Ability to power infrastructure boost inspires confidence in Abu Dhabi

Gulf News(UAE), 25 September 2009

ABU DHABI - The emirate of Abu Dhabi has retained its strong economic position despite the economic crisis that hit the world last year, the Abu Dhabi Executive Council said on Friday.

A solid hydrocarbon reserve will help the emirate withstand any future shocks in the form of a fall in crude prices or global recession, analysts believe.

"The emirate still enjoys a strong economic and credit position despite oil prices plunging in the international markets, which is the main source of [the] emirate's income," the Council quoted a 2009 report on Abu Dhabi by the Oxford Business Group as saying.

"The emirate's entire production and development wheel continued turning inspite of the current global credit crunch," the Council said.

The Oxford Business Group report found that the Abu Dhabi government's spending had risen 12 per cent to Dh42.2 billion this year. The report also indicated that Abu Dhabi will be in a very strong position when the global market picks up, due to the ability of its government to continue to fund major infrastructure projects and keep its development strategy.

"This is evident in on-going works in a number of mega-projects in the emirate, such as Shaikh Zayed National Museum, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum, the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the Performing Arts Centre, all of which are located in the cultural district of the Saadiyat Island," said the report. "Also, the emirate is starting the initial studies for the Abu Dhabi Metro Project, investment in heavy industries with aim of diversifying the emirate's economy and the introduction of renewable energy sources as a substitute for oil and natural gas," it added.

The Council cited online recruitment firm GulfTalent.com as saying that Abu Dhabi is leading the recovery from the economic downturn in the Gulf region and, with regard to careers and employment, it now accounts for 23 per cent of all advertised jobs in the GCC.

"Abu Dhabi was very conservative in terms of borrowing when the global financial crisis struck and they continue to have ample liquidity," Dalton Garis, an Abu Dhabi-based economist told Gulf News.