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Chapter | Industry & Retail from The Report: Abu Dhabi 2020

Abu Dhabi’s industrial sector continues to be a key contributor to GDP and the drive for diversification away from oil- and gas-based growth. The sector has also widened its industry portfolio in recent years, with companies based in Abu Dhabi now ranging from steel production to high-tech manufacturing, among other areas. Many of these outfits are located in the emirate in order to take advantage of the investor-friendly approach adopted by Abu Dhabi’s industrial and free zones. Companies are able to leverage the emirate’s geostrategic location via a wide range of air and shipping routes, enabling them to conduct export and re-export activities. Meanwhile, in 2019 Abu Dhabi’s retail sector continued to adapt to a 5% value-added tax that came into force in early 2018, with consumer confidence picking up as residents began to factor the new levy into their purchasing behaviours. Malls continue to dominate the retail space, which saw some 200,000 sq metres of gross leasable area added to the emirate’s stock in 2019. Meanwhile, developments like the construction of a digitally enabled smart shopping mall on Reem Island indicate Abu Dhabi is positioning itself at the forefront of innovation in the retail sphere. Though these types of malls are well placed to compete with the growing tide of e-commerce, the Covid-19 pandemic led to the shuttering of many physical retailers around the world in the first half of 2020, prompting consumers to shop online. This chapter contains interviews with Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, Group CEO, Abu Dhabi Ports; and Saeed Al Remeithi, CEO, Emirates Steel.

Chapter | Real Estate & Construction from The Report: Abu Dhabi 2020

Investment in energy and infrastructure has resulted in the development of various mega-project opportunities for construction and engineering companies in Abu Dhabi. These include strategic projects such as the Midfield Terminal Building at Abu Dhabi International Airport and the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant, both of which are due to become operational in 2020. Real estate, meanwhile, has remained a buyers’ or renters’ market as the delivery of new retail, office and residential properties coincide with a softening of demand. This could change, however, as the government amends laws to allow foreigners to own freehold property in designated investment zones. Looking ahead, while the construction pipeline remains robust in the medium and long term, the broader economic slowdown related to the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020 may impact the pace of projects in the near term. This chapter contains interviews with Talal Al Dhiyebi, CEO, Aldar Properties; and Saleh Al Mazrouie, Acting CEO, Abu Dhabi General Services Company (Musanada).

Chapter | Transport from The Report: Abu Dhabi 2020

Abu Dhabi has reached significant milestones across its air, land and sea transport, with more on the near horizon. The Midfield Terminal Building, which will facilitate higher visitor numbers, was scheduled to commence operations by the end of 2020, though this timeline was established before the Covid-19 pandemic broke out. Alongside the new terminal, the launch of two new low-budget airlines is set to make Abu Dhabi a more affordable travel destination. Within the emirate the green light has been given to key infrastructure projects that aim to improve the flow of traffic on road networks. In addition, the second phase of Etihad Rail’s network will start taking shape, increasing interconnectivity within the UAE for passengers and freight. Meanwhile, past investments in the development of Abu Dhabi’s seaports saw substantial increases in container traffic and cruise liner visits in 2019, with further growth anticipated in the long term. This chapter contains interviews with Falah Mohammad Al Ahbabi, Chairman, Abu Dhabi Department of Municipalities and Transport; Shareef Hashim Al Hashmi, Acting CEO, Abu Dhabi Airports; and Tony Douglas, CEO, Etihad Airways.

Chapter | Utilities from The Report: Abu Dhabi 2020

There is a rapid transformation taking place in Abu Dhabi’s power and water sector. A major shift in the energy mix is under way, with a transition away from fossil fuels and an expanded use of renewables and nuclear power. At the same time, the emirate continues to be a leading supplier of electricity and water to other emirates of the UAE, while technological advances and developments in demand management are shaping sector trends. Changes also mean challenges, however, with utilities providers having to adapt to new patterns of supply, while also having to meet increasingly urgent demands for sustainability and higher environmental standards. This chapter contains an interview with Bader Saeed Al Lamki, CEO, National Central Cooling Company (Tabreed).

Chapter | Security, Aerospace & Defence from The Report: Abu Dhabi 2020

In recent years Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE have passed several important milestones in terms of security, aerospace and defence strategy. In 2019 Hazzaa Al Mansoori, an astronaut born in Al Wathba, roughly 45 km outside Abu Dhabi City, became the first Emirati to visit the International Space Station. The mission helped to raise the profile and popularity of the UAE’s National Space Programme, under which the country aims to reach Mars by 2021, among other objectives. In 2020 the country plans to launch its Hope probe, which is scheduled to reach Martian orbit by 2021, marking the 50th anniversary of the UAE. At the same time, 2019 saw the development of new long-term strategies for aerospace and cybersecurity, alongside a major merger of defence sector entities. Meanwhile, the UAE Armed Forces continued to play a crucial role in ensuring regional stability. This chapter contains an interview with Mohammed Al Ahbabi, Director-General, UAE Space Agency.

Chapter | Energy from The Report: Abu Dhabi 2020

Home to approximately 95% of the UAE’s total oil reserves and 92% of its natural gas, Abu Dhabi is one of the world’s leading hydrocarbons producers. The main player in Abu Dhabi’s oil and gas industry is Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), the largest company in both the emirate and the UAE. While the global Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent steep decline in international oil prices present challenges for the industry, the fundamentals underpinning the emirate’s energy sector remain strong. ADNOC doubled its refinery throughput between 2008 and 2018, and aims to raise oil production to 5m barrels per day by 2030. At the same time, Abu Dhabi is working to achieve self-sufficiency in natural gas, while also meeting a larger proportion of its domestic energy needs through renewables and nuclear power. This chapter contains a viewpoint with Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State; and Group CEO, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company; and Mohamed Al Hammadi, CEO, Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation.

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