The UAE’s minister of economy said 7% annual GDP growth is his personal target, but that 4.9% non-oil growth is possible in 2024.

Speaking at the Dubai Fintech Summit, Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri said 7% growth per annum, which the UAE would need to achieve to reach its target of doubling its GDP by 2030, was “my target, my own personal target”.

The country has been aiming to double its output by the end of 2030.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank expected the UAE’s GDP to grow at 4.2% in 2024 he said, adding, it was possible that there may be 4.9% growth in non-oil GDP.

“When I said it, I said I want to do 7% per year, a year I get it, a year I don’t. It depends on the economy, what’s really happening in the economy globally,” Al Marri told the summit.

“We are looking at 4-5% this year, maybe 5% GDP growth, that’s something we are eying,” he said.

Non-oil GDP is where the country needs to see growth, Al Marri said, to diversify away from oil.

“We see growth away from traditional economies such as real estate and tourism to new types of tourism, such as sustainable tourism, health tech, we’re looking into AI, generative AI, the UAE is becoming the capital of AI,” he said.

Flood impact

Recent floods in the UAE did not have a huge effect on the country’s economy, despite the fact that there was an unprecedented amount of rain in the space of 10 hours on one day last month, something he said no city or country could have planned for. 

Business had carried on remotely during the floods, which is not something every country can boast of, and was made possible by infrastructure such as high-speed WiFi, Al Marri added.

(Reporting by Imogen Lillywhite; editing by Seban Scaria)