Interview: Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan
based on nine pillars, among which “Empowering the Private Sector” came first.
Having established this priority, the government has committed to a direct public policy that encourages investment and entrepreneurial activity by continuing legislative reform and by ensuring that all economic policy is formulated with reference to rigorous data sources. Similarly, business start-up conditions will be optimised and geared towards encouraging the growth of new enterprises. By enhancing the economy and business climate, Al Gharbia and the emirate as a whole will become further integrated into the global economy, thereby facilitating the import and export of capital through targeted investments with foreign partners.
How will the development of new industrial zones create incentives for industrial development?
SHEIKH HAMDAN BIN ZAYED AL NAYHAN: The region is well-served with the planned creation of two new industrial zones in Ruwais and Madinat Zayed and their road and rail linkages to major regional cities and other industrial zones in the emirate. When delivered, the industrial zones will provide a new stimulus to the petrochemicals industry by creating more manufacturing, engineering and processing industries, which will support the transformation of the region into an industry-oriented economy.
Although the petrochemicals industry is well-developed, there is an opportunity to expand the sector into a major global industry, for which it has excellent competitive advantages. Al Gharbia is set to host the expansion of petrochemicals facilities owned and operated by Borouge. This represents one way in which the emirate can capture a larger share of the hydrocarbons value chain and assist in creating the necessary inputs for domestic industries using basic plastics and industrial chemicals. Similarly, the development of upstream oil- and gas-related industries and growth of downstream facilities will serve to diversify the profile of Ruwais and broaden its industrial function. These developments will provide considerable added value to the economy.
What have been identified as priorities for achieving the goals outlined in Plan Al Gharbia 2030?
SHEIKH HAMDAN: The regions’ development priorities are guided by the “Overarching Principles” developed by General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi government officials. These principles include:
• Growing Population: increasing the overall proportion of Emiratis living in Al Gharbia by reducing outmigration and motivating people to return to their home communities by providing housing, services, jobs and business opportunities;
• Economic Development: continuing to support the emirate’s oil and gas industry while increasing economic diversity, with the aim of reinvesting a portion of the wealth from these industries to provide economic opportunities, social amenities and housing;
• Environmental Respect: protecting and enhancing the health of Al Gharbia’s unique and fragile marine and terrestrial ecosystems for future generations;
• Social Health: providing residents with access to quality social services for health care, education, community and cultural facilities; and
• Cultural Identity: preserving the continuity of Emirati culture, character and lifestyles, and protecting sites of historic and paleontological significance.
To what extent are greater levels of private sector participation a part of the strategy to achieve economic growth and diversification?
SHEIKH HAMDAN: Although there have been many opportunities provided by the abundance of oil and gas resources in the region, the Abu Dhabi government recognised the need to diversify and grow the region’s economy. Therefore, efforts are being made to actively reduce the emirate’s dependence on the upstream hydrocarbons sector. Launched in 2008, the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 outlines a strategy to achieve the government’s primary goals: a safe and secure society and a dynamic, open economy. This strategy was