Interview: Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan

How far is the economic development of Al Gharbia dependent upon the comprehensive provision of utilities and infrastructure?

SHEIKH HAMDAN BIN ZAYED AL NAHYAN: Modern infrastructure and utility-service systems in the region will provide investors with a greater sense of security, thus paving the way for more investment into the region. The provision of infrastructure and utilities services should be coordinated with the creation of developmental opportunities, which will help create a sustainable economic development base. By offering security to investors, land and property values will be further enhanced.

We always ensure a flexible approach to our provision of utilities and infrastructure so that we can respond positively to the changing needs of investors, market conditions and future economic developmental strategies. Our vision remains the same: to provide an improved socio-economic environment for the local population by the creation of sound investment opportunities.

What will the completion of larger energy projects, such as the Barakah nuclear power plant, mean regarding the skills required in workers?

SHEIKH HAMDAN: The implementation of important national projects such as this leads to an expansion of the local population, which increases local spending power in the region and therefore serves to ensure further positive economic growth. Large-scale projects also create a demand for specialist skills in new employees, which motivates advanced education among the local population in order to meet this demand. By the same process, advanced learning opportunities increase within the local educational sectors, such as the higher college of technology in Ruwais and Baynunah Academic Complex in Madinat Zayed. In the future, these educational institutes may also serve as research facilities in support of newly developed sectors, such as nuclear energy.

How is strategy being developed to encourage visitors to Al Gharbia, and what emphasis is being placed on regional cultural offerings?

SHEIKH HAMDAN: Tourism is the gateway to promoting Abu Dhabi’s culture and provides an opportunity to interact with international visitors who will promote our cultural values and history when they return to their home countries. We have successfully promoted and substantially invested in the development of touristic and cultural assets, and we are very pleased with the results. In addition to 12 active projects under construction, we have accumulated over 23 new planned projects in Al Gharbia, and 11 of these are expected to be launched by the end of 2016. To date, a total of 23 projects are currently under construction within the tourism and culture sector.

Significant projects that have already been completed include the 100-room Madinat Zayed Hotel, the grand opening for which took place during the Al Dhafra festival in December 2015. The local response has been overwhelmingly positive and anchors our ongoing development of Madinat Zayed. Our plan going forward is to diversify our product offerings across the Al Gharbia region in order to create a more diverse range of products and amenities, which are attractive for both local residents and tourists alike.

Thanks to the high level of success achieved by our current projects, we have a very robust financial bottom line against which we can attract greater levels of foreign investment. With a track record of tangible and successful projects, both completed and under construction, the security of opportunities and their economic potential is substantially improved for future investors.