UAE not sidetracked by geopolitical tensions and falling oil prices

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Abu Dhabi: The UAE will not allow itself to be sidetracked by oil prices or geopolitical situations in the neighbourhood, a top official of the Abu Dhabi government said at the NBAD Global Financial Markets Forum on Wednesday.

“It’s [the geopolitical issues] a sideshow. We are watching, and we are doing the proper planning and execution. We have a robust strategy to deal with different situations,” said Khalifa Salem Al Mansouri, Undersecretary of Department of Economic Development, Abu Dhabi.

“The oil prices have been going up and down for the last many years. This is not the first time and it would not be the last time. We are not in the panic mood of looking oil as a primary driver of the economic growth,” he said.

“We are on track of driving the non-oil economy growth in the next fifteen to twenty years [by] six to eight per cent. In 2014, non-oil contribution to GDP was 50 per cent,” he added.

He said some of the Abu Dhabi projects are on track including the Abu Dhabi Airports expansion, the Cleveland Clinic and the Louvre project at Sadiyat Island.

“Things are happening. We are creating opportunity for downstream players to play. Government is pushing SME funding creating opportunities for local and foreign investors to complete the economic picture.”

Attracting investment

As part of Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, the government has been enhancing the economy and business climate to integrate Abu Dhabi further into the global economy. The Emirate is also trying to attract foreign as well as local investment to boost different sectors of the economy.

Homaid Al Shemmari, CEO of Aerospace and Engineering Services at Mubadala said the country is not deviating from the long term goals despite rising geopolitical tensions in the region and dropping oil prices.

“The long-term goal is pivotal. This has always been an interesting neighbourhood, geopolitical will always be there. This diversification goals of vision 2030 is the blue print for the future. The country was always built on partnerships and will always be there.”

Al Shemmari, who is expected to take over as CEO of Mubadala Energy, said falling oil prices provides an opportunity for diversification and more efficiency.

“It doesn’t matter what the oil prices are. We have shifted this economy and diversified and continue to build on that. This is the fundamental difference with other economies in the region,” he added.