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Sun 15 Jan 2017 10:00 AM

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UAE economy to grow 3% in 2017, says Al Mansouri

UAE Minister of Economy expects non-oil sectors to grow by 3.8%

UAE economy to grow 3% in 2017, says Al Mansouri
The UAE Minister of Economy expects the country’s GDP to grow around 3% this year, roughly in line with 2016’s performance

The UAE Minister of Economy expects the country’s GDP to grow around 3% this year, roughly in line with 2016’s performance.

In an interview with Gulf News, Sultan Al Mansouri said that improving performance by non-oil sectors would help to compensate for lower oil prices.

Non-oil sectors grew 3.6% year on year in 2016 and could grow by 3.8% in 2017, he said.

“With all of this … the UAE will surely come out with positive results of a clear future, further raising the attractiveness of the UAE’s business environment. This is also likely to result in GDP growth of 3% in 2017, complementing the International Monetary Fund’s prediction of a growth rate of 3.3%, up from 3.1% at the end of 2016,” he told the UAE daily.

The UAE government, Al Mansouri said, has worked hard to diversify the country’s economic base and strengthen trade links, particularly with Asian and African nations.

This year, he added, the Ministry of Economy will focus its efforts on strategic projects that add value, with a strong emphasis on science, technology and innovation. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will also remain a key focus area, Al Mansouri said, with their contribution to GDP now around the 60% mark and forecast to reach 70% by 2021.

“The Ministry’s plans and efforts to consolidate economic diversification are based on the need to reduce dependence on oil revenues and to find other sources of income from non-oil sectors of the economy,” he explained.

Ongoing unpredictability in oil markets, Al Mansouri confirmed, would make it difficult to predict revenues and thus allocate budgets.

“As a result, the UAE should urge for the adoption of prudent fiscal and economic policies that will strengthen the capacity of the national economy to withstand the pressures, and maintain financial and monetary stability, and push for sustainable growth,” he said.