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

Updated 12 January 2014

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.


London-based high-tech company tackling online extremism

Updated 1 min 21 sec ago

London-based high-tech company tackling online extremism

  • Moonshot CVE employs 40 people working in 15 languages, including English, French and Arabic, on 76 projects in 28 countries, with clients ranging from governments to technology firms

LONDON: Vidhya Ramalingam believes it’s always possible to change, even for people deeply involved in the murky online world of extremism.

Her company Moonshot CVE has the ambitious aim of trying to get anyone tempted by violence back on the straight and narrow.

Over the last four years, the London-based startup has grown quietly but not anonymously, if a recent partnership deal with Facebook is anything to go by.

US national Ramalingam and the firm’s co-founder Ross Frenett previously worked as researchers into extremism and believe radical groups are often one step ahead when it comes to technology.

“There was a lot of recognition that terrorists were using the internet in creative ways, that they were reaching young audiences, that they were able to innovate,” she told AFP in an interview.

“Yet those of us that were trying to counter them simply were moving too slowly and had too many constraints to actually replicate those methods for counter-terrorism purposes.”

That led to the idea of a technology startup able to keep up with and fight against all forms of violent extremism to nationalists and even “incels.” But greater visibility has forced the company to take more security measures because of the sensitive nature of its work — and the potential for violence from the people it tracks.

The address of Moonshot CVE’s London offices is kept secret and most of its staff have no visible online presence.

Just to get into its premises in a nondescript building in the British capital, visitors have to pass through heavy armor-plated doors and a security check.

“We take precautions,” said Ramalingam. “We work on high-risk issues and we try and put as much into the public domain as possible.”

The startup’s name refers to the act of launching a rocket to the moon — and gives an indication of its stellar ambition. The CVE stands for countering violent extremism.

It employs 40 people working in 15 languages, including English, French and Arabic, on 76 projects in 28 countries, with clients ranging from governments to technology firms.

One project is a collaboration with the Canadian government against the far-right. Another works with the UN on online extremist content in Asia.

The company has also had a partnership for several years with Google, using online advertising to target people looking up violent extremism on the net.

The Facebook contract involves Moonshot analizing how effective the social network could be to “deradicalize” users looking up extremist content.