By Andy Sambidge
Official figures show 7.7% increase compared to previous year; non-oil sectors driving growth
Abu Dhabi's gross domestic product (GDP) at current prices reached a record AED911.6bn ($248bn) in 2012, a rise of nearly eight percent on the previous year, according to official figures.
The UAE capital's GDP rose from AED846.7bn in 2011, an annual growth of 7.7 percent, according to a report released by Statistics Centre - Abu Dhabi (SCAD).
The preliminary data also indicated a rise in the annual growth rate of non-oil sectors to 9.6 percent, surpassing all earlier forecasts and estimates.
"These results underline the robustness, stability and competitive advantage of the Emirate's economy, boosting its appeal to local and foreign investors," SCAD said in a statement.
"The high flexibility of Abu Dhabi economy combined with the huge financial surpluses, strong growth in non-oil sectors, high oil prices, along with several other significant factors have all contributed to the stability and sustained growth of the local economy," the statement added.
The figures indicated that Abu Dhabi's GDP at current prices has more than doubled from 2005 to 2012, with non-oil growth a key driving force.
Real estate and education sectors were best performing in 2012 with growth of 15 percent, the figures revealed.
The record GDP figures come as the emirate continues to embark on diversifying its economy away from oil-related industries.
"This impressive growth has enhanced the attractiveness of the national economy to investors worldwide and established the emirate as a hub for concluding major business deals," SCAD said, adding that Abu Dhabi was the second largest economy in the Arab world.
"Despite the importance of oil to the economy of Abu Dhabi, the emirate pursues an ambitious strategy that seeks to expand and diversify the economy in order to fortify it against volatile oil prices resulting from regional and international developments," SCAD added.
Oil now accounts for 56.5 percent of the Abu Dhabi's GDP at current prices, its figures showed.
It augurs well for the UAE's future and its citizens.