The emirate of Sharjah’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 8 percent during 2013, according to new statistics released by the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Economy this week. According to the Ministry, Sharjah’s economy fared well during the last global financial crisis and bounced back from -5 percent GDP downturn in 2009 to +4 percent GDP growth in 2010, 7 percent growth in 2011 and 5 percent growth in 2012. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), which consists of seven emirates including Sharjah, experienced overall GDP growth of 4.8% in 2013.
Sharjah has seen rapid growth over the past decade with an average GDP growth rate of 11 percent thanks to its diversified economy and, despite the development of new offshore gas fields, its economic reliance on oil is minimal. In fact, Sharjah is the only economy in the Middle East region with no single sector contributing to more than 20% of its GDP. The emirate’s total GDP surpassed AED 70 billion (US$ 19b) in 2012 and is expected to exceed AED 80 billion (US$ 21.8b) in 2014.
Sharjah’s strategic geographical position and its membership of the UAE’s AED 1.47 trillion (US$402 billion) economy and economic development strategy have made it a successful destination for trade and investment. Both Moody’s Investors Services and Standard & Poor’s Financial Services (S&P) provided credit ratings for Sharjah this year, Moody’s awarding the emirate with a A3 stable rating and S&P giving the emirate an ‘A/A-1′ rating with a Stable Outlook. These two first-time ratings helped to highlight the solid fundamentals of Sharjah’s economy, the government’s strong fiscal policy and low levels of national debt to a global economic audience. In September, demand for Sharjah’s 10-year US$ 750 million (AED 275b) sovereign sukuk topped US$7.85 billion (AED 29b).
FDI has been a focus for the Sharjah government, establishing the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) in 2009 to develop a strategy to leverage FDI for the emirate’s sustainable economic development. Overall, the UAE managed to attract 21% of foreign direct investments into the Arab world in 2013, valued at US$10.5 billion (AED 39b) according to the Arab Investment and Export Credit Guarantee Corporation. Shurooq drives a year-round calendar of trade and investment initiatives for Sharjah globally and was recently named FDI Agency of the Year in the MENA region by The European Magazine’s Global Banking and Finance Awards.
The World Forum for Foreign Direct Investment will hold its 12th annual event in Sharjah next year from 7 – 10 February, hosted by Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq). The forum will provide a platform for international investors, policy makers and economic development organisations to network and discuss global trends and opportunities.
Source: UAE Ministry of Economic, Shurooq