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Dubai’s AED32 trillion economic agenda ‘ambitious but very achievable’

  • Dubai wants to double size of economy over next decade, become among top 3 global cities
Published January 9, 2023

Dubai’s grand ‘D33’ agenda announced last week, with the goal of doubling the size of Dubai’s economy by 2033 and total economic targets of AED32 trillion, is “ambitious but very achievable,” Helal Almarri, Director General of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, told Bloomberg.

In a recent interview, he said the plan “is backed by very deliberate steps, very deliberate projects to try to ensure that we hit these targets. The targets are ambitious, but they’re very achievable.

“As we look to grow foreign trade to AED25.6 trillion cumulatively over the next ten years, a number of projects have been announced already, such as adding 400 new locations to our trade map, and also making sure that we really do cement our position as the global city at the center of many emerging markets that are really showing good levels of growth,” said Almarri.

One of the first projects of the agenda include the Dubai Unified License that will provide a unique commercial identity for all companies across economic zones.

Another is ‘Sandbox Dubai’, which aims to make Dubai a major hub for incubating business innovation by enabling the testing and marketing of new products and technologies.

He added that logistics giant DP World has already taken great steps in building a network and the necessary infrastructure to allow the country to accelerate growth.

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Foreign direct investment (FDI), according to him, is a crucial component of the agenda.

Included in the plan is ensuring Dubai ranks as one of the top four global financial centres with an increase in FDI to over AED650 billion over the next decade and an annual AED100 billion contribution from digital transformation.

“We were sitting at around AED46 billion (FDI) just pre-Covid in 2019 to grow that to AED60 billion a year. We see that – around a 7% growth – as very achievable.

“The key geographies or the key markets, we see foreign direct investment coming from the UK, US, for example. In addition to that, we see bilateral agreements with over 200 countries really driving both the trade and the FDI.”

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He added that the UAE will focus on manufacturing and logistics sectors along with the financial sector and tourism.

“I would say that it’s really about the continuous diversification of the economy,” he said, adding that “if we look forward ten years, there’s going to be at least eight or nine sectors that are over 5% of the economy.

“We’re also seeing a growing geographic spread. If you see the last twelve months, people coming from a much wider geography, cities in Asia, other places, I think this trend has already started and it’s just about making sure that we put the right steps in place so that that could continue at pace.”

D33 to make Dubai among top 3 global cities

The D33 agenda was unveiled last month by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to cement the city’s position “among the top three global cities.”

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“2033 will mark 200 years since the foundation of Dubai: the year in which Dubai will be the most important global business centre, and by then we would have completed the D33 Agenda,” said Sheikh Mohammed.

“We know our economic path over the next decade. The world makes way for those who know what they want.”

The launch of the ‘D33’ Agenda formed part of HH Sheikh Mohammed’s annual address on the anniversary of his Accession Day on January 4.

D33’s goals include raising the total value of foreign trade in goods and services from AED14.2 trillion in the past 10 years to AED25.6 trillion in the next decade.

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Agenda ‘D33’ also includes the launch of the Dubai Project to attract the world’s best universities, as part of the broader aim of making Dubai a leading global hub for higher education, and a programme to promote the growth of SMEs by identifying 400 high-potential companies and supporting their capacity-building and global expansion.


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