Abu Dhabi posts highest growth in Mena region as GDP surges


The Abu Dhabi’s gross domestic product (GDP) recorded 10.5 per cent year-on-year growth during the first nine months of 2022, the highest in the Middle East and North Africa.

Latest data released by Statistics Centre — Abu Dhabi (SCAD) showed that the emirate’s real GDP exceeded Dh830 billion during the January-September 2022 period. The SCAD also registered 50.3 per cent contribution of non-oil sectors to the real GDP of the emirate, reflecting an increase of Dh39 billion to reach Dh417.3 billion.

Ahmed Jasim Al Zaabi, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED), said Abu Dhabi’s robust economy continues to prove its superiority driven by our leadership’s clear vision, its ability to attract foreign direct investments and agile policies that enabled our economy to achieve the strongest growth in the region.

“Abu Dhabi, with its world-renowned cosmopolitan lifestyle and unparalleled infrastructure, is the destination of choice for global investors and talent. The private sector plays a crucial role in supporting the economy’s continued growth, and we will continue to prioritise sustainable economic policies to broaden the investment landscape,” Al Zaabi said.

20.3% growth in real estate activities

Abu Dhabi’s real estate sector surged 20.3 per cent due to the rise in real estate activities as investors showed interest in the emirate’s renowned waterfront and island communities such as Saadiyat Island, Yas Island, Al Reem Island and Al Raha Gardens.

The emirate’s accommodation and food services sector rose 20.2 per cent in the first nine months of 2022 while tourism sector, hotel occupancy rates, amongst other key indicators, have reached a two-year high.

“Abu Dhabi hosted 4.1 million overnight hotel guests in January-September period, reflecting a growth of 24 per cent. Hotel occupancy rates reached 70 per cent, well above the Middle East average of 63.6 per cent which makes Abu Dhabi among top tourism destinations in the region in 2022,” according to SCAD statement.

The robust growth is being driven by increased awareness across international and domestic markets of Abu Dhabi’s offering of entertainment and sporting events, cultural and heritage experiences, and leading international partnerships, it added.

Credit goes to strategic policies

Ahmed Mahmoud Fikri, director-general of the SCAD, said the Abu Dhabi has attained accelerating growth rates in the non-oil gross domestic product, culminating in a 10.3 per cent increase by the close of the third quarter of 2022.

“This growth is attributed to the strategic policies of prudent leadership, which have aimed at diversifying the economy, fostering private sector engagement, and investing in human capital. These efforts have established a robust economic environment resilient to challenges,” he said.

Referring to latest data, he said all economic sectors demonstrated impressive growth with the exceptional performance of main economic sectors.

“This included remarkable increases that portend a bright future for indicating a thriving and robust economy,” he said.

8.1% growth in manufacturing activities

The manufacturing activities in the emirate witnessed a growth rate of 8.1 per cent, with a contribution of eight per cent to the GDP during the first nine months of 2022. The manufacturing sector is expected to double in size by 2031 with the newly announced Abu Dhabi Industrial Strategy to strengthen the emirate’s position as the region’s most competitive industrial centre.

Abu Dhabi government recently announced that it will invest Dh10 billion across a number of ambitious industrial programmes to more than double the size of the emirate’s manufacturing sector to Dh172 billion by 2031. The new strategy will boost Abu Dhabi’s trade with international markets, with the aim of increasing the emirate’s non-oil exports by 143 per cent to Dh178.8 billion by 2031.

6.9% growth of the financial sector

Abu Dhabi’s financial sector grew by 6.9 per cent in the first nine months of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021, with a value of Dh28 billion. The sector accounted for 5.5 per cent of the GDP.

The growing confidence of the international community and the economic growth potential has made Abu Dhabi a preferred destination for investors, businessmen, entrepreneurs, innovators, and other professionals from different parts of the world to the ‘Capital of Capital’.

Retail, transportation and storage activities

The wholesale and retail trade sector rose 17.4 per cent to Dh45 billion during the first nine months of 2022. This sector accounted for 5.4 per cent of Abu Dhabi’s nine-month GDP.

Similarly, the transportation and storage sector saw an added value of Dh14 billion, recording a growth of 11.4 per cent. This sector, which boosted the emirate’s GDP by 1.7 per cent, covers the transportation of passengers and cargo via rail, road, water, or air, and related storage activities.

Abu Dhabi Airports reported that the emirate’s airports were used by a combined total of 15.9 million passengers in 2022.

Abu Dhabi has launched a number of initiatives in recent years as it focuses on diversifying its economy away from oil, promoting its non-oil economic activities, maintaining a prudent fiscal policy and progressively responding to the market needs and trends to upgrade the regulatory and legal frameworks to encourage foreign direct investment and promote its domestic investments.

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