UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
UAE = UNITED ARAB ENTREPRENEURS
The United Arab Emirates are continuing strong in their strategy to diversify its economy away from hydrocarbon dependence. However, the overall picture is still rather diffuse as there are stark disparencies between the economic and financial strength of Abu Dhabi, while others such as Dubai, Sharjah and Fujairah are still trying to find their stable footing to build their future. Abu Dhabi’s main strength, which is based on its vast onshore and offshore oil and gas reserves, is still unquestioned. The current economic diversification strategy, based on a rational and functional investment in other sectors, such as defence, security, high tech and finance, is going strong. ADNOC, Abu’s national oil company, also has set a new strategy, called Oil & Gas 4.0, in which the NOC is combining its strength with new technology, strengthening not only its own future but of the whole emirate. Dubai, one of the world’s most famous hotspots for luxury, finance and trade, is still trying to set up a future-proof strategy, in which it will be able to attract new foreign investments, while building up a society ready for the future. With Dubai 2020 approaching, already new initiatives are being discussed to prolong the attractiveness. Other emirates, such as Sharjah and Fujairah, are currently setting up their own economic strategies, in which logistics, energy and trade are important building blocks.
The coming years, the UAE will need to enter into a full-scale transition from hydrocarbon based investment to high tech, aerospace, tourism and logistics. Looking at the geographical position of the country, all factors are there to make it a success. Regional and global political issues however could partly constraint already targeted developments, as the ongoing crisis with Qatar and Iran, could be putting a major dent in all. At the same time, the in-depth cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the UAE could be another opportunity for investors and operators to enter the area, not only to target high profile projects in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, but also with an option to enter into Saudi Arabia.