TBY launches Abu Dhabi 2019 edition

Abu Dhabi, January 10, 2019—TBY, a leading international research firm and publisher of annual economic resources on national economies, is pleased to announce the launch of The Business Year: Abu Dhabi 2019, in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Economy. For its fifth annual edition on Abu Dhabi, TBY conducted more than 150 interviewees with industry executives to shed light on the major investment opportunities for the global business community.

The Business Year: Abu Dhabi 2019 introduces a new feature explaining the role of Abu Dhabi’s Executive Council. The Executive Council members profiles are introduced in a helpful format that serves as an illustrative guide to Abu Dhabi’s government. This is followed by a tribute to His Highness, the Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder of the UAE, whose 100th birthday was celebrated throughout 2018.

The oil and gas sector occupies a predominant segment of The Business Year: Abu Dhabi 2019, as state-owned oil company Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) progressed steadily in its restructuring process through the announcements of its downstream strategy and the In-Country Value (ICV) program, as well as the implementation of a renewed partnership model. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of ADNOC Group, emphasized the significance of these plans in discussion with TBY when he highlighted that “By 2025, our downstream strategy will add over 15,000 jobs, contribute an additional 1% of GDP per year, and create multiple opportunities for new business. It will also create significant in-country value, as our domestic and international partners work more closely with local SME’s to maximize the use of local products, manufacturing and assembly facilities, services and infrastructure.”

Moreover, the development of Abu Dhabi’s non-oil sector and efforts to move the economy away from its dependence on oil and gas are also examined. TBY discussed this with Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori, UAE Minister of Economy, who underlined that “the country, in line with UAE Vision 2021, is keen to build a diverse, globally competitive economy based on innovation and knowledge and led by national competencies, find other sources of income away from oil, and develop the non-oil economic sectors that are viable, such as manufacturing, tourism, and SMEs, in addition to the seven sectors identified by the National Innovation Strategy, namely technology, health, education, transportation, renewable energy, water, and space, as well as non-oil sectors that further the government’s plans, such as infrastructure, trade, logistics services, and the financial and retail sector, to increase the contribution of the non-oil sector to GDP to 80% by 2021.”

Mohammed Ahmed Bin Abdulaziz Al-Shehhi, Undersecretary of Economic Affairs of the Ministry of Economy, also provides an inside perspective for the publication, diving into the issue of intellectual property; “the UAE is making every effort to enhance its IP framework and thereby becoming a global hub for innovation and creativity,” the Undersecretary told TBY.

Several restructuring efforts have also been introduced to improve the ease of doing business and create incentives for investors. Ahmad Bin Ghannam, Acting CEO, Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), reaffirmed to TBY the importance of creating an attractive business environment to encourage investors with innovative ideas. “Our ability to attract further FDI will grow further as the Emirate’s business ecosystem continues to move up the global competitiveness scale”. In this sense, a major milestone was the announcement of Ghadan 21, a AED50-billion government spending package which aims to revitalize the economy has been dubbed by many among both government and private sector leaders as a ‘necessary adjustment’

TBY Analytics, TBY’s unique methodology for parsing C-level opinion into real-time statistics, deduced that opportunities abound across a wide range of asset class for different types of risk profiles, led by a wide-ranging technological transformation. In an interview with TBY, Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Group Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director of Mubadala Investment Company, spoke on the sovereign fund’s diversification and investment strategy. “With our increased exposure to the technology sector, we expect to deploy capital in high potential sectors. We will make strategic investments to position ourselves at the leading edge of these sectors”. Additionally, within the insurance sector, TBY Analytics point out that while health and automotive segments take the center stage, life insurance is setting up to take the sector by storm.

The major themes influencing the built environment are examined at length in the urban planning, real estate, and construction section of the publication. Abu Dhabi continues to post an oversupply in real estate, which led to competitive prices, while government initiatives such as 10-year visas for foreigners and increased tourism activity are expected to increase demand. Falah Al Ahbabi, the Chairman of the Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities (DPM), was keen to affirm that Abu Dhabi’s unique cultural components are an asset that help to counterbalance some of the negative effects of globalization. “The Emirate’s cultural assets stimulate innovations that spring from our unique geographical setting, cultural history, and identity.”

In the more immediate future, Abu Dhabi is focusing on boosting sustainability in the economy by incentivizing investments in green energy and agribusiness sectors. The UAE is recognized as a regional leader in developing and deploying clean energy solutions and technology. With commitment to reduce its ecological footprint, transition to a climate-resilient green economy and ensure support through sustainable green finance. Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, the UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, told TBY; “Projects such Masdar send a strong message to the whole world that the country is making waves in the renewable energy sector”. Tackling water shortage is one of the objectives of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment and its crown project is the world’s largest reservoir for high-quality desalinated water, launched in January 2018.

In healthcare the major priorities for the Emirate include reducing capacity gaps, minimizing the need for international care, and attracting and maintaining local manpower. Sheikh Abdulla bin Mohammed Al Hamed, the Chairman of the Department of Health, was also quick to reiterate these strategic priorities when he spoke with TBY and outlined that “The industry has evolved over the years into a mature, adaptable, and advanced system aligned with leading international systems in terms of practices, standards, and regulations.”

Furthermore, TBY had also had the pleasure of discussing the creative industries, entrepreneurship and the media sector with Maryam Eid Al Mheiri, CEO of the Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi and of Twofour54, and its role in supporting the cultural eco-system of Emirate. She conveyed to TBY that “Today we have a unique and vibrant creative community of more than 470 media companies and 580 freelancers. We also recently announced the extension of our entrepreneurship scheme to enable more small businesses to work from home.”

Other prominent interviewees featured include: Juan Carlos Varela, President of the Republic of Panama; Abdulla Jassem bin Kalban, Managing Director & CEO of Emirates Global Aluminium; Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, CEO of Abu Dhabi Ports; Dr. Muhammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency; Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development; and Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) Abu Dhabi.

Neslihan Aydagül, TBY’s Managing Director for the GCC, spoke on the occasion of the launch. “Abu Dhabi continues to offer investors a vibrant economy, a stable political system and a business-friendly regulatory environment. While the energy sector continues to dominate economic development, a growing diversification in the Emirate’s economy is evident as Abu Dhabi strives for a more sustainable economy as articulated in its Economic Vision 2030. The Business Year: Abu Dhabi 2019 serves as a comprehensive guide for those wishing to do business in the Emirate.”