His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation, Chief Executive of the Emirates Group and Chairman of the Economic Development Committee in Dubai, said the economy of Dubai grew by 2.7% in real terms in 2016, despite declining oil prices, sluggish growth in developed as well as many emerging economies, and a mere 1.7% growth in global trade, its lowest since 2008-2009.
The emirate is expected to grow by 3.1% in 2017, His Highness added.
Delivering a keynote speech at the ‘UAE Economic Outlook 2017’, hosted jointly by the Dubai Department of Economic Development and the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed also revealed that Dubai will announce its future economic outlook twice every year from now onwards, in January and October.
The economic outlook will shed light on growth opportunities in the emirate both at the macro-economic and sectoral levels and against the global economic backdrop.
Sheikh Ahmed asserted that sustainability and flexibility are the most notable characteristics of Dubai’s ongoing economic and social transformation under its wise and devoted leadership.
"More than three decades ago, our leadership put diversification on the top of the development pyramid in Dubai and the growth vision and strategies adopted since then have all focused on accelerated and sustainable growth. It has led to faster integration of the emirate’s economy into the global economy and quantitative as well as qualitative growth away from oil. Real economic growth has averaged five percent a year, while the importance of non-oil economic activities has grown steadily. Our efforts at economic diversification continue unabated with a target of increasing the contribution of the non-oil sectors to UAE GDP from 70% today to 80% during the next 15 years," Sheikh Ahmed said.
"During the past year, the UAE continued the course of diversification and progress and achieved new milestones. This includes a jump of 8 points in the World Bank Doing Business report, from 34th to the 26th easiest country in the world for doing business, and ahead of any other Arab country. The World Bank also recognised the UAE as one of the top 10 most improved business environments over the past year," he continued.
His Highness added that the UAE also topped the list of countries in the Middle East and North Africa region Global Entrepreneurship Index Report 2016, and ranked 19th in the world ahead of countries such as Norway, South Korea, Turkey and Japan.
According to the World Competitiveness Report 2016-17, the UAE is second only to Singapore in the Air Transport Infrastructure Quality index that measures the general level of infrastructure in airports and their compliance with international standards.
Reaffirming Dubai’s commitment to pursue its decades’ old policy of openness, Sheikh Ahmed said that the emirate will continue to embrace the world economy through welcoming trade, investment, people and ideas.
Environmental sustainability is another guiding principle of the UAE 2021 National Agenda that was announced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to entrench the principle of sustainability in the march towards a diversified and competitive green economy in the UAE, he added.
"We are working to ensure sustainable development while preserving the environment, and to achieve a perfect balance between economic and social development through improving the quality of air, preserving water resources, increasing the contribution of clean energy, and implementing green growth plans. We continue to work closely with the private sector to boost productivity growth and improve the quality of public services. This is the strategic goal that inspired Dubai’s Public-Private Partnership Law where we seek a continuous model for exchange of knowledge and experience between the two sectors," His Highness Sheikh Ahmed concluded.