By Samir Salama, Bureau Chief, Gulf News, 27 Feb 2006
Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi had the highest per capita GDP in the world last year at Dh169,500, and the average per capita income in the UAE was Dh107,164, a senior official said on Sunday.
"The emirate’s economic performance has undergone a substantial boom in the course of last year because of the global increase in oil prices, something which has reflected positively upon both the growing gross domestic product (GDP) and the development of different economic sectors," said Engineer Salah Salem Bin Omair Al Shamsi, president of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry. "The private sector had its role expanded in development with its contribution to GDP increasing by 17.6 per cent.
"The implementation of economic and structural policies and programmes coupled with the growing role played by the private sector in development have been conducive to both improving economic performance and boosting the achievement of potentially high, sustainable growth rates expected to hit 9.8 per cent in 2006.
"Numerous development projects have been floated in all sectors, contributing to the creation of a competitive, distinguish-ed economic environment of Abu Dhabi. It is anticipated that the volume of investment in all sectors will reach more than Dh500 billion over the next five years."
On direct foreign investment, Al Shamsi said it was expected that the Abu Dhabi economy would attract more than $4 billion this year and that the figure would be doubled over the next few years in view of the establishment of new industrial cities and estates along with real estate investment and property holding laws.
"The securities market’s bonanza during 2005 has mirrored confidence in the fact that the Abu Dhabi economy has turned out to be in a position to achieve a promising advance to be witnessed in 2006. The number of local and regional companies listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Market has been reached 59 compared with 35 in 2004.
It is also expected that several joint-stock companies would be floated in the course of this year. Abu Dhabi Securities Market’s general index has also risen by 100 per cent," he said.
Of the Dh500 billion to be invested in various sectors until 2010, Al Shamsi said real estate, construction and building sector would attract more than Dh220 billion, followed by energy with about Dh80 billion, environment sector with almost Dh66 billion, while the services sector (education and health) will get Dh45 billion.
The predicted volume of investment in the field of tourism is about Dh40 billion, followed Dh38 billion for industry and more than Dh749 million for the agriculture sector.
Al Shamsi said in 2005 Abu Dhabi’s GDP grew 11 per cent compared to 6.5 per cent in the previous year to hit Dh302 billion, whereas GDP of the UAE reached Dh496 billion last year. This growth is one of the highest in the world. The economy is expected grow by 6.1 per cent this year.