Mohamed Helal Al Mheiri speaks during the event.
Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI), in cooperation with Pakistan Business Professional Council, the Ministry of Economy and the National Fund for Social Responsibility (CSR UAE), have organised a seminar on the latest economic updates of the UAE economy while raising awareness on corporate social responsibility (CSR).
In his opening speech, Mohamed Helal Al Mheiri, Director General (DG) of ADCCI, said that the UAE in 2022 is keen on further increasing the competitiveness of the private sector, which can achieved by implementing innovative strategies targeted at accelerating growth and economic diversification.
“Several economic development indicators point to a strong financial system and strong and resilient national economy,” he added, pointing to a report released by the World Bank that projects the UAE economy to continue in its recovery course in 2022, with growth anticipated to reach 4.7 per cent, driven by oil and non-oil sectors.
The Director-General noted that the financial reserves of the UAE continue to exhibit solid growth, according to the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE), which reflects the country’s robust banking system and high financial solvency, ensuring its ability to overcome any sudden shifts in the financial and economic landscape.
“SMEs today represent 94 per cent of the total companies and institutions operating in the country and contribute more than 50 per cent to the country’s GDP, making them a key player in building a competitive knowledge-based economy.” Al Mheiri praised several initiatives launched by the UAE Government that consolidated its position as a preferred destination for emerging businesses and startups, as it ranked 1st in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, and 22nd globally in attracting FDI, as per the UNCTAD.
For his part, Dr. Al Hassan Jouaouine, Economic Advisor, Under-Secretary’s Office, Ministry of Economy, shed light on the unique model of the UAE economy over the past 50 years, pointing to the resilience and quick responsiveness of the UAE economy in the face of COVID-19 pandemic and the UAE’s 50-year plan transition towards the ‘’New Economy’’.
Dr Jouaouine said that the UAE economy has grown seven times since 1975 and that the country was ranked 7th in GNI per capita in 2019.
Concerning the resilience and quick responsiveness of the UAE economy, Dr. Jouaouine pointed to a range of preventive measures taken by the government to limit the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the economy by launching a economic stimulus package of Dhs 388 billion, as well as the implementation of flexible packages within the 33-initiative plan to support key economic sectors and build a more flexible and sustainable economic model.
Noha Mohammed Al Harmoudi, Director of the CSR UAE Fund, said that the Fund plays a pivotal role in making the UAE a world example of CSR, adding that the CSR UAE Fund is a federal authority that sets the framework and governance for Corporate Social Responsibility in the UAE while managing and directing contributions from the business sector towards National Priority initiatives.
“CSR UAE Fund has metrics in place to rank and reward active businesses in CSR on a country level. Furthermore, it is an enabler for relevant authorities to enhance and regulate socially responsible practices within corporations and business entities,” she explained.
Al Harmoudi added that the mission of the Fund is to establish a platform that encourages the business sector to actively engage in socially responsible practices that lead to a positive economic, social and environmental impact in line with the UAE’s priorities and sustainable development goals.
In his closing remarks, Dr S Qaiser Anis, President of Pakistan Business Professional Council, praised that achievements of the UAE over the past 50 years, including its advanced infrastructure, hosting Expo 2020 Dubai, initiating Baraka Nuclear Energy Plant, the Launch of the UAE Space Agency, and attracting people from more than 192 countries to work and live in the UAE.
Dr. Anis also spoke of foreign direct investment and that the UAE is ranked first in FDI inflows in west Asian countries, as well as the Mena region.
He also spoke of the positive changes in the UAE financial sector and the establishment of HUB71, saying that the aggregate valuation of Hub71 startups soared to Dhs 5.87 billion, with close to 1,000 jobs created since its inception in 2019.
He also listed some of the UAE’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) including the provision of quality education, enforcing gender equality, and improving clean water and sanitation among others.