The UAE has pumped nearly Dh29 billion into manufacturing projects over the past four years and most of the investments have been made by Abu Dhabi.
Food, beverages and tobacco had the lion’s share of the investments, while chemicals, metals and minerals remained a key target of the country’s drive to expand its industrial base and lessen reliance on volatile oil sales.
Official figures showed the new investments covered more than 1,000 projects and national investors controlled nearly 85 per cent of the cumulative industrial capital of around Dh72bn at the end of 2007.
From nearly Dh43.6bn at the end of 2003, total investments in the UAE’s non-oil industrial sector surged to Dh72.6bn at the end of 2007, an increase of Dh29bn, figures published in the Ministry of Finance and Industry’s 2008 Statistical Industrial Book showed.
Abu Dhabi accounted for the bulk of the investments, pumping a total of Dh38.9bn by the end of 2007. Investments in its industrial sector stood at around Dh15.6bn in 2003, an increase of Dh23.3bn in four years.
Most of the increase in Abu Dhabi’s industrial capital was in 2004, when it leaped to Dh34.3bn from Dh15.62bn the previous year.
Manufacturing investments in Dubai grew from Dh14.3bn to Dh17.1bn, while those in Sharjah rose from Dh3.5bn to Dh4.03bn.
Industrial capital increased from Dh995 million to Dh1.49bn in Ajman, from Dh3.05bn to Dh4.2bn in Ras Al Khaimah, from Dh402m to Dh483m in Umm Al Quwain, and from Dh5.7bn to Dh6.4bn in Fujairah. Industrial projects in the UAE also surged from 2,795 to 3,852 during the same period, according to the figures.
Although Abu Dhabi was the largest industrial investor, it had a low number of projects, which totalled 334 at the end of 2007. Experts explained that a large number of projects in Abu Dhabi have a high capital.
The figures showed food, beverages and tobacco received around Dh32.1bn, accounting for nearly 44 per cent of the total manufacturing capital.
Chemicals came second in terms of investments, which stood at Dh15.4bn. Investments stood at Dh8.8bn in mineral products, Dh7.2bn in metal products, Dh5.1bn in equipment, Dh1.8bn in paper products, Dh960m in textile and garments and Dh822m in wood products.
A breakdown showed nationals controlled the bulk of the industrial investment, with a share of Dh61.9bn, more than 85 per cent of the total. Around Dh8.1bn is controlled by foreigners and the rest by other GCC investors. Besides contributing to economic diversification programmes, industrial projects created a large number of jobs, standing at 288,180 at the end of 2007.
Mineral products emerged as the largest job provider, employing nearly 54,000 people. It was followed by chemical projects, which employed nearly 36,800 people, textile and garments, with 31,700 and food and beverage with 29,130.
The report gave no figures on industrial exports but the UAE has recorded a sharp rise in such exports over the past 15 years. Their value was projected to exceed Dh15bn last year compared to Dh6bn in 1995.
The heavy investments have also largely boosted the industrial sector’s contribution to the country’s gross domestic product to become the second largest component after oil and gas.
From Dh42.2bn in 2003, the industrial sector’s value in the GDP jumped to Dh73.4bn in 2006, accounting for nearly 12 per cent of the total GDP, second only to the oil sector, according to the Central Bank, which gave no 2007 figures.
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