DUBAI (Reuters) – Dubai is aiming for real economic growth of 11 percent a year by focusing on trade, transport, tourism and financial services, the Gulf emirate’s ruler said on Saturday.
Dubai, part of the oil-exporting United Arab Emirates federation, wants to increase per capita gross domestic product to $44,000 in 2015, compared with $31,000 in 2005, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum told reporters.
Oil accounted for only 3 percent of GDP in 2006 compared with 10 percent in 2000, Sheikh Mohammed said, outlining the next phase of a development drive has turned the tiny desert emirate into the commercial hub of the world’s top oil exporting region.
“We need a new economic plan because the 2010 plan was already exceeded,” he said.
“We will focus on the strong sectors in our economy including tourism, trade, transportation and financial services.”
Dubai’s drive to wean its economy off oil exports, now being emulated around the Gulf, has been led by state-owned companies such as Emirates, the largest Arab airline, and DP World, the third largest container port operator in the world.
The emirate, home to man-made island’s shaped like palm fronds and a ski slope in the desert, draws around 6 million visitors a year, more than any other Arab tourist destination, except Egypt.
Dubai launched a new stock exchange in 2005 as part of an off-shore financial centre that was trumpeted at the time as the birth of the Arab Hong Kong.
Sheikh Mohammed gave no figures for Dubai’s economic growth in 2006. The emirate’s economy grew 16 percent in 2005, according to official figures that were not adjusted for inflation.
Dubai’s workforce will more than double 1.73 million by 2015, according to a document given to reporters before the news conference.
Dubai, like the rest of the region, depends heavily on expatriate workers who make up more than 80 percent of the UAE’s population.