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Chapter | Banking from The Report: Abu Dhabi 2019

Banks in Abu Dhabi are well funded and have demonstrated resilience. They also exist in a competitive environment that is widely seen as overbanked. After a major merger created the region’s second-largest lender in 2017, further moves towards consolidation are expected. For now, the banking system has ample liquidity and would benefit from more opportunities to deploy it. The government has been effecting structural reforms since the 2007-08 economic crisis, to boost the efficiency of government spending and encourage greater self-reliance on the part of both the private corporate and government-linked businesses. This is part of a wider effort to prepare for a long-term future in which Abu Dhabi can thrive even when oil prices drop. This chapter contains an interview with Abdulhamid Mohammed Saeed, Group CEO, First Abu Dhabi Bank.

Chapter | Trade & Investment from The Report: Abu Dhabi 2019

In both Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE, diversification away from the hydrocarbons sector is a key component of economic planning, and the emirate is moving to increase the role of non-oil exports in its trading profile. This will largely be supported by continued investment in the emirate’s port infrastructure, industrial and free zones, and the connectivity between the two. Agreements with Chinese authorities are expected to both boost port capacity in the emirate and help to build a foreign direct investment pipeline from China. This chapter contains interviews with Mohamed Thani Murshed Al Rumaithi, Chairperson, Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce; and Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, Chairman, Abu Dhabi Global Market.

Chapter | Economy from The Report: Abu Dhabi 2019

Abu Dhabi is the largest of the emirates that comprise the UAE, in terms of both its land mass and economy, and home to the majority of the country’s energy production and reserves. According to Statistics Centre - Abu Dhabi (SCAD), its economy expanded at a rate of 31.7% in 2005 and 32.3% in 2011 in nominal terms. Given the current environment, in which oil prices remain below the $100 mark seen at the beginning of the decade, the emirate has embarked on a strategy focused on economic diversification and more efficient government spending. The drive features an examination of public spending and fiscal management; phased reductions and elimination of subsidies; and the gradual consolidation of duplicative commercial entities controlled by government bodies. This chapter contains interviews with Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in the Al Dhafra Region; Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Group CEO and Managing Director, Mubadala Investment Company; and Saif Mohamed Al Hajeri, Chairman, Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development.

Chapter | Legal Framework from The Report: Abu Dhabi 2019

Founded in December 1971 as a federation between six of its seven constituent entities, the UAE includes the emirates of Abu Dhabi (the capital city), Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain. The emirate of Ras Al Khaimah joined the federation the following year. The UAE is governed by the UAE Constitution, which permits each emirate to have its own legislative body and judicial authority. Accordingly, there are both federal courts and local courts in each individual emirate that uphold the constitution. Abu Dhabi courts apply UAE federal law, as well as the emirate’s unique legal framework.

Chapter | Tax from The Report: Abu Dhabi 2019

The UAE currently has no system of federal income taxation. Instead, most of the emirates – including Abu Dhabi – enacted their own corporate tax decrees in the late 1960s. These emirate-level corporate tax decrees are of general application and remain in force. These decrees are similar in nature and text, and deal in broad terms with the identities of taxable persons, rates, administration, computation of taxable profits and loss relief. The decrees limit the scope of taxation to “bodies corporate” carrying out a trade or business in the respective emirates. This chapter contains a viewpoint from Mark Schofield, Partner, PwC Middle East Tax & Legal Services Leader.

Chapter | Agriculture & Food Security from The Report: Abu Dhabi 2019

The local authorities are continually looking at ways to improve domestic food production, efforts which can in turn support and work alongside the various strategies in place to ensure Abu Dhabi’s food security as well as that of the wider UAE. Despite a desert climate and significant barriers to large-scale agricultural production, a strong focus has been placed in recent years on the management of key resources such as water, with an increased push into areas like greenhouses, hydroponics and the overall modernisation of the agriculture sector. This comes at a time when Abu Dhabi’s population, and therefore its food requirements, continue to grow. This chapter contains an interview with Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of State for Food Security.