UAE Economic Outlook 2017 starts debate on innovation, entrepreneurship

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UAE Economic Outlook 2017 starts debate on innovation, entrepreneurship

Dubai - Dubai will announce economic outlook twice every year, says Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum

By Staff Report

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Published: Tue 17 Jan 2017, 2:23 PM

Last updated: Tue 17 Jan 2017, 9:01 PM

Under the patronage of Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, the 'UAE Economic Outlook 2017' hosted jointly by the Dubai Department of Economic Development and the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development went into session today in Dubai. The two-day forum - 4th in an annual series - is being held under the theme 'Getting a Headstart on Tomorrow: Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Sustainable Growth and Diversification."
Delivering his keynote at the session, Shaikh 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, announced Dubai will release its economic outlook twice every year from now onwards, in January and October. The initiative is aimed to promote transparency and provide accurate information that would help consumers as well as investors in decision-making, His Highness said, adding that the outlook would reveal Dubai's expectations at both macro-economic and sectoral levels against the global economic backdrop.
Extending welcome to the participants during his keynote Shaikh Ahmed said: "The UAE Economic Outlook has gained prominence as an annual brainstorming on the future economic strategy for the public and private sectors in the country. Your presence here today proves your interest in the future of the UAE economy, and your commitment to contribute to the prosperity of people everywhere."
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 private and the public sector."
Abdullah bin Ahmed Al Saleh, Undersecretary in the UAE Ministry of Economy for Foreign Trade & Industry, while delivering a speech on behalf of Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, Minister of Economy, said the country has grown fast into the second biggest economy in the Arab world and a prominent trade and investment hub regionally and internationally. "The vision of the UAE leadership and clear government policies have enabled the consolidation of a diversified and globally competitive economy strongly founded on knowledge, innovation and empowered citizens," Al Saleh said adding that the UAE Economic Outlook 2017 is an ideal platform to shed light on the future prospects in the country and explore ways to sustain the progress achieved.
Al Saleh also said that the initiatives launched in the UAE over the past have succeeded in preparing the country to enter the post-oil phase confidently. "The GDP contribution of oil has fallen to about 30%, improving flexibility and resilience of the national economy. Real GDP growth touched 3.8% and the country attracted 11 billion dollars in foreign direct investment in 2015, cementing the UAE's position as a premier investment destination in the Arab world. Exports grew 22% in the same year compared to 2014 and industrial investment has grown to 130 billion dirhams in 2016 from 127.6 billion during the previous year."
Emphasising that innovation is critical to achieving the levels of productivity and sustainable development as targeted in the UAE vision 2021 Al Saleh also mentioned the role of entrepreneurship in innovation and economic development. "In 2016 the UAE stood first among Arab countries and 41st globally in Global Innovation Index. The country was also ranked 19th in the Global Entrepreneurship Index in the same year and the contribution of innovation to national GDP was 3%, which was similar to what the developed world has achieved."
Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of the Department of Economic Development in Dubai, said: After having demonstrated its sustainability and resilience to the vagaries of the global economy, Dubai is determined to cement its position as a global business hub now and has set its eyes on emerging as one of the five most important centers of global trade and transport, finance and tourism. The Dubai Plan 2021 is a unique growth model that discards the idea of relying on the accumulation of factors of production in favour of sustainable and innovation-driven productivity as well as ease of doing business. The strategy will lead to a diversified base of value-added economic activity and enable the emirate's economy to withstand any potential internal or external shock."
The first panel session on the opening day, moderated by Mohammed Shael Al Saadi, CEO Corporate Strategy in the Dubai DED, reviewed recent global as well as economic developments and their impact on the UAE economy. Paul Moreno-Lopez, Lead Economist GCC Countries at the World Bank, spoke of the global and regional economic outlook while Dr Raed Safadi, Chief Economic Advisor at Dubai DED and Khalifa Ali Al Hosani, Acting Director at Abu Dhabi DED presented the economic outlook of the respective emirates for the year 2017.
Raed Safadi in his presentation brought to focus Dubai's successful economic diversification strategy the emphasis being given to innovation and industrialization in the Dubai Plan 2021 in order to consolidate the gains of diversification. Diversification has brought down reliance on oil and gas to a GDP share of less than 2% today from 55% in the '80s. Trade, real estate, logistics and financial sectors constitute the pillars of the emirate's economy today. GDP growth in recent years indicate qualitative and quantitative transition to a diversified and productive economy taking place within a short time. The growth forecast for Dubai in 2016 was 2.7% as against a global growth estimate of 2.4% and it is expected that the strategies adopted by the government and preparations for Expo Dubai 2020 will sustain such growth rates, said Safadi.
The second session of the day discussed the long-term prospects for the UAE economy, the drivers of economic strategy and the role of the private sector. Dr Aisha Butti Bin Bashr, Director General of the Smart Dubai Office; Christof Rühl, Global Head of Research at the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority; Marios Maratheftis, Chief Economist, Standard Chartered, and Dr Khaled Elsayed Desouky, Economic Expert, Abu Dhabi DED were the panelists.
"The UAE Economic Outlook brings together innovative ideas and practices from several government and private sector firms. It is this collaborative thinking and decision making that will drive innovation and entrepreneurship in the country, helping provide safer, seamless, efficient and impactful experiences for all, making the UAE a happier nation," said Dr Aisha Butti Bin Bishr.
Speakers and local and international experts who participated in the panel discussions on the first day were of the UAE Economic Outlook 2017 were honoured by Sami Al Qamzi. -

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