(DENNIS B MALLARI)
The UAE and Qatar remained the wealthiest Arab nations in 2007 as their economies far outpaced growth in their population, according to official figures.
Qatar maintained its position as the richest Arab country and one of the wealthiest nations in the world as its per capita income was projected to hit a record QR230,000 (Dh232,000) in 2007, according to figures issued by the Qatar National Bank (QNB), which cited GDP estimates by the Qatari State Planning Council.
The UAE, which has emerged as the second wealthiest Arab country over the past decade, maintained that status in 2007 as its per capita income is expected to peak at around Dh155,803 in 2007.
Kuwait was the third richest Arab state in terms of per capita income, which is calculated by dividing the gross domestic product over the population. It was followed by Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Oman. Outside the Gulf, Libya, Algeria, Lebanon and Jordan were the richest.
The per capita income for the UAE was projected by the Ministry of Economy and Commerce, which forecast the GDP at Dh698,000 and the population at 4.48 million in 2007.
Its figures showed the UAE’s nominal GDP was expected to surge by about 16.5 per cent in 2007, while growth in the population was put at 6.1 per cent. This means the UAE’s per capita income grew by about nine per cent from about Dh142,000 in 2006.
In Qatar, the GDP was estimated at QR226,000 and the population at about 980,000 in 2007, an increase of about seven per cent over 2006.
But the GDP was projected to grow by at least 16 per cent this year.
According to QNB, Qatar was among the 10 wealthiest nations in 2006 and is expected to move ahead as oil prices are forecast to remain strong and the country is pursuing mega gas projects to become the world’s number one LNG exporter in 2012.
The UAE economy has also made substantial leaps over the past five years and is set to maintain that momentum of growth in the future as well.