UAE seeks GDP with zero oil contribution in 50 years

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, said that the UAE is planning to become the first country in the world to achieve zero oil contribution to its GDP in the next 50 years.

Dr Al Zeyoudi shared his insights during his opening remarks on the second day of the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM).

Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi
Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi
Minister of State for Foreign Trade
UAE Government

“The UAE’s trade and investment strategy is centered on economic diversification and focuses on enhancing investment in industries such as communication, blockchain, artificial intelligence, robotics and genetics. We are also initiating measures to strengthen our position as a regional leader in supplying financial and logistical services and infrastructure for energy supply and other services. Foreign direct investment [FDI] has also played a critical role in economic growth of the UAE.

Foreign Direct Investment

In 2019, the UAE was the largest recipient of FDI in the region. The policies and measures are in place, such as the FDI law enacted in 2018 to further open the UAE market to investors in certain sectors and assurance of a positive list that allows greater foreign investment across 122 activities, he pointed out.

He added that the country was able to increase FDI value by 52 percent last year and that enhanced partnership and collaboration within the government and with the private sector will be essential in achieving these goals.

Thanks to the digitalization strategies and the promising business regulatory climate created by the UAE, the UAE also ranked 16th among 190 countries in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business 2020 ranking, he added.

The Minister added that the UAE continues to refine and enforce policies aimed at maximizing productivity, increasing cooperation and creating opportunities for trade and investment facilitation.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected global markets massively, generating new trade and investment obstacles. Global FDI flows are expected to decline by up to 40 percent this year, according to the United Nations, far below their $1.54 trillion value in 2019.

“This will bring global FDI below $1 trillion for the first time since 2005. Global FDI flows are expected to drop even further in 2021. We do expect to start seeing markets recover only in 2022. The challenges ahead are enormous. The UAE sees tremendous opportunities for government and business leaders to work together for trade and investment to shape policies to create new partnership, leverage new technologies and build a future global economy that is more diverse, inclusive and sustainable,” he added.

Dubai FDI CEO Fahad Al Gergawi said the policies and initiatives of Dubai have prepared the city to attract investment into new and emerging industries, including the digital economy, which includes secure communication networks, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, machine-to-machine communication and other Industry 4.0. Technologies.

“This is the reason Dubai was among the top 10 cities globally in attracting FDI capital during the first half of 2020, and third in attracting greenfield FDI,” he said.

Gil Amelio, Safe Dynamics chairman and former Apple Computer CEO, said Dubai is recognized in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region and around the globe as a city of the future and an innovation hub.

“Dubai and the UAE have implemented an innovative and forward-thinking approach. That’s why we are also planning to launch other products that improve safety for both workers and the public in the UAE in the near future,” he added.


The Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) is an enterprise from the UAE Ministry of Foreign Trade focusing on Emerging Markets FDI and foreign trade. It aims at attracting high profile government officials, private asset owners and project promoters from all around the world to invest in high growth regions. This year it is being held from 20th to 22nd October.