The UAE's GDP is to grow by 2 to 4 per cent in 2009 and inflation to fall to 6 to 8 per cent from 14 per cent in 2008, according to a top official at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI).
Hamad Buamin, Director-General of the Dubai Chamber, underlined the UAE's ability to recover from the global financial crisis and praised the measures taken by the government. He was speaking at a forum called "The Gulf During the International Financial Crisis – Heading For Stability", organised by the chamber in co-operation with the United States's Georgetown University.
Addressing the forum Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, said: "The measures taken by the UAE Government to address the crisis have supported the UAE economy and created opportunities for new activities and businesses."
Buamin added that the UAE's total debt stands at $211 billion (Dh774.3bn) and Dubai's share in it is estimated at $120.2bn, accounting for 57 per cent of the country's total debt. Most of the debt was used to finance infrastructure and real estate projects. "Both the public and private sectors depend on external sources to finance their investment programmes and development projects, which has caused the debt," he said.
"A number of Dubai's sectors are affected by the global crisis, the most prominent of which are the financial, real estate, trade, tourism and export sectors," he said. "The crisis has led to a drop in the economy's growth and in the demand for consumption, investment and tourism. It has also resulted in redundancies. There are other sectors which were impacted, but by lesser degrees, such as education, medical services, and the food and beverage industries," he said.
"The current global recession and the fall in oil prices have impacted trade in Dubai – the extent of which will be clearer during the coming period," Buamin said.