Industry & Retail
From The Report: Abu Dhabi 2020
View in Online Reader

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.