Ali Majed Al Mansoori, Chairman, Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED): Interview

Ali Majed Al Mansoori, Chairman, Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED)

Interview: Ali Majed Al Mansoori

How do you see the balance of sectors in the economy changing as Abu Dhabi diversifies?

ALI MAJED AL MANSOORI: In order to deliver our long-term objective of boosting the non-oil contribution to overall GDP to more than 60% by 2030, our government is adhering to a forward-looking road map that will transform, diversify and strengthen our economy through investments in capital-intensive and export-oriented sectors in which we have, or can build, a competitive edge. Abu Dhabi’s Economic Vision 2030 has highlighted several industry sectors as being the drivers of the emirate’s future growth. These include petrochemicals, metals, aviation, transport, financial services and telecoms.

The emirate’s journey over the last seven years has seen very significant achievements along the diversification spectrum, despite the challenging regional and global economic conditions. Recent statistics show that Abu Dhabi’s non-oil activities contributed 49.5% to the emirate’s overall GDP in 2014. Several economic activities have taken the lead in the last year in enhancing Abu Dhabi’s economic performance in general, including finance and insurance, transportation and storage, and wholesale and retail trade, which grew at 27%, 12% and 8.7%, respectively.

Despite current oil price fluctuations, we have remained very positive about Abu Dhabi’s economic outlook, a fact that is backed by the emirate’s sound and progressive diversification plans, and reaffirmed by key international bodies.

What emphasis is being put on increasing the number of Emiratis being employed by government and semi-government organisations?

AL MANSOORI: The participation of nationals in the workforce ranks very high in Abu Dhabi’s ongoing policy focus, and is reflected in the emirate’s Economic Vision 2030. Generally speaking, Abu Dhabi has a highly open and flexible labour market, designed to attract, develop and retain a skilled and effective workforce, in which nationals are active participants and contributors.

Traditionally, the government has been the employer of choice among nationals. However, in its drive towards a more efficient public sector, the government cannot maintain this role, given the growing number of job-seekers. Although Abu Dhabi welcomes expatriate employees to help build the economy and share in its success, the emirate recognises the need to ensure that nationals are well equipped to fill available positions, especially in the private sector. It is essential that nationals have the right skills, qualifications and work ethic to make them competitive in the private sector job market.

What efforts are being made by the Competitive Office of Abu Dhabi (COAD) to improve the emirate’s global ranking?

AL MANSOORI: The COAD aims to encourage investments and activities that enhance the business environment. This is done by contributing to the development of legislative frameworks and policies that improve competitiveness, and by encouraging the building of a business environment that is open, productive, effective and integrated globally. The COAD reviewed and analysed existing procedures, and the times and costs of starting a business in Abu Dhabi. Clear suggested improvements to optimise this process, based on international and regional best practices, were then made. Proof of the COAD’s success has been the reduction in the number of procedures necessary to start a business to six, compared with 12 in 2012, and the shortening of the estimated time for this to eight days, compared with 15 in 2012. Finally, it is worth noting that the COAD is working on an assessment exercise with the World Bank on the above mentioned indicators, in order to produce an Abu Dhabi “Doing Business” report.

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The Report: Abu Dhabi 2016

Economy chapter from The Report: Abu Dhabi 2016

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