OBG talks to Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region

 Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region

Interview: Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan

How will the development projects announced by the Executive Council in January 2012 help enhance the overall infrastructure of the region?

SHEIKH HAMDAN BIN ZAYED AL NAHYAN: These projects focus on enhancing social welfare and economic development, which are key goals of Plan Al Gharbia 2030. The announced projects also emphasise the further stimulus of the industrial and energy sectors through the implementation of industrial zones in Al Gharbia. This will create new industrial segments such as petroleum by-products, construction materials, food processing and logistics, thereby catalysing economic growth and new opportunities for local and international investors. This will empower the private sector, and in doing so, create a range of employment and training opportunities for local residents. Ultimately, we expect to be in a position where we will take steps towards the integration of Al Gharbia into the global economy, exporting local products and expertise internationally.

What impact will the nuclear power plant at Baraka in Al Gharbia have on the local economy?

SHEIKH HAMDAN: The major stakeholders in Al Gharbia include the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, the Western Region Development Council, the Western Region Municipality (WRM) and the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC). They work together very closely to ensure that their regional investments guarantee sustainable growth and provide tangible benefits to the local population through the creation of jobs. We foresee significant economic development, both in the immediate location around the nuclear plant and across the wider region, as new opportunities are created in response to the significant population growth associated with the power plant. These opportunities include increased demand for residential accommodation, high-quality retail offerings, leisure facilities and tourism. Demand for infrastructure and services will also be increased, stimulating local development – from schools and hospitals to cultural and recreational activities and facilities like parks, shopping centres and cinemas. Thus, while the nuclear power plants will create many employment and training opportunities that will directly benefit the local economy, the indirect benefits are expected to reinforce the sustainable economic development of the region.

To what extent are policies and incentives being adopted to attract foreign investment in the region?

SHEIKH HAMDAN: The Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 provides the framework upon which the Plan Al Gharbia 2030 strategy has been developed. Our goal is to catalyse the development of the region by undertaking careful market and sector analysis. On this basis, we aim to create sustainable investment opportunities for the private sector, both for local entrepreneurs and international investors. By leveraging our relationships with regional stakeholders including the WRM, UPC and the Khalifa Fund, we have been able to ensure that these opportunities are in complete synergy with the planning programmes for the region, and that the supporting finance is available to smaller enterprises. Lastly, thanks to our unique understanding of the local market, as well as the specialist support that we offer to local and international private sector investors, we are able to overcome investment hurdles and create a wider net benefit for the local community as a result of the successful implementation of these projects.

Has the development of local infrastructure and social services slowed migration to Abu Dhabi City?

SHEIKH HAMDAN: We are proud of Plan Al Gharbia 2030, which is designed to catalyse local economic growth and improve prospects for employment, education and the quality of life. As a result, we expect that Al Gharbia will become an even more attractive place to live and work, encouraging more people to stay in the region. In fact, it is our expectation that people will begin to migrate from Abu Dhabi City and the larger region to Al Gharbia as the result of this development.

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The Report: Abu Dhabi 2013

Al Gharbia chapter from The Report: Abu Dhabi 2013

Cover of The Report: Abu Dhabi 2013

The Report

This article is from the Al Gharbia chapter of The Report: Abu Dhabi 2013. Explore other chapters from this report.

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