Abu Dhabi’s GDP rises 7.7%, population reaches 2.3m

Updated 12 January 2014
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Abu Dhabi’s GDP rises 7.7%, population reaches 2.3m

Abu Dhabi’s GDP at current prices rose by 7.7 percent to mark AED911.6 billion at the end of 2012, compared to AED846.7 billion in 2011, albeit relatively a better economic performance during 2011 as the GDP achieved a nominal growth rate of 32 percent, state news agency Wam reported.
The Economic Report of Abu Dhabi 2013 issued by the Studies Directorate of the Department of Economic Development has interpreted this relative growth through low growth rate achieved by the extractive industry activity in 2012, which amounted to about 6.2 percent, compared to 52.8 percent in 2011, due to the limited increases in quantities of oil production, and the limited rise in oil prices in global markets during 2012 compared to 2011.
Abu Dhabi’s oil exports registered a growth rate of 6.9 percent during 2012 compared to approximately 5.4 percent in 2011.
The report emphasized that the continuation of nonoil activities to achieving high rates of growth in recent years is substantiates the soundness and efficiency of the economic diversification policy followed by the government, especially in the last three years, which witnessed continuous improvement in the performance of this group of activities, after the sharp slowdown experienced in 2009.
The report said 2012 witnessed the continuation of the leading role of the group of nonoil activities in support of the overall economic performance, which achieved a combined positive growth rate of 9.6 percent at current prices in 2012.
In general, the report said contribution of extractive industries activities to Abu Dhabi’s GDP in 2012 dropped to 56.48 percent compared to 57.3 percent in 2011.
Nasser Ahmed Alsowaidi, chairman, Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, said: “Abu Dhabi’s economy continued to achieve distinct quantitative and qualitative developments in all areas.”
Mohammed Omar Abdullah, undersecretary of the Department of Economic Development, said the report shows that the real GDP of Abu Dhabi has achieved a growth rate of 5.6 percent in 2012, and that the nonoil activities witnessed a steady growth since 2007, which ranged between 5 percent and 9 percent until 2012. He added that this raised the contribution of nonoil economic activities to real GDP from less than 44 percent in 2007 to 48 percent in 2012.
Abu Dhabi’s population, meanwhile, increased from 2.2 million in 2011 to 2.3 million in 2012, registering a growth rate of 8 percent, which exceeded the growth rate of GDP at current and constant prices, which stood at 7.7 percent and 5.6 percent respectively during the same year. However, the average GDP per capita in Abu Dhabi still ranks among the highest in the world.
On the other hand, non-citizens captured 97.6% of the emirate’s total population in 2012, with the continuing imbalance between males and females in this category, where males dominated with 76.2 percent of the total population of non-citizens, while females accounted for about 23.8 percent, due to the high number of expatriates who work in the emirate; their families live in their countries of origin.
In view of the recovery and boom experienced by Abu Dhabi, many economic activities continued to attract and absorb more citizens and expatriates in labor force in the emirate.
The number of employed persons was projected to increase from 1.4 million people in 2011 to 1.6 million people in 2012, up by approximately 12 percent.
At the same time, the total size of the work force in the emirate went up from 1.4 million in 2011 to 1.6 million people in 2012, registering approximately a 13 percent increase, which raised the percentage of the labor force to 70 percent of the total population of the emirate in 2012 compared to 66.8 percent in 2011.
In the same vein, estimates indicate a slight increase in unemployment rate to reach 3.2 percent in 2012 compared to 2.8 percent in 2011.
The emirate’s economy maintained relative stability in the prices of most goods and services over the past few years, as the general consumer prices index rose from 121.6 points in 2011 to122.9 points in 2012.
The average annual inflation rate in the emirate dropped to 1.1 percent by 2012 compared to 1.9 percent in 2011 and 3.1 percent at the end of 2010.


Infectious diseases are set to become as great a risk for global business as climate change

Updated 19 January 2019
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Infectious diseases are set to become as great a risk for global business as climate change

LONDON: The Global Risks Report 2019 jointly compiled by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Harvard Global Heath Institute describes a world that is woefully ill-prepared to detect and respond to disease outbreaks.
In fact, the world is becoming more vulnerable to pandemics, despite advances in medicine and public health.
Global GDP will fall by an average of 0.7 percent or $570 billion because of pandemics — a threat that is “in the same order of magnitude” to the losses estimated to be caused by climate change in the coming decades.
“Outbreaks are a top global economic risk and — like the case for climate change — large companies can no longer afford to stay on the sidelines,” said Vanessa Candeias, who heads the committee on future health and health care at the WEF.
Potential catastrophic outbreaks of disease occur only every few decades but regional and local epidemics are becoming more common. There have been nearly 200 a year in recent times and outbreaks of diseases such as influenza, Ebola, zika, yellow fever, SARS, and MERS have become more frequent over the last 30 years.
At the same time antibiotics have become less effective against bacteria.
The impact of influenza pandemics is estimated at $60 billion, according to a report by the Commission on a Global Health Risk Framework for the Future — more than double previous estimates.
The trend is expected to get worse as populations increase and become more mobile due to travel, trade or displacement. Deforestation and climate change are also factors.
Businesses need to bone up on the risk of infectious diseases and how to manage them if the overall economy is to remain resilient.
Peter Sands, research fellow at the Harvard Global Health Institute and executive director of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, said, “When business leaders are more aware of what’s at stake, maybe there will be a different dialogue about global health, from being a topic that rarely touches the radar screen of business leaders to being a subject worthy of attention, investment and advocacy.”
Predicting where and when the next outbreak will come is an evolving science but it is possible to identify certain factors that would leave companies vulnerable to financial losses, such as the nature of the business, geographical location of the workforce, the customer base and supply chain.
Disease is not the only threat. There is also fear uninformed panic. Past epidemics have shown that misinformation spreads as fast as the infection itself and can undermine and disrupt medical response.
The report advises planning for such emergencies by “trusted public-private partnerships” so that “businesses can help mitigate the potentially devastating human and economic impacts of epidemics while protecting the interests of their employees and commercial operations.”
It is estimated that the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa in 2014-2016 cost $53 billion in lost commercial income and the 2015 MERS outbreak in South Korea cost $8.5 billion. According to the World Bank, disease accounts for only 30 percent of economic losses. The rest is largely down to healthy people changing their behavior as they seek to avoid becoming infected themselves.
The authors of the report will make recommendations next week at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos.