanding between the UAE National Transport Authority and the Federal Republic of Germany, to strengthen cooperation and exchange experience in the transportation, railways sector, transportation security and technology systems. The memorandum of understanding between the Securities '&' Commodities Authority (SCA) and the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) came with a view to reinforcing cooperation in training of technical personnel and exchanging of experience, information and consultation between both entities on matters relating to the regulation and supervision of securities markets in both countries.
Most important and leading industries in Germany include automobile, machine-building, electronic technologies, chemicals among other industries. Manufacturing constituted 28.1per cent of GDP in 2012, while 24.6% of the labor force works in industry. Small and medium sized enterprises, together with large global companies, compose the backbone of the German economy.
Many of these SMEs companies are highly specialised, and occupy leading positions in the world, such as Bayer, Daimler, Volkswagen and Siemens.
On the investment side, according to the UNCTAD World Investment Report 2008, Germany is home to 13 of the largest 100 transnational corporations in the world, and it is considered as a global investment attraction center. Total FDI in Germany amounted to US$998 billion in 2011, which placed Germany in the fifth rank worldwide on the list of countries most attractive to foreign direct investment flows. The value of mergers and acquisitions, (M'&'A) purchased across the border by Germany in 2012, amounted to US$15.4 billion, against what was sold for US$7.72 billion.
Two-thirds of the world famous fairs are organised in Germany, which makes the German economy open to the world in an unparalleled way. Germany also tops the list of patents registered in international markets, which helped Germany to benefit from the results of scientific research and the intensive collaboration between science and industry; which enabled accessing advanced ranks among world leading economies. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Qualitative performance must to achieve UAE Vision 2021: Al Mansouri


posted on 05/04/2014

In line with UAE Vision 2021, and the national agenda to step-up the delivery of all government services, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, the UAE Minister of Economy, has reiterated his keenness to elevate the ministry's quality of services to world-class standards.
Emphasising his commitment to conforming to the ‘Emirates Government Service Excellence Programme' to meet the aspirations and expectations of concerned stakeholders, he shared that the ministry's migration to e-services is nearing completion, allowing easy access to its key services through smartphones and other intelligent devices.
He also called for greater effort, qualitative performance and professional commitment from all employees and stakeholders to facilitate the Ministry of Economy to achieve the strategic vision of the country's leadership.
He said this during his visit to the ministry's offices in Ajman, which has earned a four-star rating from the Emirates Government Service Excellence Programme.
During his visit, the minister toured the facilities and departments of the ministry's offices in Ajman and listened to suggestions and challenges faced by employees in carrying out their responsibilities on an ongoing basis. Al Mansouri also received customer feedback on the ministry's services and the problems encountered by customers in interacting with its employees.
The minister particularly commended the efforts of Shaikh Sultan bin Saqr Al Nuaimi, Director of the ministry's office in Ajman, in ensuring the delivery of high quality services.
On his part, Eng Mohammed Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz Al Shehhi, Undersecretary of UAE Ministry of Economy, praised the efforts of the Ajman office in adopting various electronic applications to facilitate the provision of select services. He assured that all services provided by the ministry will soon be available online through implementing integrated and data-connected mechanism between the Ajman office, the ministry headquarters and the concerned federal entity. – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/biz/inside.asp?xfile=/data/uaebusiness/2014/April/uaebusiness_April81.xml§ion=uaebusiness

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Abu Dhabi ratings affirmed at ‘AA/A-1+’


posted on 05/04/2014

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services affirmed its ‘AA/A-1+' long-and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The outlook is stable.
The ratings on Abu Dhabi are supported by its strong fiscal and external positions, which afford it fiscal policy flexibility. The exceptional strength of its net asset positions also provides a buffer to counter the negative impact of oil price volatility on economic growth and government revenues, as well as on the external account.
Abu Dhabi is one of the world's wealthiest economies, we estimate GDP per capita at $103,000 in 2014. The underpinnings of economic growth have strengthened since 2010, supported by the expansion in oil production, high public spending, and a broadening of the economy's production base, including services and manufacturing.
Real growth (that is, adjusted for inflation) and nominal growth levels have been robust.
We believe that in a heavily resource-endowed economy such as Abu Dhabi, nominal GDP growth — which averaged 13% annually during 2006-2012 — is a better measure of prosperity and could substantially cushion potential risk.
Assuming an oil export price of $100 per barrel this year, we estimate the fiscal surplus at 12% of GDP (including petroleum dividends and investment income) in 2014. We expect the fiscal surplus to average 10% of GDP in 2014-2017, helping to further bolster the emirates net asset position, which we estimate at 218% of GDP over the same period.

Regulations
By implementing regulations for public-sector debt, the government has strengthened its oversight over public-sector debt levels and aims to ensure sustainability and prevent financial stresses in the GREs.
We note that the government is considering the regular issuance of domestic debt from 2014 to strengthen domestic capital markets.
The government has made some progress in strengthening its economic institutions. It has established a debt management office, undertaken a public expenditure review, and set up a medium-term budget framework.
The stable outlook reflects our view of balanced risks to the ratings. We believe that Abu Dhabi's economy will remain resilient and its fiscal policy will remain prudent and flexible.
We could consider raising the ratings if there were significant improvements in data transparency, including on fiscal assets and external data. Moreover, measures to improve the effectiveness of monetary policy, such as developing domestic capital markets, could eventually be positive for the ratings. – Reuters/The Gulf Today - http://gulftoday.ae/portal/7f1481f4-44ea-4b08-a65b-cc13e1277d2d.aspx

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Centre for Economic Growth launched in Abu Dhabi


posted on 25/03/2014

Business leaders, senior officials and academic experts convened on Monday in Abu Dhabi for the launch of the Centre for Economic Growth (CEG) in partnership with the INSEAD international business school.
The Centre for Economic Growth (CEG) is the first of its kind in the region as a collaboration between the region's private sector and a business school to provide research and publications on the key economic issues for the region, including enhancing economic growth and job creation.
After welcome remarks from Dr. Arif Al Hammadi, Executive Director of Higher Education at Abu Dhabi Education Council, the attendees heard a keynote speech by Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, who gave insights into the challenges the region faces in improving economic growth and creating job opportunities, while highlighting the experience and success of the UAE Economy and the key lessons for the wider region.
Al Mansouri said during his speech that the UAE's top priority is to build national capacity and to direct its human energies towards a horizon of excellence, innovation and leadership: "The UAE leadership historically views human development as key. It is a crucial precursor to economic growth and development,” he said.
On the importance of SMEs, Al Mansouri added, "Taking the UAE as an example, small and medium-sized businesses represent 92 per cent of the trade sector and contribute 60 per cent to our country's GDP. SMEs are also responsible for 86 per cent of private sector employment”.
There followed a high level panel on the topic of "Tackling Youth Unemployment through Enhanced Investment and Growth”, comprising CEOs of major regional companies in different sectors including retail, contracting, and private equity, as well as senior officials from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
The Centre for Economic Growth (CEG), which will be at INSEAD's Abu Dhabi campus, will address the need for timely and independent data, economic research and provide a new platform for private sector engagement on economic priority issues including youth unemployment, enabling job creation and enhancing sustainable economic growth.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has estimated that many countries in the Middle East and North Africa region need to have economic growth of seven per cent a year just to keep unemployment from rising further, whereas average forecasted growth for the region in 2014 is only 3.2 per cent and for many countries even lower than that. In addition the major challenge of creating 50 million new jobs for young people across the region in the next decade, and 100 million over the next two decades, is well-known.
"This new centre will provide original research and data on the key economic issues of the region, and marks an important collaboration in line with INSEAD's strategy and global perspective,” said Prof. Ilian Mihov, Dean of INSEAD. "The Abu Dhabi campus is our regional hub and this important new initiative will provide a platform to share ideas and best practice, while deepening our engagement with companies from the region.”
"The economic challenges facing our region require the engagement of all sides to achieve success, including the private sector, governments and the academic world,” said Majid Jafar, CEO of Crescent Petroleum and Founding Chair of the CEG Business Council. "The CEG will enhance cooperation and dialogue between all sectors while producing new research and publications relevant to the region and encouraging the positive contribution of the private sector to the discussion, in order to enhance the objectives of achieving higher investment and economic growth.”
The Centre for Economic Growth (CEG) will develop new data resources and present recommendations based on careful analysis, with a view to enhancing decision-making and understanding of economic development in the region. It will provide a forum for discussion and input from different stakeholders including the private sector, government and academia, and will allow for exchange of regional and global best practice and expertise. The centre will also form collaborations with other leading universities, international institutions and multinational corporations. – Emirates 24│7 – Read more: http://www.emirates247.com/business/economy-finance/centre-for-economic-growth-launched-in-abu-dhabi-2014-03-24-1.542853

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UAE Economic Prospects Forum 2014 highlights UAE, Abu Dhabi and Dubai economies during the period 2013-2017


posted on 04/02/2014

Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development and Dubai Department of Economic Development organised yesterday at the Emirates Palace Hotel, in Abu Dhabi the "UAE Economic Prospects Forum 2014" which reviewed the future prospects for the UAE in the light of the economic indicators and the economic progress achieved by the national economy under the developments of the global economy.
The forum was opened by Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, the Minister of Economy, in the presence of Nasser Ahmed Alsowaidi, the Chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, Sami Al Qamzi, the Director General of Dubai Department of Economic Development, Mohammed Omar Abdullah, the Undersecretary of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, a number of senior officials in the State and the ambassadors of sisterly and friendly countries to UAE.
The minister of economy in his opening speech of the forum, expressed his thanks to the Departments of Economic Development in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, for their initiative and the preparation and organisation of this important forum, which reflects the positive image of constructive cooperation between local government departments.
He said that this event also shows the keenness of the two departments, to lay solid cooperation and coordination for the benefit of the national economy, and to consider together in an affirmative way the international experiences in economic diversification policies and approaches, which are adopted and practically applied in the country, and to review future prospects for attracting direct investment and further and promote development.
The minister pointed out that the forum comes at a time when the UAE is experiencing many developments, and moving ahead at a steady pace, which enabled it to assume a prominent place amongst the countries of the world, excelling in various economic and social areas and fields, the latest of which was gaining the confidence of the world, by hosting Expo 2020 in Dubai. This in itself is an international recognition of the of UAE's civilised and prominent status on the world map.
He said that due to peace, security, economic and social stability and sophisticated infrastructure enjoyed by the United Arab Emirates, the country was able to realise great achievements in all fields and at all levels, despite the difficulties which the world economy recently experienced, and the repercussions which reflected negatively on most countries at varying degrees.
The minister said that the UAE economy has achieved remarkable progress in 2013, where GDP rose to more than Dh4.1 trillion growing at 4% according to the IMF data, which was a relatively good rate of growth in view of the unstable global economic conditions. However, the non-oil sectors contribution to growth was considerably high, reaching 7% in some sectors 7%, while sectors of tourism, industry and finance came on top of the sectors.
The minister of economy said that the activities of the Emirates securities market increased, and that Dubai Financial Market was ranked first topping all international exchange markets by a growth rate which exceeded 106%. Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange also grew by 63%.
The minister added that the economic analysis and expectations indicated that the UAE economy will continue to achieve positive growth rates in 2014, driven by results which were achieved in previous years, while oil prices are projected to remain high, with anticipated recovery of the world economy.
Al Mansouri said that non-oil sectors are expected to achieve higher growth rates compared to last year, and this could be evidenced from the indicators of these sectors. For the manufacturing sector for example, is expected to become in the coming years the largest aluminium producer in the world, while the specialised industrial cities and the specialised industries quality industries, such as shipping and aircrafts will greatly raise the contribution of the sector to GDP and will boost diversification of the sources of income.
He expected that the tourism and travel sector will also continue to grow considerably, in view of the transformation of the UAE into an international touristic destination, and the hosting of Expo 2020 in Dubai, pointing out that the number of passengers across the airports of UAE reached about 90 million 2013.
The minister of economy expected that the general budget would achieve a surplus of 9% of GDP, which is twice the level achieved in 2012.
He added that the foreign trade sector, in which UAE enjoys a great competitive advantage, will expectedly grow in 2014, as commodity exports are anticipated to increase, as well as oil exports by 5.8 % to Dh1.4 trillion in the current year, compared to Dh1.3 trillion in 2013.
The minister said that due to the expected economic recovery, and the predicted increase in re-exports, imports are also anticipated to rise tremendously this year to nearly Dh885 billion compared to Dh797 billion last year.
The minister of economy explained that in spite of the positive growth rates and the accompanying increase in domestic demand, it is expected that inflation rate will not exceed 2% in 2014, due to the flexibility of the national economy, and the ability to take appropriate measures to control prices and curb inflation. Accordingly the minister expected that the markets of the State will be attractive to foreign investments, as well as various non-oil sectors, especially the tourism, real estate, construction and financial sectors, in view of the growth of foreign direct investments by 20% in 2013, which is expected to increase to Dh44 billion in 2014.
The minister noted that according to the report issued by the World Bank in the last Quarter of 2013; it is expected that the national economy will grow by 5% in 2014, to form one of the propellers of the world economy with the rest of GCC economies.
In this context, the minister expected that the national economy would continue its positive performance in the coming years and post high rates of growth in the range of 4.5% and 5% during the period between 2015 and 2018, expecting that the GDP would reach Dh1.7 trillion which will enable the UAE to maintain its position as second largest economy in the Arab world.
"We were able in a short period of time to achieve advanced ranks in international indicators, which shows the huge capabilities of our economy, especially with regards to the global competitiveness index, in which UAE ranked 19th among 148 countries, and acquired the 23rd rank in the Ease of Doing Business Index. UAE came ranked first in the index of confidence in government and economy issued by the American company "Edelman", the minister said.
He also added that those achievements were attained through restless efforts and persistence, noting that among the most important reasons for this marvellous performance, are the sound infrastructure, the low custom fees, the availability of free and specialised free zones, the free economy and the openness towards the world.
The minister stressed the determination of the United Arab Emirates to continue boosting and enhancing the investment climate to expedite achieving it set goals. He pointed out that the Ministry of Economy, in the past few years prepared a package of legislation which is expected to contribute to stimulate the economy and to protect and develop the business environment.
The Ministry of Economy embarked recently on the preparation of the Investment Law in collaboration with partners and strategic stakeholders, and the Completion Law which was issued lately, in addition to the Arbitration Law, the SMEs draft law, and a number of other legislations.
The minister said that the adoption and entrenchment of the concept of knowledge was focused on as one of the critical means for improving and enhancing competitiveness, raising productivity and benefiting from latest scientific and technological developments rapidly, as knowledge today plays a key role in all activities related to Each production of commodities and services, operations, management, administration, services, transport, marketing, financial transactions and human resource management; thus enabling efficient use of resources and achieving goals and objectives.
He said that in order to realise and achieve qualitative excellence, localise knowledge and deepen the use of knowledge in production operations, we need to strengthen partnership between private and public sectors and re-direct and encourage the private sector to investment in elements of knowledge and productivity, and the development of human resources academically and professionally.
The minister stressed that 'We pay great attention to the human element as an axis in the knowledge economy, and to supporting SMEs, developing legal frameworks for the knowledge economy, utilising international expertise and best Practices, increasing private and public spending for scientific research programs, establishing research centres at the federal and local levels and direct investment opportunities towards knowledge fields of economic and social development.
Al Mansouri noted that the National Agenda for the UAE Vision 2021 that was launched recently, stands as an ambitious plan for achieving economic and social goals, and reaching the set expectations in all areas, as it aims at achieving annual 5% real growth in non-oil sectors.
The minister added that the agenda aims at raising the contribution of SMEs to reach 70% of GDP, doubling the rate of employed nationals in the private sector and the rate of Emiratisation in the private sector, achieving advanced positions in the index of business leadership, the index of innovation, the index of the knowledge and doubling the rate of spending on scientific research, as well as the indices of transport, communication, water and Electricity to advanced global rankings and paying great attention to the social dimension through advancing health, and services to the highest standards and levels.
The minister of economy concluded his speech by saying, "Our future ambitions have no borders and will not be deterred by obstacles, as we draw inspiration from our leaders and their persistence and dedication. We aim at leadership, and being the first, taking the number "1" as the target which prompts all of us to cooperate , and be armed with knowledge, and diligent.
For his part, Alsowaidi delivered a speech during the opening session of the forum in which he said; "through this forum, which is the first of its kind, we will highlight the economic prospects for the United Arab Emirates in 2014, which runs and enjoys at the moment one of the most dynamic and strong economies not in the Middle East alone, but also in the world as whole".
Alsowaidi said that this forum comes as a result of joint cooperation and culmination of the efforts, which crown the continuous coordination between local government entities, and enhances the harmony of the Union march of our beloved Emirates in the various fields of development and giving laid by the Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and built and raised by the restless efforts of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and his brother, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Chairman of the Executive Council of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
According to Alsowaidi, the economic growth and rapid development of UAE's economy for more than four decades resulted in the improvement of the UAE position on the map of the global economy, as the United Arab Emirates, in a comparatively short span of time, was able to achieve quality great leaps in the field of economic progress and prosperity, through the developments and achievements in various spheres of life, and its citizens assumed leading positions and advanced ranking among nations in terms of wealth and prosperity, as the State has fulfilled the ambitions of its people of further development and well-being, which emphasises its international status and places them on top as the most happy people of the world.
Alsowaidi added that the State has achieved advanced positions in various global indicators, such as competitiveness index, the ease of doing business, economic freedom and, trade across the borders, in equal footing with and sometimes outweighing in many cases the major western economies, noting that the State confidently set its unique development model over the years, and is forward looking to a bright future and the thriving economic prospects.
Alsowaidi explained that the emirate of Abu Dhabi is witnessing a new phase of expansion and economic development, based on the vision of the leadership of the emirate, embodied in the economic vision of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi 2030, which aims primarily at moving the economy into a new phase of development entitled the "knowledge-based economy." He said that by tracing the economy of the emirate of Abu Dhabi, one finds that every day the economy continues to achieve quantity and quality breakthrough of excellence in various fields, in order to realise economic diversification, in the light of the numerous achievements on the path of economic development and remarkable growth rates, especially the huge development projects which were directed mostly toward non-oil activities.
Alsowaidi noted in this context the ambitious policy adopted by the government of Abu Dhabi over the past few years to diversify the economy, exploiting the available resources and the competitive advantages, that contributed to creating many investment opportunities in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, which coincided with the orientations of the Government of Abu Dhabi, to stimulate and encourage the private sector to create real and effective partnership, support the development process of the emirate, create an inviting, efficient and attractive environment for the business, and to integrate into the global economy.
Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of Dubai Department of Economic Development in Dubai, said that the economy of the emirate of Dubai has witnessed a renewed vitality in the recent period, as Dubai GDP grew in accelerated pace during the period 2012-2013. Average growth reached nearly 7.4 per cent per annum, which is considered as a good performance in view of the international economic climate, and crisis in the European Union and the slowing growth in a number of emerging countries.
Al Qamzi added, "the sectors of tourism, trade, transport, communications, logistics, achieved the highest levels of growth in the past two years, with the gradual recovery of both the construction and the real estate sector. Dubai boosted its position as a regional centre for services and goods and as an ideal destination for foreign visitors, which led to high growth in value added at an average rate of 15% for the hospitality sector for the second year in a row" Al Qamzi predicted that this steady growth will continue in Dubai at 7.4 % in 2014, and to accelerate In the coming years , with the hosting of Expo 2020 and the anticipated improvement in the global economy.
"Dubai's economy has proved its resilience and shown remarkable growth appetite in the last two years. GDP growth indeed accelerated in the years 2012-2013, averaging nearly 4.7 per cent per year, which was a good performance in view of persistent recovery problems in the EU and the slowdown in emerging countries," he said.
Al Qamzi added: "The key sectors leading growth in Dubai have been tourism, trade, transportation, logistics and communication, with construction and real estate lagging behind until recently. In the last two years, Dubai has consolidated its position as a regional hub for services and goods and a major destination for international visitors, leading to double-digit growth in the hospitality sector for the second consecutive year.
'We expect growth to remain steady, at about 4.7 per cent in 2014, with likely acceleration in the following years, as Dubai gears up for Expo 2020 and the global economic environment improves".
Under the title "A shining view of the economic development journey of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and its future prospects for 2014-2017", Ms Shorooq Abdullah Al Zaabi, Head of the Development Indicators and Future Studies, at the Planning and Statistics Division of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development in, gave a presentation on the most important economic forecasts for the emirate during the period 2014-2017.
Shorooq Alzaabi in her presentation stressed that the UAE economy, to which the Emirate of Abu Dhabi contributes about two-thirds of the UAE GDP, has become the focus, and gained respect and attention of the international community, as confirmed by many global economic indicators, such as the competitiveness index, the ease of doing business, the financial development and other indicators, which were the fruits of the efforts exerted by the leadership of the State, which always aims at raising the standard of living of citizens and residents in the UAE, where the people of the State sit on top of the happiest people in the world and its sisterly Arab countries.
Shorooq reported that these developments are reflected in the various economic indicators, such as gross domestic product, and economic diversification, and the development of infrastructure and other; all of which emphasise the proven fact that the welfare of the citizens of the UAE is the goal and the purpose sought by the wise government and sagacious leadership of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of State.
Shorooq Al Zaabi shed light on the entering of the economy of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, into a new phase of development and progress, along the successful path towards shifting to a sustainable economy based on knowledge according to the determinants of the of Abu Dhabi economic Vision 2030.
Shorooq highlighted the results of the economic forecasts for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi for the period Future 2013-2017, and initiated a review of the most important developments in the world oil market, which stresses the importance of the extractive activities contribution by about 50% to the GDP of the emirate.
Shorooq pointed out to concrete increase witnessed by the crude oil production in the emirate in 2013, in order to fill the gap in the global supply of oil, expecting to see oil production in the emirate returning again to its natural growth rates by 5.3% in the period 2014-2017, taking into account the increase in global oil supplies in North America, especially from non-conventional sources of oil such as oil and shale gas.
As for oil prices, Shorooq Alzaabi stated that projections indicate a decline in oil prices during the year 2014 to around US$103 a barrel, compared to about US$109 a barrel in 2013, with the expectation that this downward trend in oil prices will continue until 2017 to reach about US$95 a barrel.
She said that the economic forecasts for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi indicate that the growth rate of GDP at current prices will yield 6.6% in 2013 versus 7.7% in 2012, and the slowdown is due mainly to the decline in oil prices in 2013 compared to 2012, noting that this the rate remains within the level of expectations targeted by Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030.
Shorooq added that economic forecasts indicate that it is expected to achieve a GDP growth rate at current prices at an average of 6.7% during the period 2013-2017. Shorooq said that the Economic forecasting of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi shows the escalation of the growth of GDP at constant prices, as it achieved 4.7% in 2013 versus 6.5% in 2012, with increased amounts of production of crude oil in 2013, to slow down to reach to about 7.6% in 2014 with the expectation of slower growth in the volume of daily production of crude oil, to grow at the rate of 3.7% on average during the period 2013-2017.
On the non-oil sector side, economic forecasts indicate that of Abu Dhabi non-oil GDP will grow at current prices to reach 3.10% in 2013 versus 6.9% in 2012, and to continue to reach 2.11% in 2014, and then to achieve 3.12% on average during the period 2013-2017.
As for non-oil GDP growth in real terms, forecasts indicate that growth will reach 9.8% in 2013 versus 7.7% in 2012, and to continue grow to around 0.10% in 2014, driven by announced government investments. Accordingly, it is expected to achieve an average growth rate of 4.10% during the period 2013-2017. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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UAE to grow 4.5% in 2014, economy to remain strong


posted on 03/02/2014

IMF raises growth outlook for Arab world's second largest economy.
Driven by an ongoing momentum in the non-oil economy, the UAE economy will remain strong in 2014, the International Monetary Fund, or IMF, said as it revised upward the growth of Arab world's second largest economy to 4.5 per cent from 3.9 per cent forecast four months ago.
The latest upbeat projection from the Washington-based organisation was in the wake of a recent UAE visit by an IMF mission led by Harald Finger to review macroeconomic and financial sector developments.
"Economic growth in the UAE is expected to remain strong. The economy is estimated to have grown by 4.5 per cent in 2013, supported by tourism, hospitality and real estate. We expect real GDP (gross domestic product) growth to remain firm at 4.5 per cent this year,” Finger said after the conclusion of his meetings.
The IMF mission, during its visit in the last week of January, met with Sultan bin Nasser Al Suwaidi, Governor of the UAE Central Bank; Younis Haji Alkhoori, Undersecretary, Ministry of Finance; other senior government officials, and representatives from the business and financial community.
"The real estate sector in particular has seen a steep recovery, with prices in the Dubai residential real estate market having increased rapidly in selected areas,” Finger noted in a statement.
While there will continue to be a momentum in the non-oil economy, further growth in oil production could be limited in the context of an amply supplied global oil market, the IMF mission head said. "Inflation is expected to increase moderately, driven by rising rents,” Finger said.
"Looking ahead, growth in the coming years will benefit from a number of megaprojects and Dubai's successful bid for the Expo 2020. The total cost, pace of execution, and financing of the new megaprojects remain uncertain. If not implemented prudently, these projects could exacerbate the risk of a real estate bubble. Moreover, these projects may create additional financial risks for Dubai's government-related entities (GREs) and the banking system in light of the still considerable debt overhang from the 2009 crisis,” Finger said.
The IMF observed that fiscal policy adequately continued to unwind the large expansion that was put in place in the wake of the 2008-09 global financial crisis.
The budget execution of the federal and emirates governments for the first nine months of 2013 was broadly in line with spending plans.
"The increase in Dubai's real estate registration fees from two to four per cent last October was a welcome step in addressing speculation in the real estate market, and further increases could be contemplated in case the pace of price increases does not abate sufficiently. While 2014 budgets for some emirates are not yet available, we understand that the trend of consolidation is planned to continue this year,” Finger said.
The IMF official pointed out that newly implemented regulations on loan concentration and real estate exposure for banks would help protect the soundness of the banking system, which has remained amply capitalised and liquid.
"The new loan concentration limits will help contain risks to banks' balance sheets in the context of the newly planned megaprojects. It will now be important to agree, as planned, on transition paths for banks that are currently not meeting the new limits. The new maximum loan-to-value ratios for mortgage lending will provide banks with a buffer against undue exposures, while also helping to limit the degree of speculation in the real estate market. Looking ahead, the Central Bank could consider further tightening these rules if price increases in the real estate market remain very large.”
Recently, EFG Hermes raised growth forecast for the UAE from 4.7 per cent to 5.4 per cent following Dubai's successful Expo 2020 bid.
Propelled by huge non-oil sector investments, continued buoyancy in trade and services, and a booming tourism industry, the UAE has been on a firm growth trajectory. The UAE has already set into motion a strategy to further reduce the dependence on oil to 10 per cent in future. The Ministry of Economy said in a report that the UAE's economy has grown exponentially by nearly 231 times since the federation was set up in 1971 and the growth catapulted the country to emerge as the second largest Arab economy. From Dh6.5 billion in 1971, the UAE's GDP is estimated to have touched all time high of Dh1.45 trillion in 2013. – Khaleej Times – Read more: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/biz/inside.asp?xfile=/data/uaebusiness/2014/February/uaebusiness_February37.xml§ion=uaebusiness

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UAE Economic Prospects Forum 2014 to highlight UAE national economy developments


posted on 29/01/2014

The UAE Economic Prospects Forum 2014 is set to be launched next Monday at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi. The Forum will be organised by Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development and Dubai Economic Development in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
The Forum aims at reviewing the economic prospects of the UAE for the year 2014, in the light of the new developments and future expectations of the global economy; and will also address the most important economic developments and future prospects in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
The Forum will explore the most important lessons learned from international experiences in economic diversification, and the efforts of the State in opening new horizons for direct invest opportunities, in order to speed up the process of economic diversification in UAE.
In his opening address Sultan Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, will highlight the major economic developments in the UAE, in view of the projects undertaken in all Emirates.
Nasser Ahmed Alsowaidi, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, will deliver a speech to shed light on the Emirate of Abu Dhabi's new phase of expansion and economic development, outlined by the vision of the leadership of the Emirate, and the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, which aims at shifting economy to a new phase of development based on knowledge.
Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of the Dubai Department of Economic Development will deliver a speech to highlight the economic developments in Dubai and in the light of its promising development projects, which will contribute to attracting investment and promoting Dubai's position as a prominent trading and investment center in the region and the world.
A number of government officials and elite of global and local economic experts and representatives of the business community and financial institutions will participate in the Forum, which will include two dialogue sessions. The first session will address the 2014 economic prospects of U.A.E, through presentations, which will be started by Dr. Farooq Iqbal; the Regional Director of the World Bank, who will concentrate on the global economic prospects as a reference for the UAE economy. Ms. Shorooq Al Zaabi, Head of the of Development Indicators and Future Studies Division at Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, will give a presentation on the economic prospects of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in 2014.
The session will include a presentation on the economic prospects of the Emirate of Dubai in 2014 to be delivered by Dr. Mohamed Lahlool, Chief Economist at Dubai Department of Economic Development, in addition to a presentation on the prospects for the development of the UAE economy in the light of global macroeconomic transformations, which will be given by Dr. Marios Maratheftis, Regional Director of Research at Standard Chartered Bank.
The Forum will also includes a second session entitled "The Economic Diversity in UAE...Opportunities and Prospects " in which Dr Tan Khai Giap, Associate Professor and Director, Institute for Competitiveness, Chairman of the National Committee for Economic Cooperation Singapore, and Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, will give a presentation on the "Lessons from the International Experience in Economic Diversity". This will followed by Dr. Al Hassan Jouaouine, Senior Advisor for International Economic Relations at Ministry Of Economy, with a presentation entitled "Strategy and Challenges of Economic Diversification in UAE".
The session will include a presentation entitled "Towards a Future with more Economic Diversification in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi" by Mr. Ayman Makawi, Director General of the Industrial Development Bureau of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development. A special paper on "Expo-Dubai 2020 tilted" Will Expo - Dubai 2020 Enhance the Chances of Diversity for the Economy of the UAE?" Mr. Simon Williams, Chief Economist at the HSBC Bank will highlight the future of economic diversity and its effects on the promotion of FDI in the UAE
The Forum will conclude with a final discussion session on the UAE's learnt lessons, the options of economic diversity in UAE, the management of external economic shocks and mitigation of its effects. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –

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UAE poised for another year of strong growth


posted on 24/01/2014

The UAE economy enjoyed a robust growth of 4.6 per cent last year and is expected grow at the similar rate in 2014 according to the latest forecast by Emirates NBD's economic research section.
"Looking ahead, we expect growth at a similar pace [like last year] this year. The oil sector is unlikely to contribute significantly to the UAE's growth in 2014, as substantial increases to crude output in 2011-2013 are now in the base, and supply from Iran, Iraq and Libya is expected to rise this year. We have assumed the UAE's oil production will increase by around 2 per cent this year,” said Khatija Haque, Head of Mena Research at Emirates NBD.
In 2013 oil production increased and the domestic and regional economic recovery boosted the non-oil sectors of the economy. The UAE's oil production rose by an estimated 4.7 per cent in 2013, well above most forecasts at the start of the year. The non-oil sector has also enjoyed strong expansion, particularly in Dubai where data shows that manufacturing, hospitality and trade grew robustly in the first half of last year.
Going forward analysts and economists expect UAE's economic growth to be supported by the non-oil sectors.
Confidence
"We expect growth to come largely from the non-oil sectors, which are likely to benefit from an improving global growth environment as well as strong domestic and regional fundamentals. These include supportive fiscal policy in the rest of the GCC, which will continue to spillover into the UAE through trade and tourism; as well as increased consumer and investor confidence in the UAE's medium and long-term growth prospects,” said Jean Paul Pigat, Middle East and North Africa (Mena) Economist at Emirates NBD.
Credit rating agency Moody's which recently affirmed the country's foreign and local-currency government issuer ratings at Aa2 with a stable outlook expects non-oil sector to be the key driver of the economy in the year ahead.
"We expect the UAE's real non-hydrocarbon growth to average 4.8 per cent in 2013-15 on the back of a renewed investment drive; accelerated population growth; dynamic demand from GCC neighbours; and a stable domestic political environment,” said Thomas J. Byrne Senior Vice President — Manager at Moody's.
Competitiveness index
The non-oil sector of the UAE has developed rapidly and has overtaken the oil sector as the main contributor to real GDP growth in the past decade. The UAE's openness and ease of doing business has helped this development. The UAE ranks 19th out of 148 countries in the World Economic Forum's Competitiveness Index, making it the second most competitive country in the Middle East region after Qatar.
Growth in the non-oil sector has limited the UAE's dependency on oil to a greater degree than Qatar and Kuwait. The UAE's non-oil sectors include wholesale and retail trade (11 per cent of GDP), manufacturing, real estate and construction (9 per cent of GDP each) and transport, storage and communication (8per cent of GDP). – Gulf News

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Diversification is central to Abu Dhabi economic strategy: ADCED Director-General


posted on 24/01/2014

Diversification is central to Abu Dhabi's economic strategy. By decreasing reliance on the oil sector, which is subject to price volatility, steady long-term growth can be maintained, according to Fahad Saeed Al Raqbani, Director-General of the Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development, quoted in the latest edition of the Economic Review.
"By 2030 we are targeting a 64 percent contribution from the non-oil sector to Abu Dhabi's total GDP. In order to achieve this aim, the industrial sector will play a vital role", added Al Raqbani.
The Abu Dhabi Department has engaged in a consultative process with key public and private stakeholders within the emirate's industrial sector to create a focused and coherent blueprint for industrial development.
The resulting Industrial Development Strategy is a framework for the emirate with individual development strategies for 10 focus industries and clusters, including: aerospace, renewable energy, semiconductors, steel, aluminium, engineered metal products, petrochemicals and plastics products.
"Supporting this strategy are Abu Dhabi's industrial zones, which have developed world-class infrastructure under the management of the Higher Corporation for Specialised Economic Zones (ZonesCorp) and Abu Dhabi Ports Company" the ADCED Director-General indicated. 
The newly opened Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad) is also making its mark, having already signed agreements with 44 companies and with Emirates Aluminium (Emal) acting as an anchor tenant.
"One of Abu Dhabi's aims is to increase the UAE's regional aluminium output from the current 46 per cent it accounts for in the GCC. Kizad will help us achieve this goal with Taweelah Aluminium Extrusion Company, part of Abu Dhabi's industrial investment powerhouse, Senaat, the first aluminium downstream project to be set up in the free zone. Senaat also boasts a wide-reaching portfolio outside of oil, including steel and copper, some building basics and two food and beverage operations." Another company helping to broaden Abu Dhabi's economy is Mubadala. The powerful investment and development company is building knowledge based industries in the aerospace and hi-tech manufacturing sectors. 
Among its many interests are the composite aero structures manufacturing facility, Strata, and the Advanced Technologies Investment Company, which has its primary investment in the world's second largest semiconductor manufacturing company. Through such targeted investments, Mubadala is helping to create a technology 'ecosystem' in Abu Dhabi, important for diversifying the wider economy.
Al Raqbani concluded by saying, "As a result of the efforts of the Abu Dhabi government, key players liken Senaat, Mubadala and ZonesCorp, and numerous partnerships between public and private entities, the contribution of the industrial sector is increasing steadily, now standing at 40 percent of GDP. This places us on track to achieve our 64 percent target for non-oil contributions to GDP by 2030." – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Dubai is third most dynamic city in the world


posted on 23/01/2014

The new City Momentum Index released by Jones Lang LaSalle names San Francisco, London and Dubai as the three most vibrant cities.
Not just steady GDP growth but a soaring real estate industry and the halo of Expo 2020 have combined to catapult Dubai to third place in the list of the world's most dynamic cities compiled by Jones Lang LaSalle.The new City Momentum Index released by the realtor names San Francisco, London and Dubai as the three most vibrant cities, displaying strong short-term socio-economic and commercial real estate momentum as well as longer-term foundations for success.Chinese cities Shanghai and Wuhan complete the group of the top five. Describing the yardsticks for the index, Jeremy Kelly, LaSalle's director for global research, said highly dynamic cities are characterised by their speed of innovation and creation of cutting-edge businesses.
New building construction, property price movement and investment in real estate from cross-border investors and corporations are the other factors.
Dubai is also among the eight elite cities that together accounted for one-fourth of the world's direct commercial real estate investment activity in 2012-2013 and wield "clear economic might on the global stage”.
The other seven are San Francisco, London, New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, Los Angeles and Tokyo. The index also clubs Dubai, which will host World Expo 2020, with Tokyo, that will stage the Olympics the same year, calling them resurgent cities gearing up for their respective events with renewed vigour.
However, there's a note of caution as well. Investors and corporates should note that high momentum poses both opportunity and risk.
The index assesses 111 cities, basing the score on 34 short-term and longer-term variables.
The remaining cities in the Global Top 20 are New York, Austin, Hong Kong, San Jose, Singapore, Shenzhen, Jakarta, Beijing, Chengdu, Los Angeles, Tianjin, Boston, Seattle, Tokyo and Lima. – Khaleej Times – Read more: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/kt-article-display-1.asp?xfile=data/nationgeneral/2014/January/nationgeneral_January169.xml§ion=nationgeneral

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Abu Dhabi economy is resilient: Moody’s


posted on 20/01/2014

In a recent report, global ratings agency Moody's Investors Service has hailed Abu Dhabi's economic stability and the emirate's prudent management of its hydrocarbon wealth, maintaining that Abu Dhabi's credit strengths includes economic resilience to global downturns.
In a report published on January 16, 2014, Moody's says that Abu Dhabi's Aa2 rating with stable outlook is primarily supported by the prudent management of the proceeds from its vast hydrocarbon reserves. In particular, the rating agency highlights how the proceeds have resulted in structurally large fiscal and external surpluses, a very low level of direct government debt and the sizeable accumulation of sovereign wealth fund assets.
The rating agency's report is an update to the markets and does not constitute a rating action.
Moody's notes that Abu Dhabi's other credit strengths include: (1) a very high per capita income; (2) a sound policy framework; (3) political stability; and (4) economic resilience to global downturns.
Abu Dhabi's diversification efforts and the outlook for relatively high hydrocarbon prices have also shored up medium-term growth prospects. In addition, the emirate has strong foreign relations with the major global powers, in particular the US.
Moody's says that the emirate's dependence on hydrocarbon revenue also imposes a constraint on Abu Dhabi's Aa2 rating. A prolonged period of low oil prices would adversely affect the country's fiscal and external positions. In addition, the government has potentially large contingent liabilities residing in the debt of its government-related issuers (GRIs), although these pose little near-term risk.
Other credit constraints are institutional—in that Abu Dhabi's governance strengths lag those of other highly rated peers—and heightened geopolitical risks, although both of these features are common to Gulf Cooperation Council sovereigns.
Factors that could exert upward pressure on Abu Dhabi's rating include further progress in economic diversification, improvements in institutional governance transparency and/or a reduction in regional geopolitical risk. Factors that could lead to downward ratings pressure include a deep shock to the global oil market or a prolonged decline in oil prices, or the crystallisation of contingent liabilities, to the extent that the fiscal surplus comes under significant pressure. – Emirates 24/7 – Read more: http://www.emirates247.com/business/abu-dhabi-economy-is-resilient-moody-s-2014-01-20-1.535378

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UAE companies foreign investments exceed US$100 billion


posted on 15/01/2014

The Highflyers Forum, hosted by the Ministry of Economy in order to highlight the successes of more than 130 successful UAE companies that have operations and investments abroad, was held at the Mina A'Salam Hotel in Jumeirah, Dubai, UAE, on 14th January, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and was opened by Sultan bin Saeed Al-Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy.
The initiative by the Ministry of Economy is a platform to underline the experiences and expertise of UAE companies that have investments abroad. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the total cumulative value of such investments across the world, is Dh350 billion.
Majid Jafar, CEO of Crescent Petroleum and Vice-Chairman of the Crescent Group, gave the keynote address, entitled "Charting growth and prosperity: winning strategies to export UAE's mastery in a morphing global economy", in which he described how the major successes of UAE companies in foreign investment can be attributed to the open policy adopted by the UAE to the world, and the strong government support given for all UAE companies from the highest leadership of the UAE and all the relevant government ministries including the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Economy.
He also described how many UAE companies have already become regional and global leaders in their sectors, following key strategies such as excellence in quality standards, understanding and adapting well to the local environment, and high levels of corporate governance: "We must continue to engage, as the UAE corporate community, in the national effort to ensure competitiveness, economic diversification and sustainability in the future", he said, while placing special emphasis on the key strategic decisions Emirati companies can take to export the UAE's economic expertise in achieving global competitiveness.
Describing the Crescent Group's experience in foreign investments over the past 43 years as a UAE-headquartered company, Jafar said: "UAE companies have already successfully invested in over 100 countries worldwide, and we as the Crescent Group have current investments in 22 countries throughout the region and internationally, in sectors such as oil '&' gas, ports and logistics, power and engineering, real estate and construction, and private equity. Our oil '&' gas operations through Crescent Petroleum - the oldest private exploration and production company in the Middle East - have included experience as an international operator in numerous countries including Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan, Yemen, Canada, Yugoslavia, Tunisia, and Argentina," he added.
The Highflyers Forum brought together prominent CEOs of UAE companies operating abroad and highlighted their successes in foreign investments, the challenges they face, and their strategies for future overseas expansion in international markets. In addition to the speeches and panels, the Forum featured the video and launch ceremony of the Highflyers Initiative by the Minister of Economy. - Emirates News Agency, WAM
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Al Mansouri: UAE is today a credible driving force of world economic growth


posted on 13/01/2014

The UAE economy is today playing an influential role in regional and international arenas and is seen as a reliable driving force of world economic growth and a major world trade and business hub, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, has affirmed yesterday.
Ata meeting with Air Vice Marshal Rashad Mohamed Salem Al Saedi, Commander of the National Defence College and students, Al Mansouri said 'The UAE is striving to sharpen its economic competitive edge to build a knowledge-based economy.' The UAE, he said, has become a recognised centre for R'&'D in the region thanks to the focused attention given to the sector.
He noted that the UAE's advanced rankings in international economic reports and indexes were attributed to the wise guidance of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
He disclosed that his ministry were finalising a set of bills aimed at improving business performance, stimulating economic growth, diversifying sources of national income and shifting to knowledge-driven economy in line of UAE Vision 2021.
Praising the College, the minister said the academic-military institution was established on par with the international best standards to match the prominent stature of the UAE and its Armed Forces.
He noted the College has earned an advanced rank among the higher military education institutions in a relatively short span of time.
He expressed his ministry's readiness to fully cooperate with the College given the fact that its integrated curricula incorporates vital economic considerations.
President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has issued a federal law in 2012 establishing a college of national defence to prepare and train military and civil leaders capable of defining challenges facing national, regional and international security. - Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Department of Economic Development releases Economic Report of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi 2013


posted on 13/01/2014

Abu Dhabi's GDP at current prices rose by 7.7% to mark Dh 911.6 billion at the end of 2012, compared to Dh 846.7 billion in 2011, albeit relatively better economic performance during 2011 as GDP achieved a nominal growth rate of 32%.

The Economic Report of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi 2013 issued by the Studies Directorate of the Department of Economic Development, has interpreted this relative growth through low growth rate achieved by the extractive industry activity in 2012, which amounted to about 6.2%, compared to 52.8% in 2011, due to the limited increases in quantities of oil production, and the limited rise in oil prices in global markets during 2012 compared to 2011. Abu Dhabi's oil exports registered a growth rate of 6.9% during 2012 compared to approximately 5.4% in 2011.

The report emphasized that the continuation of non-oil activities to achieving high rates of growth in recent years, evidence the soundness and efficiency of the economic diversification policy followed by the Government; especially in the last three years which witnessed continuous improvement in the performance of this group of activities, after the sharp slowdown experienced in 2009.

The reported stated that 2012 witnessed the continuation of the leading role of the group of non-oil activities in support of the overall economic performance, which achieved a combined positive growth rate of 9.6% at current prices in 2012.

In general, the report pointed out that contribution of extractive industries activities to Abu Dhabi's GDP in 2012 dropped to 56.48% compared to 57.3% in 2011.

Nasser Ahmed Alsowaidi, Chairman Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development in introducing the report said, "Abu Dhabi's economy continued to achieve distinct quantitative and qualitative developments in various in all areas, thanks to the far-sighted leadership and the sincere efforts to efficiently and sensibly invest oil revenues, taking into consideration the attainment of sustainability and empowerment of community members; as these goals are the focus of the "Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030".

He said that the path of economic development in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in recent years has been characterized by focusing on directing huge investments towards non-oil activities, to expedite and further the diversification of the economic base and income sources. This approach coincided with government efforts to stimulate and encourage the private sector to participate actively in the development process of the Emirate; and lay down the solid base for an environment, most attractive and supportive to ensure the success of investment projects.

Alsowaidi added that this new edition of the "Annual Economic Report of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi 2013", comes to depict and mirror the strength of the economy, based on genuine indicators, that Abu Dhabi's economy, beyond any doubt, had returned to its healthy pace, taking advantage of the vivid diversification strategy pursued by the Emirate, which succeeded in reducing the oil sector's dominant contribution to GDP , in favour of non-oil activities, that had experienced strong growth rates in recent years.

He pointed out that the report even though it offers more evidence of the success of the plans of the Government of the emirate, which seek the optimal use of available resources, and enhancing the competitiveness of Abu Dhabi; however, this success is not seen as an end in itself, but just a prod for spurring the march of Abu Dhabi and its path towards excellence and progress, and the status that commensurate with the vast capabilities, and opportunities offered by the Emirate's economy.
For his part, Mohammed Omar Abdullah, Undersecretary of the Department of Economic Development, said that the new edition of the annual economic report, which highlights the main developments in the economy of Abu Dhabi in 2012 in particular, and during the period (2007-2012) in general, includes information on GDP at constant prices, as GDP variables were used to be calculated at current prices, as well as the figures concerning various commodity and service activities.

The Undersecretary added that the report shows that the real GDP of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi has achieved a growth rate of 5.6% in 2012, and that the non-oil activities witnessed a steady growth since 2007, which ranged between 5% and 9% until 2012; adding that this raised the contribution of non-oil economic activities to real GDP from less than 44% in 2007 to 48% in 2012.

Mohammed Omar Abdullah said that the significant development in non-oil activities emphasizes the enormous efforts exerted by the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in its surge towards the diversification of the economy in recent years, which turned non-oil activities into an important pillar and an essential component of the structure of gross domestic product.

He said that the careful reading of the indicators presented by the report, confirms that Abu Dhabi's economy has made great strides in sophistication and diversity in a short period of time; and that it is steadily moving towards greater progress and development under a comprehensive process seeking to transform the Emirate into a diversified knowledge-based economy, capable of achieving sustainable development, as well as regional leadership, and competitiveness at the global level.

The Second Chapter, of the economic report focused on the developments in the Emirate Abu Dhabi, presenting GDP data at constant prices, as it is basically more accurate to measure the performance of the economy of Abu Dhabi. Data revealed that GDP grew by 5.6% at the end of 2012 at constant prices of 2007 compared to 9.3% in 2011, rising to more than 678 billion in 2012.

The report stated that Despite the drop in growth rate in 2012 compared to 2011, but the rate was still good and it confirmed that Abu Dhabi's economy had recovered and returned to its healthy pace, taking advantage of the robust diversification strategy adopted by the Emirate in recent years, which in turn contributed to reducing the share of oil sector in GDP, in favour of the non-oil sectors which experienced strong growth in recent years.

Data show that extractive industries achieved a 3.8% real growth in 2012, which was lower than previous rates realized by the activity during 2010 and 2011. In contrast, non-oil activities were able to reinforce the important gains achieved over the past few years, and to turn into a strong pillar of economic performance in the Emirate.

Non-oil economic activities gained real growth of 7.7 % in 2012, compared to 6.7% and 6.1% in 2011 and 2010 respectively. This reflected positively on the contribution of non-oil activities to the real GDP of the Emirate, which rose to 48% in 2012 compared to 44% in 2007.

Non-oil economic activities had a clear role in supporting the positive performance of the economy of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in 2012. Careful follow-up of the performance of non-oil activities revealed that specific activities had led to the growth in non-oil GDP, especially real estate activities that achieved a growth rate of around 16.7% in 2012, as a direct result of the significant recovery of sales activities in the real estate sector in the Emirate.

In the same vein, the efforts and steps of the Government steps taken in cooperation with the private sector to support and encourage the manufacturing activity, spurred this vital activity to continue along the same path of development it achieved during the last two years. The sector accomplished real growth rate of 9.7% registering a new record of about Dh 41.5 billion.

This development in the performance of the manufacturing activity was accompanied by a marked shift in the performance of non-oil commodity exports, which achieved a growth rate of approximately 34.3% in 2012, compared to a drop by 1.1% in 2011.

The report did not lose sight of the boom achieved by the wholesale and retail trade activity within the non-oil group of activities, after a series of oscillations and decline in performance over the past few years; as this activity was able to achieve a quantum leap in 2012, and to register real growth rate at 8.2% compared to a drop of 2.1% in 2011.

The average GDP per capita at current prices for the year 2012 registered to Dh 390.5 thousand registering a decline of 0.3% over the year, while the average GDP per capita at constant 2007 prices amounted to Dh 290.4 thousand in 2012, down by 2.2% compared to 2011.
The report said that the slight decrease in average GDP per capita could be interpreted in view of the relative slowdown of GDP in 2012, as well as the significant increase in the population of the Emirate during the same year.

Abu Dhabi's population increased from 2.2 million in 2011 to 2.3 million in 2012, registering a growth rate of 8%, which exceeded the growth rate of GDP at current and constant prices, which stood at 7.7% and 5.6% respectively during the same year. However; the average GDP per capita in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi still ranks among the highest in the world.

As part of efforts to strengthen the economic activities in the Emirate, and increase the value added of the various goods and services, the gross fixed capital formation in Abu Dhabi went up by 5.3% in 2012 to stand at Dh 172.7 billion, compared to a growth rate of 14.8% in 2011.

On the other hand, the period (2007-2012) witnessed a clear shift in the structure of the distribution of fixed investments among goods and services. The commodity activities group acquired the largest share of fixed investment at the beginning of the period and constituted (50.2%, 56.3%, 52%, 56%) During 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, respectively, while the past two years had witnessed a clear increase in the share of service activities in fixed investment, which reached (56.5% and 57.2 %) in 2011 and 2012, respectively. This increase could be interpreted in view of the Government's efforts to spur the shift to a knowledge-based economy, which is closely linked with the laying more emphasis on service activities.

On the other hand, data indicate that gross fixed capital formation in 2012 in some economic activities registered good growth rates, after a series of decline and fluctuations in performance. As an example the manufacturing, building and construction and extractive industries activities recorded growth rates of (8.8% and 7.4% and 3.7%) Respectively in 2012 compared to rates lower rates of (1.6%, 12% and 26.8%) for the same activities respectively in 2011.

The same goes for a number of economic activities in the group of service activity, as accommodation and food service, finance and insurance, professional, scientific and technical activities all registered positive growth rates of (5.2% to 5.5% and 15.1%) respectively in 2012, compared to lower of (36.6% and 38.9% and 20%) respectively in 2011 Data show that the total population of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi increased from 2.2 million in 2011 to 2.3 million in 2012, at a growth rate of about 8%. As for the gender distribution of the population of the Emirate, the non-balance between the proportion of males and females to continue to prevail in favour of males, who constituted more than 71% of the Emirate's total population in the same year. The last three years saw a gradual decline in the proportion of females in the total population of the Emirate from 29.9% in 2010 to 29.5% in 2011 before dropping to 28.8% in 2012.

On the other hand, the structure of the population of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi by nationality, revealed that UAE nationals constituted 20.4% of the total population of the Emirate in 2012, compared to 21% in 2011. The structure of the population indicated that there was a relative balance between UAE nationals male and female population; as males comprised about 51.7 % of the total population of UAE citizens in 2012, which was largely in line with those proportions of 2011, when of males accounted for 51% of the total population. In the same context, the distribution of population by age, showed that the largest proportion of UAE nationals (59%), concentrated in the age group 15-64 years, followed by the age group 0-14 years.

On the other hand, non-citizens captured 97.6% of the Emirate's total population in 2012, with the continuing imbalance between males and females in this category, where males dominated by acquiring 76.2% of the total population of non-citizens, while females accounted for about 23.8%, due to the high number of expats who work in the Emirate, while their families live within their countries of origin.
For the same reason, there was a clear contrast between citizens and non-citizens with regard to the proportions of the age group (14 years and under) and the age group (65 years and over) to total population on both sides. The share of the age group (14 years and under) comprised 38.5% of the total population, while the share of the same group in total non-citizens population decreased to 11.5%. The proportion of the group aged 65 years and over comprised 2.2% of total citizen population, while it dropped to 0.6% of total non-citizens population.

Generally, the bulk of the population concentrates on non-citizens, while the majority of citizen within the age group (15-64) represents approximately 88%.

In view of the recovery and boom experienced by the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, many economic activities continued to attract and absorb more citizens and expats in labour force in the Emirate. The number of employed persons was projected to increase from 1.4 million people in 2011 to 1.6 million people in 2012, up by approximately 12%.

At the same time, the total size of the work force in the Emirate went up from 1.4 million in 2011 to 1.6 million people in 2012, registering approximately a 13% increase, which raised the percentage of the labour force to 70% of the total population of the Emirate in 2012 compared to 66.8% in 2011.

In the same vein, estimates indicate a slight increase in unemployment rate, to reach 3.2% in 2012, compared to 2.8% in 2011.

The Emirate's economy maintained relative stability in the prices of most goods and services over the past few years, as the general consumer prices index rose from 121.6 points in 2011 to122.9 points in 2012. The average annual inflation rate in the Emirate dropped to 1.1% by 2012 compared to 1.9% in 2011 and 3.1 % at the end of 2010.

On the other side, remarkable changes took place last year in the movement of certain groups of goods and services which constituted the local consumer basket. The group of hotels and restaurants replaced the food and beverage group, which scored the highest rate of price change in 2011, as the former group rose by 7.5% to register the highest percentage change in goods and services which reached 16.4% in 2012. The same group contributed by 52 % of the total rise in prices in 2012.

According to data of the National Bureau of Statistics the UAE GDP at constant prices grew by 4.4%, increasing to Dh 1.025 trillion at the end of 2012, compared to Dh 982.7 billion by the end of 2011. GDP an current prices, also rose to Dh 1.409 trillion in 2012, compared to Dh 1.28 trillion in2011, registering a growth rate of 10.1%.

All economic activities witnessed positive improvements in rates of growth in2012, which reflected favourably on the value of the State's GDP; especially the oil activities which maintained good performance over recent years because of the high and stable level of oil price in 2012.

Despite high oil prices, the positive performance of non-oil activities has led to relative stability in the contribution of these activities to GDP at constant prices; as contribution stood at 67.3% in 2012, compared to 67.9% in 2011. This was an indication of the continuation of the national economy in further growth, and the improvement at the level of economic sectors and activities as well as the reinforcement of the economic diversification policy, in addition to the continuous growth of GDP.

The average consumer price index at the State level rose to 116.78 in 2012 compared to 116.01 in 2011, bringing the inflation rate for consumer prices in 2012 to 0.66%; which was lower than the rate of 0.88% registered in 2011.

The rise in consumer prices in 2012 came in view of the increase in prices of most major groups of the consumer basket, and the drop in housing group by 2.57%, which suppressed consumer prices worsening in 2012 This group constituted about 38% of the consumer basket, and thus played an important role in influencing the movement of the consumer price index in the State.
The prices of alcoholic drinks and tobacco rose by 6.36%, food and non-alcoholic drinks increased by 5.24%, while education prices went up by 4.5%. Restaurants and hotels witnessed an increase of 4.14 %, clothing and footwear grew by 2.42%, prices of household equipment and by 2.11%, miscellaneous goods and services by 1.63%, prices of services rose by 1.09% health, recreation and culture by 0.23%, transport up 0.16%, and communications prices rose by 0.01%.

Preliminary estimates of the National Bureau of Statistics on the volume of non-oil foreign trade of the UAE indicated that State's total trade with the world rose by 15% by the end of 2012, due to the increase in non-oil exports by 48% to Dh169.2 billion, and that re-exports increased by 0.04% to Dh 210.9 billion. Imports rose by 13.9% to Dh 686.5 billion during the same year.

Non-oil foreign trade statistics during the first nine months of 2012 showed that Asian non-Arab countries ranked first in terms of trade value, acquiring 46% of the State's total trade with the outside world during the year.

The European group came in second place on the list of the key trade partners of the State by 23%, the American group of countries assumed the third place with 9%, while the GCC group took the fourth place with 8%.

Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, the Director General of Abu Dhabi Education Council ( ADEC) in an article attached to the report said that the, the government of Abu Dhabi exerts all efforts to build a culturally and economically vibrant economy, and lays great emphasis on the education sector as an investment in the future of the people of the Emirate and an important element in social infrastructure for attracting talents and competencies; adding that the Government had developed and implemented an integrated strategy to upgrade the educational sector, at various public and private technical and higher education levels.

Al Khaili explained that ADEC's 10-Year Strategic Plan, aims at providing a high quality comprehensive educational system, consistent with international standards and best practices. In close cooperation with local and federal government bodies, ADEC is implementing a two-pronged strategy for the development of public education and the stimulation of private schools.

He said that ADEC, focuses mainly on making a paradigm shift in the level of school education in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, by implementing a number of initiatives and ambitious projects, aimed at achieving a qualitative leap in the education system, based on four strategic priorities, preparing distinct well educated students who compare to their international peers, providing quality education, for all students without discrimination, introducing high level educational programs in private schools and preserving culture and national heritage.
Al Khaili said that, ADEC has introduced a new comprehensive and integrated school model for public education to achieve qualitative change in the educational objectives outcomes, by focusing on the skills of the 21st century and developing student's critical thinking and analytical skills, within the entire development of students cultural, physical and health competencies.

ADEC's Director General added that the implementation of this vision requires building a comprehensive educational system by setting up a healthy and sophisticated environment, developing appropriate curricula and effective systems to follow up the students' progress, upgrading teachers and educational leaders and providing the information infrastructure needed to support decision-making.

He emphasized that the Council's strategy focuses on the effective investment in the early stages of education, as it counts on the long run positive results, and pointed out that the new school model is based on bilingual education or students "Arabic and English", and to encourage science and math through the use of means and methods of teaching modern and diverse, And attractive for the student and teacher alike, as the model is based on outsourcing learning And a variety of attractive and modern methods of evaluating students.

According to Al Khaili, the new school model is based on bilingual education, "Arabic and English ", which encourages science and math through using modern techniques and methods of teaching attractive to students and teachers alike. The system embodies using smart diverse and modern educational assessment techniques for students, and also provides facilities and educational needs according to the best international standards. The system also caters for providing an educational environment with sophisticated methods and technology, and making the necessary arrangements to ensure students health and safety. ADEC considers the private sector as a key partner in supporting this orientation, adopting the best practices and techniques and building local capacity to provide quality educational logistic services.

Al Khaili emphasized that the Council aspires to provide the best private education, and considers the private sector a key partner, in the educational system of the Emirate, as it serves more than 60% of the total number of students in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. According to him, the Council's priorities include raising the quality of private education, securing the appropriate absorptive capacity necessary to keep pace with growing demand for education and promotion of national identity.

Dr. Al Khaili stressed the keenness of ADEC to provide the necessary support for private schools, by facilitating land grants, school buildings or private schools licensing mechanisms, for serious investors. He pointing out to the achievements that have been made in previous years, including the publishing the Private Schools Assessment first report, to improve transparency, encourage outstanding schools to expand, attract a number of excellent international schools, and close down villa schools.

Dr Al Khaili said that the Council works with private schools to improve their performance, and aims at increasing the capacity of private schools in the next ten years, to accommodate nearly 100,000 new students (an increase of 5% per annum).

With regard to higher education, Al Khailil said that the Strategic Plan of Abu Dhabi Education Council that the plan the strategy for the higher education sector, seeks to improve the quality system of higher education in Abu Dhabi to match best international standards, lay the foundations for a society based on innovation and knowledge and establish an integrated system for scientific research. He noted that the strategic plan came to realize the objectives of the government to place education at the top of their priorities, in order to achieve the Abu Dhabi 2030 Vision.

Dr Al Khaili explained that ADEC's Plan highlights four key priorities of higher education; raising the quality of Abu Dhabi's higher education system to match internationally recognized levels; Aligning higher education with Abu Dhabi's social, cultural, and economic needs; Building and maintaining a research eco-system to drive an innovation-based economy; Providing all qualified students with affordable access to higher education.
Fahad Saeed Al Raqbani, Director General of Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development (ADCED) commented on the results economic report of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, in a separate article, saying that building a diversified economy with strong growth and achieving regional and social sustainable economic development, comprise the two primary objectives of the Emirate of the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030.

He added that to accomplish these two objectives, the contribution of the non-oil sector, must be raised from its current level of 50% of GDP to two-thirds by 2030. The realization of this goal requires that non-oil sectors should grow annually at rates that exceed the growth rates of the oil and gas sector.

Al Raqbani stressed the importance of a thriving and constantly expanding private sector to lead economic growth in the Emirate of Abu by taking over Dhabi the role played by the public sector over the past decades an owner and operator of the major economic activities and an employer of the largest portion of the labour force.

He explained that Abu Dhabi government, being mindful of these facts, had started to make considerable efforts since the middle of the last decade; and allocated enormous human and financial resources, not only to enable the private sector to assume a greater role in the economy, but also to provide the appropriate requirements for the prosperity and expansion of the private sector.

According to him, that was accomplished through the establishment of modern, sophisticated world-class infrastructure, and the laying down the foundation of the suitable ground for the emergence of new sectors and economic activities, including direct government investment spent on setting these sectors and activities. This was meant to lay the solid foundation of sectors and facilitate their growth and expansion, which prompted focusing on the development of an encouraging and attractive business environment for private investments, enacting appropriate laws and legislation to support the ease of doing business, opening the door for the private sector to enter into the activities of health and education.

He added that the government of Abu Dhabi did not stand for d this limit, but also baptized to involve the private sector and directly in the preparation and formulation of economic policy through the care and adoption of the interests of the sector and the views and concerns and suggestions of the representatives of the private sector into account in each plan or strategy emerges from each sector economic sectors in order to overcome the obstacles that hinder the growth and expansion of the private sector, and give more space in front of him to enter into new activities.

Al Raqbani said that the establishment of Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development (ADCED) in 2006 came to entrust the Council with task of being the direct link between government and the private sector. In implementing this task ADCED is commissioned to consult the representatives of the private sector - who make up the majority of the board members of ADCEC, as well those who are non-board members, on all economic and policy matters, and conveys all views and proposals to the government in a conscious effort to embrace and accommodate the interests of the private sector in economic policies.

The private sector has become a fixture in the new important economic sectors including industry, tourism, finance and real estate, as the share of the private sector in Abu Dhabi's economy increased by 6.5% in 2012 (from Dh 218 billion in 2011 to Dh 232 billion), to constitute 33% of Abu Dhabi's GDP.

Al Raqbani said that although that figure still represents a small share in the economy, but it is looked at as relatively large in an economy mostly nurtured and sponsored over the past decades by the public sector which until recently was dominating over the economic activity, noting that this reflects the desire and ability of the private sector to exploit favourable conditions for the establishment and expansion of new business activities.

Director General of ADCED emphasized that in the light of the government financial support for the implementation of the package of development projects announced at the beginning of this year which amounted to US$ 90 billion over the next five years (2013-2017), the private sector in Abu Dhabi, including foreign investors will have great and unprecedented opportunities for growth and prosperity in the coming period.

He noted in his article that the government's role in the economy, will be limited to supervision, regulation, encouraging investment and diversifying sources of income; which will take the private sector to a new phase and opportunities of expansion that would enable it to assume a greater role in driving the economy, and tapping new activities to accelerate shifting to leadership, sustainability and growth.
Falah Mohammed Al Ahbabi, the Director General of Abu Dhabi Council for Urban Planning, placed an article in the Economic Report of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, In which he said that Abu Dhabi is now one the most prominent cities in the region, as it witnessed tremendous development in the process of economic, social and cultural development during the past decades. In view of the restless efforts exerted to achieve economic diversification and build and integrated capital with modern infrastructure. To enable citizens and residents enjoy a sophisticated lifestyle, latest services and best housing, education and health care.

He added that the need to keep up with demographic and economic developments and address the challenges of urban growth, require the development of an integrated framework which includes all regions of the Emirate and contributes to the establishment of integrated communities that meet the needs of future generations.

It was noted by Al Ahbabi that current global and regional economic conditions have contributed significantly to the activation of the role of governments and regulatory authorities, in developing open and transparent frameworks capable of addressing the challenges of the real estate market and keeping up with the requirements of supply and demand.

He indicated that Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council was established in 2007 and envisaged with shaping the emirate's Urban features, ensuring compliance with the standards of sustainable development, providing integrated and modern infrastructure, and raising the level of life in accordance with sound and clear plans.

According to Al Ahbabi, the Urban Planning Council conducts analytical studies and research to develop macroeconomic and demographic models, and real estate supply and demand models for the Emirate as well as the setting rules and regulations to govern work progress in development projects; with aim to setting and implementing a Urban development plan, based on best practices, to meet the needs of the real estate market, in the field of planning project in new and existing urban regions.

He stated that UPC has adopted a specific planning methodology to ensure proper planning during the rapid growth period, which consists of three different phases; embodying different strategic planning process. First; the development of a framework of regional plans to identify overarching principles and uses of private land in a specific region, followed the preparation of separate general plans for each region and finally putting together the final outlines for each basin in the region and each block in the basin.

Director General of UPC, said that this method ensures arriving at the appropriate perception and setting the optimal planning of basic infrastructure development projects which include the integration of new lands for the establishment of community facilities, public areas and parking lots, development and improvement of pedestrian sidewalks transport and communications networks, in line with the vision of Abu Dhabi, aimed at upgrading the emirate cities to match the finest globally sustainable cities.

He stressed that the Government of Abu Dhabi aspires to provide a more sustainable urban environment for the people of Abu Dhabi, where the government plans to do so by addressing various issues such as the quality of public areas, determining the distinctive identity of urban communities, social cohesion in addition to the great importance attached by the government to develop the infrastructure.

Al Ahbabi pointed out that Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council performs its functions based on its vision for setting integrated, sustainable urban communities across the Emirate, to meet the needs of present and future populations; and the flexibility to cope with the requirements of future generations, while ensuring quality and high living standards that reflect the values and culture of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

To meet this responsibility Falah Al Ahbabi said that to meet these responsibilities, UPC has also created the "Estidama" program in 2008, the first of its kind in the Middle East, based on the four pillars of sustainability: cultural vibrancy, economic prosperity, environmental responsibility and social justice, with the aim of promoting the concept of coexistence with Abu Dhabi culture and environment, while maintaining and caring for the way and style of life in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

He added that the "Estidama" program has launched many initiatives that meet UPC objectives, where Estidama in 2010 unveiled the "Pearl Rating System" program aimed at regulating the practices of sustainable development. This system was applied to villas, buildings and communities; and the real estate market was directed to be in line with the requirements of the policy of the new development system. In September this year, three years after the launching of this program, the total land area of villas and buildings that met the requirements and criteria of the pearl rating system exceeded 10 million square meters. UPC revealed that more than 400 projects in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi were rated by the pearl rating system of "Estidama".
Falah Al Ahbabi said that the year 2013 also witnessed the launching of a new initiative by "Estidama", which was considered as a key element in the overall orientation of UPC towards sustainable urban development; and in achieving the objectives of the "Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Vision 2030", known as the "Comprehensive Sustainable Communities". This initiative is an effective tool to get a balanced method to achieve sustainable planning and provide benefits and services for residents and visitors, while preserving the natural environment of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Al Ahbabi stressed that the establishment of first class cities and supporting sustained economic growth, requires consistent urban planning and economic strategies; thus, the urban planning and economic decisions should complement each other and share the same overall vision.

For his part, Mubarak Al Muhairi, the Director General of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority said that the tourism sector in the emirate has witnessed a tremendous boom in the last five years. The number of one night stay passengers increased; as well as the points of tourist attraction and the variety of services aimed at serving the visitors of the Emirate, over the various seasons of the year. In 2012, Abu Dhabi hotels registered the best figures ever in terms of revenue, number of guests, hotels nights of stay. The number of guests increased by 13% percent to reach 2.38 million persons, while the nights of stay also hiked by 13% to register 6.99 million nights. Revenue and profits amounted to Dh 4.6 billion, increasing by 6% compared to the previous year. The tourism sector direct contribution to non-oil GDP amounted to Dh 10.4 billion, while its indirect contribution to non-oil GDP was estimated at Dh 20.9 billion, marking 2.6% and 5.3% respectively.

He explained that growth rates registered in all major markets were high. The strongest growth of 33% was captured by the African market, followed by the GCC countries with 25% and the Middle East and Asian markets with growth rates of 20% each.

Al Muhairi said that during the same period, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (ADTCA) succeeded in transforming the Emirate from a tourist destination with less than 10,192 hotel rooms, limited air travel and few tourist attractions, into a venue globally known for sustainability and renowned for its commitment to the preserve heritage and culture. Today Abu Dhabi has become the center for takeoff to multiple world destinations; thanks to the rapid growth of "Etihad Airways", and Abu Dhabi Airports Company "ADAC", who were able to attract a large number of air carriers.

He added that at the end of 2012, the number of hotel facilities went up to 631 hotels and hotel apartments, spreading along beaches and city resorts, in addition to points of relaxation and comfort in oases, islands and deserts. The number of hotel rooms exceeded 21,906 rooms, and the tourist destinations and specialized tours also increased. The total number of visitors amounted to 3.39 million visitors Al Muhairi stated that most of the hotels in Abu Dhabi fall within the three, four or five stars classification; while most new hotels planned to be open in the next few years, will be four or five-star hotels. Abu Dhabi will continue to target visitors consistent with its nature, culture, products and commercial and recreational expertise. According to him future increases in the number of top rated luxury four and five-star hotels will also support the position of Abu Dhabi as a tourist destination, which will offer competitive hotel prices for visitors who come to relax or work. This would encourage growth in the "conferences, meetings and incentives" market. Abu Dhabi today enjoys excellent infrastructure and innovative events organizing facilities, on which it counts to attract large number of visitors to the Emirate.

He said that Abu Dhabi Plan 2030" has set a clear target which to receive 7.9 million visitors, and raise hotel occupancy to more than 80,000 hotel rooms in the next 18 years. He emphasized that the Tourism and Culture Authority is more focused on achieving these goals as well as increasing the contribution of tourism to the national economy, promoting cultural heritage and providing significant job opportunities for young people. - Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Sharjah gets long-term rating from Moody's and Standard '&' Poor's


posted on 09/01/2014

In the presence of Sheikh Mohamed bin Saud Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Finance Department and Member of the Sharjah Executive Council, the Sharjah Finance Department announced yesterday its credit rating based on the classification of the two leading international credit rating agencies, Moody's and Standard '&' Poor's.
Moody's has assigned Sharjah a long-term rating of A3, with a stable outlook. Standard '&' Poor's has assigned Sharjah a long-term rating of A, also with a stable outlook. In both cases, Sharjah is rated as a sovereign government entity.
This credit rating exercise is the first that the Government of Sharjah has undertaken. Speaking at a press conference at Sharjah Finance Department, Sheikh Mohamed bin Saud Al Qasimi said, "These credit ratings firmly establish Sharjah within the top tier of sovereigns globally, affirming our position as a leading investment destination.
"The credit rating process is a complex and testing one, and I am grateful for the hard work and dedication of both the agencies and my own staff . That hard work has paid off, as we were able to demonstrate to the credit rating agencies the very best of Sharjah." With a robust and diversified economy, the nominal GDP growth has been strong and steady, averaging 11% from 2001 to 2012, with only a limited and short-lived impact from the global financial crisis.
Economic growth has been spread across a wide range of sectors, and in the financial year 2012 no individual sector represented more than 20 per cent of GDP. As such, Sharjah has one of the most diversified economies in the GCC region. The manufacturing sector is one of the most significant, supported by 19 industrial zones and two thriving free zones.
The emirate is unique in having ports on both the east and west coasts of the UAE, in addition to its international airport, which serves over 100 cargo and passenger destinations within a 4-hour radius. These logistics hubs are well connected by the strategic road network, with enhancements to north-south routes and a new east-west routes in progress, and are fully integrated with the Airport Free Zone and Hamriyah Free Zone.
Sharjah provides an affordable environment for people to live and do business with no income tax or sales or general corporate tax applied by the government, and only modest duty on imports and municipal services. Relatively low property prices combined with streamlined labour legislation keep business operating costs and wage bills down, and annual CPI inflation has remained below 5% for the last five years.
Sharjah's strong government finances hold its public debt very low, with the Government's gross debt standing at less than 6% of GDP at the end of 2012, offset by shareholdings in listed companies worth 2.7 per cent of GDP. New borrowing is used only to finance capital spending, with a focus on investments that generate a financial or economic return. A range of quasi-governmental bodies, such as the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA), Sharjah Airport Authority and free zones, carry out commercial activities that are aligned with the Government strategy as well as raising revenue, while the Government holds significant strategic shareholdings in private companies such as Air Arabia, Bank of Sharjah and Sharjah Islamic Bank. Government revenues come from a diverse range of sources, with just 21 percent of revenues depending on hydrocarbon production in 2012.
Human capital development is a major focus of the Government, with particular priority given to education. Facilities in University City offering some of the best learning and research opportunities in the Middle East will be supplemented with the opening in 2014 of Al Qasimia Islamic University. Literacy rates were 92% in 2010, and nearly half of Sharjah's local citizenship holds post-high school qualifications. Sharjah is well known for its focus on Islamic culture, heritage and values, and has turned this into an economic strength, with nominations such as the Sharjah Islamic Culture Capital of the Arab region for 2014 and Capital of Arab Tourism 2015, that are expected to boost the tourism industry and the emirate's profile globally.
A credit rating gives a widely recognised, internationally comparable assessment of the emirate's economic and financial status. According to Sheikh Mohamed bin Saud Al Qasimi, "the ratings will strengthen our position as we embrace the economic opportunities and challenges of the future." Waleed Al Sayegh, Director General of Sharjah Finance Department, explained that the Government of Sharjah expects the rating to demonstrate that Sharjah is a modern, open Emirate, managing its finances in line with international best practice and open Sharjah up to new investors and give confidence to existing ones, reduce the cost of borrowing for the emirate and strengthen entities in the wider Sharjah public sector, and Sharjah-based private sector businesses. - Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Abu Dhabi on course with diversification as non-oil economy records expansion


posted on 28/12/2013

Abu Dhabi's non-oil economy grew at a compound rate of 6.9 per cent a year in the five years to 2012.
The growth lifted the share of the emirate's economy unrelated to hydrocarbons to 48 per cent, according to the Department of Economic Development.
The emirate's 2030 Economic Vision calls for the non-oil sector to reach 64 per cent of the economy by 2030, compared with 44 per cent in 2010.
The emirate's economic activity unrelated to oil and gas rose to USUS$88.5 billion by the end of 2012, increasing its share of the total economy by 5 percentage points to 48 per cent, the department said.
The gain in the non-oil economy, which exceeded expectations, was largely due to exports nearly tripling to US$4.19bn from 2008 to 2011, according to the department.
Economists are forecasting that US$700bn spending on infrastructure projects planned or under way in the UAE will give a shot in the arm to the private sector.
"We expect a pickup of Abu Dhabi's non-oil economy in 2013 to continue in 2014, supported by stronger investments,” said Monica Malik, the Dubai-based chief economist at the investment bank EFG-Hermes Holding.
The country's economic recovery gained momentum this year and economists expect growth of 4 per cent for 2013 and by at least the same amount next year after Dubai won the right to host World Expo 2020.
Abu Dhabi, which holds 9 per cent of the world's proven oil reserves, saw its total GDP increase to US$184bn in 2012 from US$157bn in 2008, according to the report.
The capital is counting on projects such as those initiated by Mubadala, one of Abu Dhabi's state-owned investment companies, to establish industries such as aluminum and aerospace as the emirate seeks to diversify its economy.
Last month, Strata Manufacturing, Mubadala's advanced composite aerostructures plant, announced deals valued at up to US$5bn to provide composite materials and metallic aerostructure parts to Airbus and Boeing.
Officials aim to make Al Ain, where the plant is based, a leading centre for aerospace manufacturing, as well as creating 20,000 jobs within the wider industry by 2030.
Industry is at the heart of the Abu Dhabi's goal to diversify away from oil, partly because of global abundance of energy supplies. Officials set a target of 24 per cent of output by 2030 coming from industry.- The National

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Improving business climate and growing demand drive confidence across Dubai economy


posted on 05/12/2013

Improvements in the business environment along with faster recovery in the real estate and construction sectors and an expected surge across tourism and retail have seen business sentiments rising remarkably in Dubai during the third quarter of 2013.
The composite Business Confidence Index (BCI) stood at 141.6 points in Q3 2013, compared to 122.7 points in Q2 2012, in the quarterly business confidence survey conducted by the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai. A quarter-on-quarter comparison shows that the Q3 index is 17.3 per cent up from the Q2 index due to rising demand and improved economic activity expected during the next quarter (Q4) owing to the festival season and seasonal tourist inflows.
The overall business outlook for the final quarter of 2013 has also improved remarkably compared to the previous quarter with 58 percent of respondents expecting an improvement in business conditions as against 40 per cent in Q3, 2013.
Anticipating increase across sales volumes, revenues, profits and hires many businesses are planning to invest in new capacity upgrades over the next 12 months as well. Moreover plans to upgrade technology have intensified as 60 per cent of firms revealed such intentions over Q3 compared to 53 per cent only in the previous quarter.
"A highlight of the observations and outlook gathered in the third quarter survey is the impact generated by the overall business atmosphere. Over and above seasonal upswings in economic activity there is a high level of confidence resulting from the steady improvements in the ease of doing business in Dubai," commented Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of DED.
Apparently, businesses are willing to spend on growth and expansion, with economic activity across traditional non-oil sectors such as tourism and logistics bound to rise and recovery across other critical sectors such as construction gaining pace. This optimism and upward momentum will further create opportunities and new demand," added Al Qamzi.
Real estate and construction companies are expecting new projects or contracts in local and regional markets, which would boost overall business activity. Driven by higher demand from all major sectors, 57 per cent of the transportation companies also expect better business in Q4 2013.
Almost 95 per cent of businesses expect either an increase or no change in sales volume during the next quarter (as against 83% in Q3 2013 and 90% in Q4 2012). Those who expect higher sales in Q4 have also grown in strength from 44 per cent to 61 per cent between the last two quarters.
The positive outlook is underlined by strong sales revenue expectations, with 64 per cent companies expecting better revenues in Q4 and another 32 per cent confident of stable sales, driven largely by real estate activity and rising prices. Selling prices are expected to remain stable with 73 per cent expecting no change in their prices while 22 per cent expect higher prices in Q4.
Exporters are more optimistic compared to the overall business community on sales volume, but relatively less optimistic on selling prices. Profitability expectations are also in line with the overall sales expectations, with 58 per cent expecting better profits based on higher volumes, new contracts with better margins and strong demand.
Consistent with the positive expectations on sales, 57 per cent of trading businesses are also planning to increase their new purchase orders in Q4 hopeful of acquiring new projects and in some cases to back their plans of launching new products over the coming quarter.
Continuing the trend from the previous quarter, larger firms are more confident compared to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) mainly due to relatively high expectations of volumes, hiring and profits. Businesses in the services (58%) and manufacturing (59%) sectors are more optimistic on sales volume, profitability and hiring, with service firms comparatively more optimistic on prices.
The outlook for employment also appears stronger with 26 per cent planning to increase their workforce in Q4 2013 compared to a 16 per cent in the last quarter and six per cent in Q4 2012. Reaffirming a brighter outlook, 72 per cent respondents stated their intention to invest in capacity expansion during the next 12 months and the percentage was higher (82%) amongst large firms.
Growing competition remains the key challenge for 34 per cent of the respondents while 66 per cent cited no such challenge, as against 22 per cent in the previous quarter, thus underlining an improving sentiment. Slowing demand, rising rental '&' leasing costs and the adverse impact of government fees and regulations on margins and cash flows are among other major concerns.
DED conducts the quarterly surveys to measure the perceptions of the business community and capture the business outlook for the future. The survey serves as an effective tool to measure the pulse of the business community and allow the government and the private sector to track and analyse major trends and issues that have a bearing on economic activity in Dubai.
A total of 508 companies in Dubai were covered in the survey. The companies were asked to indicate if they anticipated an increase, decrease, or no change in key indicators such as sales revenues, selling prices, volumes sold, profits and number of employees.
Conducted in collaboration with the global consultancy firm Dun '&' Bradstreet (D'&'B), the quarterly survey uses a rigorous sampling approach that ensures adequate representation of small, medium, and large enterprises across the manufacturing, trading, and services sectors, while giving due attention to the perceptions of the exporting firms in Dubai. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
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DED Ajman issues annual economic report 2013


posted on 05/12/2013

Overall, real GDP increased by 4 per cent in Ajman, placing the emirate's growth rate close to the UAE's overall rate of 4.4 per cent in 2012, according to the report issued in Arabic and English languages by the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Ajman.
The report refers to the economic indicators of the Emirate of Ajman in 2012 compared to the previous years to document the development in the Emirate as per official statistics.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Humaid, chairman of Ajman's department of economic development, said, "The economy of the Emirate of Ajman has so far avoided the repercussions of the global financial crisis." He commended the efforts exerted by the DED in Ajman in the implementation of the directives by H.H. Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ajman and the follow up from H.H. Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Crown Prince of Ajman.
The report shows the number of occupied hotel rooms in Ajman, a measure of tourist activity in the emirate, increased from 186,500 in 2009 to 602,033 last year. The Emirate boasted nine hotels in 2005, but now has 27. The revenue of Ajman hotels grew at an average rate of 14 per cent annually across the period.
But tourism accounts for less than 6 per cent of the Ajman economy - compared to the 37 per cent share of the local economy constituted by the manufacturing industry.
The report said the food prices increased by 8.51 per cent, contributing significantly to overall inflation of 3.5 per cent. Meanwhile, the employment in Ajman banks was 48 per cent for Emiratis, suggesting the success of the Emiratisation process.
Earlier, the Ministry of Public Works announced that hundreds of millions of dirhams would be spent on construction projects in Sharjah, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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UAE again among Arab world’s economically freest nations, says Canadian report


posted on 01/12/2013

The UAE is among the Arab world's economically freest nations for the second year in a row, a report says, although its rating has declined slightly from last year.
Bahrain, the UAE, and Jordan have the most economic freedom in the Middle East, according to a report by Canada's Fraser Institute.
All three countries have an overall ranking of eight out of 10 in the institute's Economic Freedom of the Arab World survey this year, which tracks five key economic measures.
The UAE and Bahrain shared top spot in the institute's rankings last year with an 8.1 rating.
In the UAE's case, its slight rating decline was caused by a dip in its score on its size of government to 7.8 from 7.9 last year, because of an increase in transfers and subsidies as a percentage of GDP.
Likewise, Bahrain's rating was affected by a drop in its score for regulation of labour, credit and business to 8.8 from 8.9 last year.
Algeria had the lowest economic freedom ranking of 5.8 out of 10, followed by Iraq (6.1) and Mauritania (6.3).
The annual report is published in partnership with Germany's Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty and the International Research Foundation of Oman.
It compares and ranks Arab nations in five economic areas: the size of government (including expenditures, taxes and enterprises); commercial and economic law and the security of property rights; access to money; freedom to trade internationally; and the regulation of credit, labour and business.
The UAE, the highest ranked Arab country in the report published in September, placed fifth behind Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand and Switzerland.
Bahrain, the next highest ranking Arab country, was in eighth place, followed by Jordan (13), Qatar (23) and Lebanon (38). – The National

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Economy Minister receives Kentucky Governor


posted on 24/11/2013

Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, has received the visiting U.S, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, and his accompanying delegation.
During the meeting, they discussed the bilateral economic relations and ways to boost them in the future between the U.A.E and the U.S.A.
Abdullah Al Saleh, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Economy for Foreign Sector, a number of U.S senior officials and Ministry of Economy officials attended the meeting.
Al Mansouri hailed the facilities provided by the U.S government for the Emirati airlines, stressing the positive impact, which resulted in the direct flights, especially encouraging tourism, bolstering relations and exchange of trade between the two countries.
He also cited that the UAE has adopted economic and trade openness approach as a means of economic growth, pointing out that the economic openness reached 170 per cent in the light of the increasing of contribution of the non-oil sectors in the GDP to over 60 per cent last year.
The two sides discussed also the UAE's economic potentials and investment environment, which enjoys modern and integrated infrastructures such as: airports, ports, telecommunication, transportation and logistic services. Thanks to this, the U.A.E ranked 17th in the Global Competitiveness Report 2013-2014, issued by the World Economic Forum in Davos.
For his part, Kentucky Governor expressed his desire to promote the UAE-U.S relations on the trade and investment level, hailing the growing ties in all sectors between the two parties.
He added that there are number of opportunities that could pave the way for partnership in the trade, industrial and investment sectors. He also commended the UAE's cultural boom in various fields.
Steve Beshear also invited a UAE economic delegation led by the Economy Minister to explore investment opportunities in the State. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Summit on Global Agenda 2013 draws to successful conclusion in Abu Dhabi


posted on 21/11/2013

The World Economic Forum's 6th Summit on the Global Agenda successfully concluded in the UAE's capital, Abu Dhabi, earlier today after three days of brainstorming and dialogue. More than 900 participants from 80 countries discussed some of the most pressing issues on the global agenda, including hyperconnectivity, population demographics, the development agenda and the rise of megacities.
Summit Co-Chair Sultan Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, delivered remarks at the Closing Plenary, providing his insights on the Summit's outcomes and opportunities.
Al Mansouri stated: "It has been a demanding, exciting and productive three days and we thank all the participants of the Summit on the Global Agenda 2013 for their effort and engagement. It has been a successful gathering that raised many important issues followed by key recommendations for many challenges." He added: "This is a global agenda, and we all need to work together to ensure the items discussed are implemented internationally. The UAE is committed to forming global partnerships, through the Summit and other global events, in order to collaboratively make a positive difference in the world." Commenting on the conclusion of the Summit, Nasser Alsowaidi, Chairman, Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Department and Co-chair of the Summit said: "Today, we conclude our sessions for the Summit on the Global Agenda 2013. Abu Dhabi is proud to have contributed to this significant event that brought together some of the world's greatest minds. We have discussed globally pressing issues, and we have brainstormed ideas and solutions that the participants will continue to carry forward." The Closing Plenary featured a panel discussion that focused on six main topics: Trust and Leadership; Societies in Transformation; Driving Inclusive Growth; A Hyperconnected World; Towards a Global Climate Agreement, and; Creating Tomorrow's Jobs.
Panel participants included prominent global thought leaders, such as Rod A. Beckstorm, Chief Security Advisor of Samsung Electronics; Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB); Joseph S. Nye Jr, University Distinguished Service Professor at Harvard Kennedy School; and Stefano Scarpetta, Director for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs (DELSA) for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
With a theme of Driving Change through Collaboration speakers and thought leaders from around the world spent three days working together in Abu Dhabi to explore sustainable solutions for some of the world's most pressing problems and concerns.
The Summit, which was held for the sixth time in the UAE and the second time in Abu Dhabi, was jointly hosted by the Government of the United Arab Emirates and the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, together with the World Economic Forum. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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UAE supports forums which serve global economy


posted on 20/11/2013

General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces received at Yas Hotel, Klaus Schwab, Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF) who is visiting the UAE to attend the summit on the Global Agenda.
Sheikh Mohammed welcomed Klaus Schawb and wished success to the summit in identifying initiatives for boosting economic cooperation and confronting economic challenges.
He said the UAE supports such forums which serve global economy through sharing vision and best practices for economic development.
"The UAE seeks to benefit from others' experiences and to share its own vision and approaches for the development of global economy," he added.
Klaus Schawb praised the collaboration between WEF and the Network of Global Agenda Councils in offering vision and innovative solutions in developing global economy.
The three-day summit is taking place at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, under the theme, ‘Driving Change Through Collaboration'. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Sultan Al Mansouri delivers keynote at the Summit on the Global Agenda 2013 in Abu Dhabi


posted on 19/11/2013

Summit Co-Chairs Sultan Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, and Nasser Alsowaidi, Chairman Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, both delivered opening remarks at the Summit on the Global Agenda 2013, being held from 18-20 November at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.
Also in attendance at the Summit's Opening Plenary session were Mohammed Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Suhail Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy, Dr Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water; and Sultan bin Nasser Al-Suwaidi, Governor, UAE Central Bank. Abu Dhabi Executive Council members in the audience included Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Chairman, Executive Affairs Authority of Abu Dhabi, Major General Obaid Al Hairi Salem Al Ketbi, Deputy General Commander of Abu Dhabi Police; and Dr Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, General Manager, Abu Dhabi Education Council.
Jointly hosted by the Government of the United Arab Emirates and the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, together with the World Economic Forum, the Summit sees more than 900 global thought leaders from 80 countries convening in the UAE capital to discuss solutions to global challenges at the invitation-only meeting. It is the sixth time that the UAE has hosted the Summit on the Global Agenda, and the second time that it has been held in Abu Dhabi.
Sultan Al Mansouri stated, "As proactive participants in the global community, the governments of the UAE and the Emirate of Abu Dhabi have been contributing to the international efforts to address the world's greatest challenges. At this important forum that fosters global collaboration, we in the UAE are delighted to share our own growth experience, which has been built on the welfare and prosperity of the people living in this country." Speaking at the Opening Plenary, Nasser Alsowaidi said "In recent years, the world has witnessed significant political and economic change. In times such as these, the need for greater international cooperation is magnified. Situated at the dynamic centre of the Arab World, the UAE is committed to playing its part to facilitate and strengthen these global connections, through increased social, political and economic cooperation. This week's Summit is a perfect example." Other attendees of the Opening Plenary included heads of Abu Dhabi entities such as Abu Dhabi Global Market, Higher Colleges of Technology, ADNOC, TwoFour54 and Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi.
A number of senior UAE and local government and private sector representatives, who contribute to the various Councils, will also participate alongside the international delegates.
The theme of this year's Summit - Driving Change Through Collaboration - will be taken forward by the Network of Global Agenda Councils, which were established in 2012 and comprise 86 groups of experts from academia, business, civil society, international organisations and government. Together, these councils discuss solutions for diverse globally-relevant challenges. Each of the 86 Councils comprises 15-20 members.
The agenda for the three-day Summit comprises a series of interactive sessions and council-based discussions. Some of the topics being addressed include climate change, demographic shifts, transformation in the global economy, global security, technological advancements, and cross-border business opportunities. It will be concluded by a session to discuss Summit outcomes and to coalesce on strategies for impact.
The Summit on the Global Agenda is organised by the World Economic Forum, which is also the organiser of the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting in Davos each February.
Following is the speech of Sultan Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy: Bismillah ur rahman ur rahim.
"Prof. Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, On behalf of the Government of the UAE, it is my honour to welcome you to the 2013 Summit on the Global Agenda. We thank the World Economic Forum for hosting the event for the sixth consecutive year in the UAE. This reflects our fruitful relationship with the World Economic Forum and the UAE's positive role on the global stage.
The diverse perspectives represented at this Summit make this a unique space for creative and collaborative problem solving. We are very proud to host this prestigious event in the UAE as it represents an ideal platform to achieve our Leadership vision represented in His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to open new horizons for cooperation between the countries, peoples and cultures to contribute to providing practical solutions to the political, economic and social challenges facing the world today.
This Summit brings together more than 1,000 global thought leaders and nearly 90 councils who meet in the UAE annually to discuss the most pressing challenges that humanity faces. The discussions in Abu Dhabi will serve as a backdrop for preparing an actionable strategy for positive change at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters early next year.
Ladies and Gentlemen, As proactive participants in the global community, the governments of the UAE and the Emirate of Abu Dhabi have been contributing to the international efforts to address the world's greatest challenges. At this important forum that fosters global collaboration, we in the UAE are delighted to share our own growth experience, which has been built on the welfare and prosperity of the people living in this country.
We are keen to share the primary focus of our visionary leadership, which is aimed at addressing our people's aspirations and the needs of our younger generation. But this has not been an easy task. To understand this better, we need to go back 50 years, to the time when the United Arab Emirates was little more than a group of small fishing villages.
Back then, we sustained ourselves through pearl trading, fishing, and date farming. In fact, it wasn't until 1971 that the United Arab Emirates came together as a country, in the form of a federation of seven states. Life in the UAE today bears little resemblance to that land of 42 years ago.
As a young nation, inspired by the vision of our leaders and energised by their boundless determination, we have made rapid strides in almost every conceivable area. Today the UAE is one of the leading tourism, investment and business centres in the world, a regional gateway to trade and a global transportation hub.
Most importantly, we have achieved a number of important social, educational, technological and economic milestones. Today, for example, we have one of the highest literacy rates in the region. We also have one of the highest gender equality ratios and one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world.
Women enjoy complete equality and play an increasingly important role in UAE society. In fact, we already lead the Arab world in gender equality. Over 70 per cent of our university graduates are women, which is among the best in the world.
More than 65 per cent of all jobs in our government are held by women. In terms of economy, the most recent Global Competitiveness Report issued by the World Economic Forum for 2013-14 ranked the UAE as the 19th most competitive country in the world.
We have also been ranked first in the Middle East and North Africa in terms of Ease of Doing Business. Having created an attractive environment for business and investment, the UAE is now the regional headquarters of over 25 per cent of the top 500 companies in the world.
As the UAE proceeds with its diversification strategy, we expect that the knowledge economy will contribute 5 per cent of the GDP by 2021.
The UAE has taken steps to prevent corruption and ranks first in the region (along with Qatar) in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2012, helped by strong access to information systems and rules governing the behaviour of those in public positions.
Security is vital to fostering strong investment climates. The UAE has remained a secure destination for foreign investors and an oasis of stability and progress despite the global economic slowdown.
Foreign direct investments into the UAE are estimated to have surged 21 per cent to US$9 billion in 2012 from US$7.6 billion in the previous year.
To pave the way for increased FDI inflow, the UAE has been progressively restructuring its regulatory environment to align it with global best practices in transparency, investment protection and competitiveness.
Our nation was also built on international trade. Today, the UAE remains the largest export market in the Middle East for both the United States and the United Kingdom, while trade between the UAE and China has risen fivefold over the past ten years.
Our government ensures better living standards and quality of life for our citizens and residents of the UAE who belong to more than 200 nationalities. As a result, the UAE is one of the happiest places on the earth, having topped the Arab world and ranking 14th globally in the World Happiness Report 2013.
Through its membership of a range of international organisations, including hosting the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency, the UAE has made clear its commitment to responsible global citizenship and the strengthening of its international relationships.
Our nation has been blessed with significant natural resources and is ranked as the 30th largest economy in the world. At the same time, we remain a generous country, and the UAE has been ranked by the OECD as the world's 16th largest aid donor in 2012.
Ladies and Gentlemen, The UAE is keen to take the message of social and economic development on the global platform. The economic reality in the world today requires us to have a larger role to play in shaping the global economic order, as well as in powering the social development debate.
The solution to some of the most pressing concerns of the world lies in sincere partnerships - between rich and poor nations, between large and small and medium enterprises and between global organisations and specialised organisations. We need coordinated movements in the fight against social and environmental issues that threaten to jeopardise peace in many parts of the world.
Actions are needed to narrow the gap between poor and rich countries. We must recognise the risk of climate diversity and the importance of preserving the environment and build a green economy. While we live in an era of constant change, we need to ensure that the changes taking place around us are for our better.
I believe the diverse perspectives represented at the Summit on the Global Agenda will make bring us together in creative and collaborative problem solving. Through our participation in the Summit on the Global Agenda, each of us has a small opportunity to contribute in whatever way we can to the great global discussion taking place on the issues that confront our world.
I once again welcome everybody to this event and express the confidence that this summit will succeed in achieving its objectives. Thank you."

Following is the speech of Nasser AlSowaidi, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development: Good afternoon.
"On behalf of the Government of Abu Dhabi, it is a privilege to formally welcome you to the sixth World Economic Forum Summit on the Global Agenda, hosted in the UAE, and for the second time in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
So much has progressed in Abu Dhabi since we last gathered at Yas Marina Circuit in October 2011. And the roadmap for much of this development in recent years was articulated in the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030. This is the Government of Abu Dhabi's long-term plan for the development and diversification of the economy.
At the core of the Economic Vision is a belief that an economy that is too reliant on a single commodity will always be prone to volatility. As the price of that commodity fluctuates, so will the overall performance of the economy.
For us, oil had been the commodity of focus. And while it has fuelled much of our social and economic development in the last half-century, it is important to ensure that other areas of economic activity are also given every chance to succeed. This is good for the long-term stability of the economy, but also for the people of Abu Dhabi and the UAE.
As such, the Government has set out a comprehensive strategy to expand the contribution of the non-oil sector to the Emirate's GDP and boost the creation of high-quality jobs in export-oriented, knowledge-based sectors.
Specifically, the Economic Vision seeks to boost the contribution of the non-oil sector from around 40 per cent of the Emirate's GDP in 2008 to over 60 per cent by the year 2030. And so far so good.
Today, the non-oil and gas sector accounts for almost half of the Emirate's GDP and the economy as a whole is growing steadily.
According to the Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi, between 2011 and 2012 the Abu Dhabi economy achieved an annual growth rate of 7.7 per cent. However, growth in the non-oil and gas sector was even higher at 9.6 per cent, reflecting the increasing importance of these more diversified industries.
As you travel around Abu Dhabi this week, the fruits of this process are all around you - from the changing faces of Yas and Saadiyat islands, which are helping to bring in visitors in record numbers ..
To Masdar City, which sits at the heart of a rapidly emerging centre of excellence in renewable energy.
The recent opening of Al Maryah Island - the new Central Business District of Abu Dhabi City - has not just changed the skyline, but also created another focal point for Foreign Direct Investment and a home for knowledge-based industries such as financial services and healthcare.
Elsewhere in the Emirate, Al Ain is emerging as a hub for aerospace manufacturing while KIZAD, with its world-class facilities spread over more than 400 square kilometres has added a mega industrial and logistics offering to the Emirate's existing infrastructure.
These developments are producing important benefits. Most obviously, they are generating high-quality employment opportunities for young UAE Nationals in a much wider range of industries than were available only a few short years ago.
The new Central Business District on Al Maryah Island is set to welcome 75,000 working professionals. Our new nuclear energy industry, based in the Western Region of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, is seeing heavy investment pour into one of the furthest-flung areas of our country creating thousands of jobs across a number of sectors, including infrastructure, construction, real estate, retail and other service industries, in addition to opportunities within the nuclear industry itself.
International partnerships have been an integral part of this process.
In fact, according to a recent report, in the last ten years more than 450 foreign companies have invested in Abu Dhabi, with many citing domestic growth potential, proximity to their customers and an attractive business climate among the reasons why.
It must be acknowledged that much of this growth has occurred during a period of relative uncertainty in the global economy. In recent years, the world has witnessed significant political and economic change. In times such as these, the need for greater international cooperation is magnified. Situated at the dynamic centre of the Arab World, the UAE is committed to playing its part to facilitate and strengthen these global connections, through increased social, political and economic cooperation.
This week's Summit is a perfect example.
Complex questions require coordinated solutions, and the World Economic Forum's Summit on the Global Agenda meets this need in a unique way. The Summit brings together a wide range of experts spanning various disciplines and regions of the world to address the most complex questions of our time.
By hosting this event, we seek to provide a collaborative environment in which challenging global issues can be explored by one of the most diverse groups of world class thinkers to be assembled anywhere in the world.
The UAE, and its capital Abu Dhabi, have always welcomed pioneers and those with the capacity to think differently. There are many such people in the group that has been assembled in this room.
This diversity of contribution has always been, and remains, at the heart of the Summit on the Global Agenda, and continues to be something that we in the UAE can identify with based on our own national experience.
For those that have travelled from abroad, welcome to the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. I thank you for being with us, and look forward to working with each of you over the next three days. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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UAE's economy to grow by 4.5% this year, says Economy Minister Sultan Al Mansouri


posted on 19/11/2013

The UAE's gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow between 4 per cent and 4.5 per cent this year, according to Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy.
"The UAE remains committed to its on-going development and diversification of its economy in keeping with its Vision 2021, which seeks to make the UAE one of the best countries in the world by 2021," Al Mansouri told Gulf News.
Al Mansouri said despite IMF predictions of weaker global oil prices next year, the UAE's economy will surge ahead and grow even stronger.
"The impact of oil prices is limited to only between 30 and 33 per cent, or its share in the GDP of the country. We are also planning to reduce this share to only 10 per cent in future," Al Mansouri said.
The UAE Minister of Economy also ruled out any cut in infrastructure projects.
Stressing that the UAE works with other nations to address common global challenges, Al Mansouri said the UAE has historically punched above its weight economically.
"This year, the UAE was the 30th largest economy in the world. Additionally, the UAE continues to be one of the world's top investment inductive environments, with Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) exceeding Dh35 billion last year," Al Mansouri said. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
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UAE helps solve world’s biggest challenges


posted on 18/11/2013

This week more than 900 people are gathering in the UAE capital for the World Economic Forum's Summit on the Global Agenda. Described as the world's largest brainstorming session, this year's summit will see participants from more than 80 countries come together to discuss issues as diverse as climate change, youth employment and the impact of disruptive technologies.
The summit comes at an important moment in global affairs. Historic changes are taking place in the global system and the international community is at a crossroads in its response to a number of issues. At such a moment, it is more important than ever to commit ourselves to the development of innovative solutions to the world's greatest challenges. This is a responsibility that the UAE government takes very seriously.
Change has been a way of life for the people of the UAE over the last half century. We are a young country. Established in 1971, the UAE came into being in the same year as the World Economic Forum. However, in that time our nation has experienced significant social and economic development and established a reputation as an active and responsible member of the international community.
The UAE remains committed to its ongoing development. In 2010, His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, launched a significant national document known as ‘UAE Vision 2021', which seeks to make the UAE one of the best countries in the world by 2021.

Punching above its weight
A key part of being one of the best countries in the world is working with other nations to address common challenges. Through its membership of a range of international organisations, including hosting the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency, the UAE has made clear its commitment to responsible global citizenship and the strengthening of its international relationships.
Although a small country, the UAE has historically punched above its weight economically. This year, the UAE was the 30th largest economy in the world. Additionally, the UAE continues to be one of the world's top investment inductive environments, with Foreign Direct Investments exceeding Dh35 billion in 2012.
However, we remain a generous country too, ranked by the OECD as the world's 16th largest aid donor in 2012.
And while natural resources have been the cornerstone of our economic development, the UAE has also worked hard to establish itself as an important centre for international trade.
However, rather than rest on our laurels the UAE government is investing further in its innovation capabilities to fuel the next phase of its economic development.
Recognising the importance of international cooperation, we have established MoUs on innovation and SMEs with partners in a range of countries including South Korea, Canada and Italy, with an agreement likely to be concluded shortly with a partner in Sweden. This partnership's objective will be to make an innovation contribution of five per cent to the GDP by 2021.
Our experience as a trading nation and a responsible global citizen has taught the UAE many things. In particular, it has instilled in us a belief in the unifying power of finding shared interests between nations. It is the view of the UAE Government that increased cooperation and dialogue can accelerate the development of sustainable solutions to even the most complex of issues.
Through our participation in the Summit on the Global Agenda this week, the UAE has a unique opportunity to contribute to the great global discussions taking place on the issues that confront our world. The diverse perspectives represented at the WEF Summit on the Global Agenda make this a unique space for creative and collaborative problem solving. There is no other forum like it, and we remain honoured to host it here in the UAE.
Sultan Saeed Nasser Al Mansouri is the UAE Minister of Economy and Co-Chair of the WEF Summit on the Global Agenda. – by Sultan Saeed Nasser Al Mansouri – Special to Gulf News
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