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Abu Dhabi’s non-oil growth spurred by manufacturing

UAE president Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Abu Dhabi's overall economy showed 3% growth last year compared with 2022 UAE Presidential Court via Reuters
UAE president Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Abu Dhabi's overall economy showed 3% growth last year compared with 2022
  • Non-oil sector expands by 9% in 2023
  • Construction value best in 10 years
  • Finance and insurance also surge

Abu Dhabi’s non-oil sector expanded by more than 9 percent last year with manufacturing and construction leading the way, according to new figures.

The Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi issued preliminary GDP estimates for 2023, revealing non-oil growth of 9.1 percent – slightly down from 9.2 percent in 2022 – as the emirate’s overall economy improved by 3 percent compared to 2022. 

The manufacturing sector added AED101 billion ($28 billion) to the economy, representing 8.8 percent of GDP, making it the largest non-oil contributor.

The emirate wants to double the size of the manufacturing sector to AED172 billion, create 13,600 skilled jobs and increase Abu Dhabi’s non-oil exports by 143 percent to nearly AED180 billion by 2031. 

Construction activities grew by 13 percent, adding value of more than AED97 billion, the highest in 10 years, while contributing 8.5 percent to GDP. 

The emirate’s GDP in 2023 achieved its best performance in terms of value in 10 years at just over AED1 trillion, the figures also showed, with the non-oil sector contributing 53 percent.

During the fourth quarter of 2023 alone, Abu Dhabi’s economy grew by 4 percent compared to the same period in 2022, with non-oil sectors expanding by 10 percent.

Ahmed Jasim Al Zaabi, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, hailed the emirate’s “proactive approach to address the ever-changing dynamics of the global economy”. 

“Abu Dhabi has reaffirmed its status as a leading, innovative economic powerhouse and magnet for talents, businesses, and quality investments,” he said.

According to the data, financial and insurance activities also boosted non-oil growth, recording the highest growth rate of over 25 percent and worth AED79 billion, equating to a contribution to GDP of 7 percent.

The wholesale and retail trade sector grew by 8 percent, while transportation and storage activity expanded by more than 17 percent during 2023 compared to 2022 and both healthcare and education achieved a growth of 5.5 percent.

Abdulla Gharib Alqemzi, acting director general of the Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi, said the figures showed Abu Dhabi is recognised by global investors as an “attractive destination”.

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