GDP grew 2.9% in 2016: Dubai Economic Report

By Eudore R. Chand

DUBAI 23 December 2017: The economy of Dubai in 2016 continued to perform well at the macro level with real GDP growing at 2.9 per cent, according to the emirate’s Economic Report – 2017, signed recently by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council.

The report showed that Dubai was able to achieve growth rates that exceeded that of developed economies despite the decline in oil prices. Growth in 2016 was supported by progress in key economic sectors, such as manufacturing, transport and storage, real estate, finance and insurance, wholesale and retail trade and tourism, said Wam.

The report compares the economic performance of the emirate to countries that possess similar economies for evaluating the development of Dubai’s economy, and future prospects of this development. It helps raise awareness of decision-makers in the public and private sectors to set policies and sound plans that will help contribute to the growth rate of Dubai’s economy in particular, and the UAE economy in general.

The document, issued by the Dubai Economic Department, highlights Dubai’s economic development in 2016 and reviews the growth of the emirate’s economy in 2017, based on the latest official data and economic indicators.

Effective Policies

It shows that the vitality of Dubai’s economy is due to the strong foundations on which the government is based and the effective policies being adopted to stimulate diverse economic activities, especially in the tourism, air and sea transport and real estate sectors. It has also helped to strengthen Dubai’s openness and develop partnerships with many countries in the region and the world, attracting companies, investment and tourism from all over the world.

Key economic sectors accounted for 77.2 percent of Dubai’s gross domestic product of AED 376.8 billion (in constant prices) in 2016. All sectors excluding the construction sector achieved positive growth rates. The wholesale and retail trade sector (which also includes the repair of automobiles) accounted for 27.5 percent of GDP and 22.4 percent of total employment and in spite of a slowdown in 2016 the sector is expected to spring back to rates close to the overall growth of the Dubai economy.

The report also provides details on developments and changes in key sectors of the emirate’s economy, such as wholesale and retail, the industrial sector, comprised of the processing industries, extractive industries, and water and electricity. Other sectors highlighted include the banking, financial and insurance sectors, as well as construction, real estate activities, tourism, transportation and telecommunications. The report also includes social indicators, such as those related to population, education and health.


According the report, the hospitality sector was the fastest growing in 2016 at 10.6 percent, contributing 5.1 percent to the emirate’s real GDP, followed by the realty sector, which grew by 6.5 percent, the transport and storage sector at 4.7 percent, processing industries at 3.4 percent, and the banking , financial and insurance sector at 1.3 percent.

Dubai has paid great attention to developing transportation, storage, communications and information services, which together accounted for 16 percent of GDP in 2016. Growth in the transport sector was 4.7 percent and in the telecommunication sector, 3.6 percent. Dubai has a high-quality transport infrastructure, with the UAE ranking first in the region and fourth in the world among 138 countries in the quality of transportation infrastructure.

The industry sector maintained, according to the report, an advanced position, coming as the fourth largest contributor to the emirate’s real GDP after the wholesale, retail, transport, storage and finance sectors.

The process industries sector contributed 10 percent to the GDP in 2016, growing by 3.4 percent as compared to 2015 on the back of the emirate’s plans to bring it up on par with its peers in the world’s most advanced countries.

Promising Outlook

The report shows that the prospects for the growth of Dubai’s economy in 2017 is promising. The emirate’s economy is expected to achieve a real growth of 3.2 percent or higher due to the continued recovery of the global economy in 2017 and improved growth rates in developed, emerging and developing economies.

Strategic initiatives adopted by the government of Dubai during the past years to cover Islamic economy and innovation as well as the Smart City programme and hosting Expo 2020 in addition to the mega projects announced by the government aimed at diversification and sustainability, including major road and transport infrastructure projects estimated at Dh15 billion, will take Dubai past various milestones and other major economies regionally and globally.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has recently predicted a 3.4 per cent economic growth for the United Arab Emirates in 2018 with Dubai’s and Abu Dhabi’s non-oil sectors to be major boosters. The improved outlook for the UAE follows a predicted 1.3 per cent growth in 2017 as low oil prices continued to impact all regional economies.

The new forecast shows a steady growth of Emirati economy in comparison to this year predictions estimated at 1.3 per cent. The positive trend will be driven by strong economic growth in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which are the leading spots in the region, Jihad Azour, the IMF’s Director for the Middle East and Central Asia, said recently. The IMF projected a GDP growth in Dubai at 3.5 per cent against 3.3 this year and little above 2.9 percent in 2016.