Diversification Grows UAE’s Economy

August 7, 2016 Sakina Sultanova

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is working towards lessening their reliance on oil to continue growing their economy. They are doing this by building up other sectors of their economy, like renewable energy and tourism. This strategy makes the UAE more flexible to the sharp fluctuations in the global oil sector we have seen lately.

According to a June 2016 article in The National, mining and quarrying, part of the oil sector, contributed to only 2.2% of Dubai's economy last year. The biggest sectors are wholesale and retail and property, which make up 29% and 15% of the economy, respectively. The IMF expects Dubai to grow by 3.7% in 2016.

In the next few years, Dubai will begin experiencing added growth from hosting Expo 2020, especially in the construction, transport, tourism and hospitality sectors.

70% of the UAE's economy comes from non-oil sectors. Key sectors the UAE competes in globally include:

  • Global Aviation
  • Commercial Trade
  • Tourism
  • Renewable Energy
  • Manufacturing
  • Media
  • Financial Services
  • Healthcare

Below is a graphic from AmCham Abu Dhabi which shows the UAE's growth and how they are competing in some of their key sectors.

gpi-uae diversification-home


It's vital for countries to lessen their dependence on oil in order to be more resilient to the unstable oil sector. Diversifying across many sectors will allow the economy to continue to grow, even when some sectors experience lags. The UAE has shown this to be true as their economy drives onward and upward, despite decreased oil prices.

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About the Author

Sakina Sultanova

Global Account Services Manager. Sakina is originally from Azerbaijan and is now living and working in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. She fluently speaks 5 languages including Azeri, Russian, Turkish, English and Chinese. In high school, she was an exchange student in Alabama, United States of America. She graduated from Baku State University, faculty of Oriental Studies (China). She has 8 years’ experience in different fields of Business Development, Office Management, Translation and Teaching. She has worked in international companies owned by Chinese, Turkish and British firms, providing her diverse experience with different cultures and business protocols and customs. She has solid experience as well in sales, researching, customer relations and business planning. She is a proud mother of 2 year old baby-girl. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading and playing outdoors.

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