In the May 2008 Issue of Property Investor News
Abu Dhabi Review
The largest of the seven emirates that constitute the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Abu Dhabi is the capital and governmental centre. The emirate, which has a population of 1.6m people, has several natural advantages over its more famous neighbour Dubai. Firstly, it is a wealthier emirate than Dubai, with nearly all of the UAEs oil and gas reserves, (94% and 92% respectively of the UAE total), which is not so surprising as the emirate itself accounts for 85% of the countrys land mass. Secondly, while Dubai spends billions of pounds dredging sand to build scenic islands, Abu Dhabis sandy coastline is already dotted with over 200 "natural" islands saving them an awful lot of time and money. The authorities also have a different game plan to Dubai and want to make the emirate more of a business centre than a holiday destination.
Boasting one of the worlds highest per capita incomes, Abu Dhabi is witnessing spectacular real estate investment growth rates and the emirate now has around $306bn worth of mega investment and infrastructure projects in the pipeline, and according to Damac Properties "the emirate has $2.4 trillion of construction developments in the pipeline".
The Government of Abu Dhabi recently unveiled its "Plan Abu Dhabi 2030" and predicted that the citys population, which is currently around 900,000 (80% of whom are ex-pats), will more than treble in size within 25 years to over 3m. In 2009, Abu Dhabi will host its first Formula One Grand Prix, which will raise the emirates profile further. The government of Abu Dhabi also intends to invest more than $175bn in tourism, energy and infrastructure by 2012.
With construction activity gaining momentum in the past few years, the face of the emirate is set for a major transformation in the coming years. According to Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI), GDP for the emirate will reach $159bn by 2010 with the share of non-oil activities rising from $44bn to $72bn.
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