Manufacturing contributes 12.1% to AD non-oil GDP

By DG Staff

ABU DHABI 3 November 2019: Manufacturing activities contributed 12.1 percent to Abu Dhabi’s non-oil GDP in 2018.

“Activities in Abu Dhabi’s manufacturing sector have increased over the recent years, ranking second in terms of growth rate, at 5.9%, in 2018,” said Rashid Abdul Karim Alblooshi, Undersecretary of Department of Economic Development-Abu Dhabi, while the UAE capital’s hosting of the 18th session of the General Conference of the UN Industrial Development Organization (Unido).

“Foreign investors have continued to flock to the domestic manufacturing industry over the recent years. The volume of FDI inflows in the manufacturing sector in 2018 was estimated at 20.3 percent. It ranked second in terms of relative importance after the construction sector,” he noted.

The recognised performance of the manufacturing sector’s activities was due to the high growth rates of major activities in 2018 comprising the non-metallic mineral products, 19.5 percent, and basic pharmaceutical products,13.8 percent, he indicated, said Wam.

“Abu Dhabi was ranked 69th in 2018 in the Innovation Cities Index of Think Now 2, an Australian company specialising in innovation research and studies, garnering a total score of 43 points. The capital has also been named an ‘Innovation Hub.’ Moreover, Abu Dhabi ranked 2nd globally as the best city to live, work, and do business in, according to Ipsos City Index 2017.

“These achievements are the result of the emirate’s investment-friendly environment and attractive incentives for industrial investment. We can see clearly that the Abu Dhabi Government prioritizes, among other things, the industrial sector as part of its move to boost the economic contributions of the local non-oil sectors according to Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030. As a result, a myriad of opportunities in the field of research, development, innovation, and trade is continuously being generated.”

Vital Activity

Alblooshi described the food manufacturing industry as ‘highly vital’ for the government and its food security program. “Abu Dhabi has 65 food manufacturers that received a ‘production’ license; 57 factories with construction license; and 26 companies with industry pioneers’ license. The Higher Corporation for Specialised Economic Zones and the Khalifa Industrial City, Kizad, have dedicated industrial clusters targeting food companies.

“Petrochemical, including the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, ADNOC, is a target sector as well. In this regard, the government focuses on reinforcing the refining and petrochemical segments to ensure high economic returns. There are 75 production plants involved in refining and petrochemicals in the emirate.

“Amid increasing export demand, the plastics industry is considered as one of the most significant as well. Abu Dhabi has 93 production plants in which Borouge is one of the big industry players. Kizad has also developed an industrial cluster aimed at attracting investments to the local plastics industry.”

According to him, the economic contribution of the mineral manufacturing sector is immense as well. “Abu Dhabi has 165 production plants spread across the emirate.”


On the role of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in local industrial sector, he noted that 4IR has long “arrived in Abu Dhabi’s industrial sector. So advanced science, technology, and data are the main engine helping drive the domestic sector’s development.

“Abu Dhabi is continuously updating its policies and regulations to make it easier for small SMEs to invest in the industrial sector in accordance with the requirements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The emirate also regularly participates in major exhibitions and forums related to the 4IR such as the Global Industrial and Manufacturing Summit and Hannover Messe, one of the world’s largest trade fairs in Germany.

“Next-generation technologies increase productivity of factories, improve product quality and global competitiveness, and fast-track the decision-making process. Productivity is one of the main criteria of the Electricity Tariffs Incentive Programme, under which the productivity level of a factory is divided by the standard international productivity. Applying new technologies will boost the emirate’s industrial sector and its productivity level. Abu Dhabi targets the best advanced technologies, including 3D printing, robotics, and artificial intelligence, among others based on the needs and requirements of each factory.”

On hosting the Unido’s General Conference, the top officials said it will help bolster Abu Dhabi’s position as a leader in global industrial sector. “To help raise the emirate’s global status in the industry, the government will continue to leverage next-generation technologies. The gathering will also present an opportunity to strengthen Abu Dhabi’s relations with the Unido member states as well as learn more about the latest best international practices in relation to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, industrial parks, and the circular economy and implement the same in the local market.”