UAE economy hits pre-pandemic levels

According to Issam Abousleiman, the Country Director of the GCC Countries, Middle East, and North Africa at the World Bank, the UAE has solidified its place as one of the GCC peers with one of the fastest economies to recover to its pre-pandemic levels.

Abousleiman claimed in an interview with the Emirates News Agency (WAM) that the successful vaccination campaign the UAE implemented in 2021, along with its monetary and fiscal stimulus measures, helped the UAE quickly return to its pre-pandemic economic levels.

“Our projections suggest the UAE’s economy will grow 4.7% in 2022 which is then expected to average 3.5% in the medium term. We project both fiscal and external balances to register surpluses of 4.4% and 13.7% of GDP; respectively, during 2022, according to the June 2022 projections. We are currently revising these forecasts, which will be published during our Annual Meetings in mid-October,” he explained.

He emphasised how Expo 2020 Dubai significantly contributed to accelerating the recovery. “The United Arab Emirates established itself as a major participant on the world stage and drew not just visitors but also economic investments. There was a wide range of economic impacts from the Expo; from real estate to tourism and hospitality to investments and logistics,” he added.

The UAE is one of the Middle East and North Africa region’s most developed nations for citizen-centric online public services, according to the World Bank’s most current GovTech Maturity Index. Supporting key government systems, improving public service delivery, mainstreaming citizen involvement, and building GovTech enablers were the four main axes on which the World Bank report based its categorization.

“Under 48 indicators, the UAE achieved a full score in 31 of them, which qualified it to be among the highest global group,” he said. He also lauded the intentionality of the government as regards informing the citizens about digital government strategies via its Digital Emirates website which features details on the Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Strategy for Artificial Intelligence, National Innovation Strategy, and Emirates Blockchain Strategy 2021.

The government uses a digital government maturity model as a single point of reference to evaluate its digital maturity. The UAE also publishes its citizen engagement performance and has a dedicated website, mSurvey, that allows the public to articulate their opinions easily and to provide feedback transparently on policies and various development issues. It is anticipated that the Dubai government will completely abandon paper in order to reduce the annual use of more than 1 billion pieces of paper in official business.

The GCC region is expected to grow by 5.9% in 2022 before slowing to 3.7% and 3.3% in 2023 and 2024, respectively, according to the Country Director for the GCC Countries, Middle East, and North Africa at the World Bank. “These projections are expected to be revised upwards in our October forecast based on OPEC+ developments of raising production quotas,” he clarified.

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