Capital targets seven per cent annual growth

Abu Dhabi is targeting a real growth in its economy of seven per cent annually over the next five years and officials expect the rate to be easily achieved.

The emirate's gross domestic product surged by around 11.5 per cent in real terms in 2006 and growth could have accelerated further last year because of strong crude prices and a steady expansion in the non-oil sector, said Hamid Al Darai, Director of Strategic Planning and Performance Administration at the Abu Dhabi Department of Planning and Economy.

"Real GDP growth in Abu Dhabi Emirate was estimated at around11.5 per cent in 2006.

"This is one of the fastest, if not fastest, real growth rates in the world during that year," he told Emirates Business in an interview yesterday.

"We have not issued precise growth figures for 2007 but it is expected to have even picked up.

"For the next years, we are targeting an annual growth rate of seven per cent and we believe this figure can be realised fairly easily."

Abu Dhabi, the main oil producer in the UAE, has recorded high growth rates over the past few years because of a surge in oil prices that allowed the government to sharply boost spending.

The emirate expects its GDP to jump to nearly Dh584 billion in 2010 and Dh624bn in 2015 before smashing the Dh1 trillion mark for the first time in 2025. It stood at around Dh367bn in 2006 and exceeded Dh400bn last year.