By Andy Sambidge
Economy chief says industrial sector set to be main contributor to national GDP.
The UAE's economy will continue to diversify away from natural resources such as oil as the country seeks to build on its financial success story, minister of economy Sultan Bin Saeed al-Mansouri has said.
Mansouri said tourism, industry and services has played a key part in helping to build the country's gross domestic product (GDP) from 6.5 billion dirhams in 1971 to 730 billion dirhams in 2007 - a 122-fold increase.
And in an interview with Sama Dubai, Mansouri said the move away from a reliance on natural resources such as oil would continue.
His comments come as the oil price continues to trade at below $50 a barrel - $100 off its highest mark achieved in July.
He also said that the Ministry of Economy had formed a committee to evolve solutions and create plans to overcome the challenges posed by the global financial crisis.
Tourism, he said, had already played a crucial role in the economic growth of the UAE with the number of tourists reaching more than seven million.
And on the subject of industry, he added: “Currently, the industrial sector contributes to more than 27 percent to the GDP and we have clear directives to empower this sector to enable it to be a main contributor to the local economy."
Dubai Industrial City has seen significant growth in 2008 with more than 19 factories currently taking shape at the industrial hub - more than 500 units are targeted to be on site by the end of 2015.
Mansouri said that the UAE’s leadership was also committed to strengthening its human resources for "developing a powerful nation", and has taken strong steps to empower UAE nationals.
Today, he said, the UAE national income was among the highest in the world.
Mansouri also claimed the UAE had proven its strength in meeting emerging challenges, especially the fall-out of the global financial crisis.
“The UAE has already taken concerted efforts to meet the challenges arising from the financial crisis. Several practical steps that have been initiated include guaranteeing bank deposits for three years and injecting liquidity into the banking system whereby 120 billion dirhams has been earmarked by the UAE Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance.”