UAE embarks on “post-oil journey”

January 31, 2016 1:55 pm

If the recent developments are any indication, the leaders in the Arab world have woken up to the reality that all that glitters is no longer oil. A new school of thought has just started to gain popularity: thinking beyond oil and diversifying economies as much and as swiftly as possible.

The UAE is apparently taking the helm by making attempts to lessen dependency on revenues from hydrocarbon exports.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, said last February that his country would celebrate the last barrel of oil. Ever since then, the country has been ramping up efforts to build a sustainable economy for future generations.

Most recently, the leaders of the UAE sat together to discuss the nation’s post-oil future.

They took part in brainstorming sessions to develop a comprehensive national programme for a diverse and sustainable economy during a two-day retreat, which began on January 30, according to state news agency WAM.

Various ministers, senior officials and experts, split into four teams, looked at the current state of the UAE economy by reviewing the GDP growth rates since 1980 and the contribution of oil and non-oil sectors.

In 1980, the total GDP of the UAE was AED555 billion; 21 per cent of this amount came from non-oil sectors while 79 per cent came from oil. But in 2014, the UAE’s GDP was AED1.154 trillion, with 69 per cent coming from the non-oil sector while the oil sector accounted for 31 per cent.

“The UAE’s GDP in 2015 is estimated to be with AED1.5trn with 30 per cent of it from oil sector. We will not stop here; we are moving forward to reduce the oil contribution to our GDP,” said His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai

The teams also highlighted the most important scenarios that could be adopted by the government to make a quantum leap in achieving positive changes in various sectors and stressed the need for developing national talents to lead these sectors.

“Today, as always, we are all united as a team with one vision for our future and from Bab Al Shams (resort), we start UAE’s post-oil journey”, Sheikh Mohamed tweeted from the retreat venue.


Mujeeb Rahman
By Mujeeb Rahman
Mujeeb Rahman is a business journalist at AMEinfo. His areas of focus include economy, markets, politics and international relations in MENA and Asia-Pacific regions. An ex-BBC digital journalist, he delves deeper into the subjects that matter most.