How would you describe the overall role of the private sector in the economy of Abu Dhabi?
MOHAMED HELAL AL MUHAIRI: The role of the private sector in the economy is substantial. It contributes to almost 50% of the GDP in Abu Dhabi and 90% of the workforce. The contribution of the private sector to the non-oil GDP in the economy of Abu Dhabi is almost 45%, which is $117 billion.
What is the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ADCCI) doing to support private sector enterprise?
MOHAMED HELAL AL MUHAIRI: Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ADCCI) is supporting innovation in the private sectors. We have at ADCCI several new initiatives, the first one was the election of the new board of directors who is going to guide the Chamber to implement the next five year strategic plan.
We want to be the voice of the private sector in Abu Dhabi. We are opening four representative offices all around the world. The first two opened in Singapore and South Korea and in the pipeline we have another two offices in Serbia and Egypt. The strategy behind these offices, or representative offices, is to support our private sector to achieve their targets and goals.
The specific initiatives we have in ADCCI for the future is to support the private sector in Abu Dhabi and to help our local members to expand internationally; plus we want to provide them with the right training so they can compete in international markets.
SMEs constitute the largest share of the private sector. How are you supporting them?
MOHAMED HELAL AL MUHAIRI: The percentage of the SMEs in the UAE is more than 92%, and in Abu Dhabi, it’s more than 80%. Our SMEs are very important, we’re supporting them by developing special training courses for them. At the same time, we try to help them in exporting their products outside the UAE and we provide different workshops in specific areas so they can learn from these workshops, which helps them to survive in international markets.
Abu Dhabi’s economic diversification plans include increasing the contribution of non-oil sectors to GDP. What steps are being taken to achieve this goal?
MOHAMED HELAL AL MUHAIRI: Non-oil GDP today is around 40%, and in Abu Dhabi 2030 Vision, we want to achieve 60% non-oil GDP in the economy of Abu Dhabi Emirate.
To increase the non-oil GDP in Abu Dhabi, we have to attract some skilled labourers to help us and support us in diversification of the economy. At the same time, we have to ask all to bring some investments into this region so we can achieve our diversification in Abu Dhabi. The industries we’re focusing on are health, education, aerospace, energy, and renewable energy.
What is your future economic outlook for Abu Dhabi?
MOHAMED HELAL AL MUHAIRI: The economic outlook in Abu Dhabi looks very rosy. The reduction of the oil prices helped Abu Dhabi's economy to diversify and at the same time, it has given us the chance, or given the private sector the chance to export the product internationally at competitive prices.
In 2014, the figures show that the growth of the number of companies registered within Abu Dhabi is almost 10%, increasing from 100,000 to 110,000 in 2014. So this shows that a large number of companies are trusting the Abu Dhabi economy and the Abu Dhabi private sector.
The contribution of the private sector to the non-oil GDP in the economy of Abu Dhabi is almost 45%, which is $117 billion.
Abu Dhabi has ambitious plans to bring big companies to invest in Abu Dhabi. Today in tourism, we have already announced 4 big museums which are going to be in Abu Dhabi.
The number of visitors in 2014 to Abu Dhabi reached 3.5 million, and the plan for 2020 is to have more tourists coming to visit Abu Dhabi. In order to do that, we'll have to invest in infrastructure and we're calling in all the international companies to come to invest in Abu Dhabi to achieve that goal. So we'll have to create more hotels, we'll have to create more streets, more services to meet that demand of the tourists.
At the same time, in 2013, there was a big announcement about an almost $93 billion investment in infrastructure. So this gives all the people internationally the chance to come to work and live in Abu Dhabi for a better future.
What are Abu Dhabi’s key competitive advantages for private sector investors?
MOHAMED HELAL AL MUHAIRI: If you're a private company that wants to come to work in any country, the most important thing is what we provide to you. In Abu Dhabi, we have the legal framework to support you and help you. We have no taxes in Abu Dhabi. The living standards are very high in Abu Dhabi.
You can get skilled people from all around the world to work for you in Abu Dhabi. You can get the lands to make your own projects and at the same time, you can transfer your profits back to your country without any problems.
So this is giving the chance to you, as the private sector, to come to work in Abu Dhabi. And the most important thing, don't forget, we are in the middle of the world. Within a few hours, you can reach billions of people to sell your products to these markets.