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Abu Dhabi is home to the world’s sixth-largest proven oil reserves and is working to achieve self-sufficiency in natural gas. It has been successfully pursuing diversification, particularly in terms of manufacturing, banking and ICT. While the global Covid-19 pandemic and decline in international oil prices poses challenges for the emirate, the fundamentals underpinning its economy remain strong.
As part of plans to expand and diversify its global trade partners, the GCC has launched negotiations with the UK on a free trade agreement that is expected to bolster the bloc’s economy, help attract investment and provide greater opportunities for local businesses.
As oil prices reach 7.5-year highs, a number of countries in the Middle East have unveiled fiscal measures designed to balance their budgets after two years of pandemic-related spending.
Abu Dhabi had already developed a vibrant digital economy prior to Covid-19, with advanced ICT infrastructure in place and a digital-first approach that meant public services were easily accessible online.
On the back of higher oil prices and a stronger global economic environment, the Middle East returned to growth in 2021, with a number of governments taking the opportunity to implement long-term plans aimed at diversification and modernisation.
Amid an attempt to drive a post-coronavirus economic rebound, a number of countries in the Gulf have introduced new immigration measures to help attract skilled foreign workers.
More female employees are joining workplaces and boardrooms in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, with gender equality a key target of a regional drive to improve environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards.
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