Non-oil sector to be a bigger part of UAE GDP

During the recent Beirut Institute Summit in Abu Dhabi, UAE government plans were revealed to increase the non-oil sector contribution towards UAE’s GDP to 80 percent. This goal is expected to be achieved in the next 10 to 15 years. Currently 70 percent of UAE’s GDP is contributions from non-oil sectors. Other main points discussed during the Summit include:

  • $100 billion has entered the UAE in the past 10 years in the form of foreign direct investment
  • By 2021, UAE plans to have 5 percent of its GDP derived from innovation


eDirham popularity on the rise

eDirham is a payment system within the UAE for companies and individuals through which governmental and non government service fees can be collected. The eDirham prepaid cards are used to make payments for services such as Emirates ID cards and visa renewals. Recent numbers have shown an increase in the eDirham system:

  • Since the start of 2015, there has been a 8% increase in electronic services completed through the eDirham system to 27.3 million
  • Within the first nine months of 2015, around 6 billion of revenue was collected by the Federal Government through the system
  • By the end of September 2015, the number of eDirham cards sold increased to 1.6 million
  • The average time taken to carry out a web transaction is 1.13 seconds
  • The average time to carry out a transaction through a POS device is 1.08 seconds

Unified visa for GCC countries?

A proposal is under discussion to create a unified visa for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), similar to that of the Schengen visa. The unified visa is expected to be available by mid next year (2016) and will let foreigners visit all six member states of the GCC.

[Related: Working in Dubai and the UAE: What are my visa options?]


Increase in loan rejections

According to Citibank, the number of loan applications they have rejected since the introduction of Al Etihad Credit Bureau has increased. Other banks such as ADIB have also been more cautions with loan approvals since the introduction of the Credit Bureau. Also based on a survey recently released by Citi, YouGov and Al Etihad Credit Bureau, one forth of survey respondents had acquired a credit report from the Credit Bureau. Such results indicate the increasing popularity of  Al Etihad Credit Bureau among consumers and banks in the UAE.

[Related: UAE credit reports explained]


UAE one of world’s strongest nation brand

In a report released by the consultancy Brand Finance on the top 10 strongest nation brands in the world, UAE ranked as the world’s third strongest nation brand . The top two countries in the ranking were Singapore in first place and and Switzerland in second place. Compared to other years, UAE has moved up the rankings from No.19 in 2013 to eighth place in 2014. Another GCC country which made it to the list was Qatar at No.9.