OBG report explores the current trends in Dubai’s economy

Experts look at strategies being put in place across various sectors to consolidate future growth.

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With an expected GDP growth rate of 1.6% for 2019, the IMF forecasts the UAE’s economy to grow by 2.5% in 2020 on the back of Expo 2020 and the government’s Dh50bn fiscal stimulus.
With an expected GDP growth rate of 1.6% for 2019, the IMF forecasts the UAE’s economy to grow by 2.5% in 2020 on the back of Expo 2020 and the government’s Dh50bn fiscal stimulus.

A new report by research and advisory firm Oxford Business Group (OBG) explores the current trends in Dubai’s economy, and looks at the strategies being put in place across various sectors to consolidate the emirate’s future growth.

Marking the launch of the latest report, Michael Benson-Colpi, chairman of Oxford Business Group, rang the market-opening bell at Nasdaq Dubai, in the presence of VIPs and representatives from the public and private sectors.

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The unveiling of The Report: Dubai 2020 was followed by a roundtable panel discussion entitled “Dubai Beyond Expo 2020”.

On the panel, which was moderated by OBG’s Middle East regional editor, Billy FitzHerbert, was Hussain Sajwani, chairman and founder of DAMAC; Taha Khalifa, regional GM of Intel; Elissar Farah Antonios, cluster head for Citi Group; and Christophe Nicaise, CEO of Seddiqi Holdings, with each giving their expert opinion on what comes next for Dubai, as it looks ahead to the next decade.

With an expected GDP growth rate of 1.6% for 2019, the IMF forecasts the UAE’s economy to grow by 2.5% in 2020 on the back of Expo 2020 and the government’s Dh50bn fiscal stimulus.

As the host of the event, Dubai has already started to feel the benefits across several sectors,  including the transport and storage sector (which grew by 6.2% in the first half of 2019 according to Dubai Statistics Centre), and the construction sector as infrastructure projects associated with Expo 2020 have come online. 

As Dubai moves into the new decade the emirate is focused on developping several high-growth areas, including the quickly evolving technology industry. 

The Report: Dubai 2020 delves into the various projects that seek to propel the emirate into the digital age and the 4th Industrial Revolution.  

Meanwhile programmes such as the Dubai 2021 Plan, the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2030, the Autonomous Transportation Strategy, and many others, will be seeking to use the momentum garnered by Expo 2020 to fuel future growth and innovation in these areas. 

In separate coverage, OBG shines a spotlight on each of Dubai’s key industries, the various developments that are taking place, and what they mean for the emirate and the region.

READ: Empower achieves 40% Emiratisation in its senior management in 2019

With a record-breaking $10.5bn in FDI in 2018, Dubai continues to cement its position as a hub for various industries, including financial services, retail, and transport and logistics.

The Report: Dubai 2020 includes a viewpoint by Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, together with a detailed sector-by-sector guide for investors.

It also features interviews with several high-profile personalities, including Najeeb Mohammed Al-Ali, executive Director of Expo 2020; Sami Al Qamzi, director-general, Department of Economic Development; Hamed Ali, CEO Nasdaq Dubai; and Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO, DP World, Chairman of Dubai Maritime City Authority, and Chairman of Virgin Hyperloop One.

Benson-Colpi, OBG’s Chairman said that the expansionary stance adopted by Dubai’s leadership in recent years had now begun to deliver results.

“While Dubai’s open economy means it remains at risk of negative external events, an increased budget, improved oil prices and higher levels of FDI have combined to produce a positive outlook in the lead-up to Expo 2020,” he said.

“Strategic preparations and news of the government’s plans for the District 2020 city also suggest that careful consideration has been given to the expo’s legacy and lessons taken on board from large-scale events elsewhere.”

Managing director for the Middle East Jana Treeck added that the development of several big-ticket projects related to Expo 2020 against a backdrop of lower oil prices had not only fuelled growth in the construction and real estate industry, but also signalled renewed investor confidence in Dubai.

“Investment in property related to Expo 2020 is now reaping rewards, with around $6.6bn in construction and transport tenders awarded between January and September 2018, and $1.2bn of tenders distributed over the same period this year,” Treeck said.

“A new strategy for Dubai’s already robust tourism sector and further expansion under way in the retail industry are signs that preparations are well in hand in other areas of the economy for both the expo and afterwards in Dubai.”

Nasdaq’s Ali said the launch of The Report: Dubai 2020 at Nasdaq Dubai MarketSite underlined the exchange’s commitment to supporting high quality financial intelligence.

“Investors and businesses require first class economic and market analysis to make effective decisions,” Ali said.

“Our co-operation with OBG promotes transparent dialogue on key issues for the benefit of the capital markets community.”

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