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Tue 7 Jun 2016 09:08 AM

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Abu Dhabi growth to accelerate as Guggenheim and other projects are revived

‘Worst is behind us’, says Department of Economic Development chairman

Abu Dhabi growth to accelerate as Guggenheim and other projects are revived
Guggenheim Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi’s economic growth is to accelerate within months as plans including the Guggenheim project are revived, it has been reported.

The emirate plans to award contracts for the museum by the end of 2016 or early in 2017, said Ali Majed Al Mansoori, chairman of the Department of Economic Development.

The Guggenheim will be located in the emirate’s cultural hub on Saadiyat island, along with a branch of the Louvre, and the Zayed museums, he told The National.

“The worst is behind us," said Al Mansoori, a member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council. “Our budget is still strong. The majority of projects are still there and there are other smaller projects which are moving. The economy is moving."

Abu Dhabi, sitting on six percent of the world’s oil reserves, slashed spending when crude prices plummeted to below $30 a barrel. It drew the attention of the International Monetary Fund, which said in May that the emirate, home to the world’s second-largest sovereign wealth fund, could afford a more gradual fiscal consolidation.

Al Mansoori expects growth to expand as much as five percent in 2017, from about two percent in 2016.

Abu Dhabi cut spending by a fifth in 2015 and plans a further 17 per cent reduction in 2016, according to the government’s latest bond prospectus. That’s more than a proposed 14 percent cut in Saudi Arabia, which is facing widening budget deficits and must meet the demands of a much bigger population.