The Emirate of Sharjah’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth could reach 13 percent in 2014, according to comments made by Hussain Mohamed Al Mahmoudi, director-general of Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry to UAE newspaper Khaleej Times. Al Mahmoudi informed the paper that the Chamber expected the emirate’s GDP to reach AED 113 billion (US$30.8 b) this year compared to AED 100 billion (US$27.2 b) in 2013.
The 13 percent increase in GDP would represent a seven year high for Sharjah, which last saw a similar rate of GDP growth in 2007. The United Arab Emirates Ministry of Economy confirmed Sharjah’s 2013 GDP growth as 8 percent in October, while S&P forecast an average growth of about 8% from 2014-2017, based on continued strong economic growth and government fiscal policy. Sharjah’s 2013 GDP growth rate was second in the region only to Dubai.
Sharjah’s economy performed well during the recent global financial crisis and bouncing back from -5 percent GDP in 2009 to positive 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.
The director general was optimistic about Sharjah’s growth potential for 2015 and said that this was confirmed by strong business confidence. Results from the Sharjah Chamber Business Confidence Index and Survey released earlier this year, found that over half of businesses were expecting sales to rise, about a further 40 percent expecting to maintain their current sales, while 64 per cent were planning to increase their capacity.
Sharjah has a wide range of economic development initiatives in place to help develop its economy, position itself as an Arab tourism destination and encourage foreign capital. The economy is unique in the GCC, with no single sector contributing more than 20% of its GDP.
According to Al Mahmoudi real estate and business services, contribute about 19 per cent to the GDP, manufacturing 17 per cent, trade 12 percent, tourism, construction and financial services total 8 percent and transport and logistics share about 6 per cent.
Sharjah will hold the 12th annual World Forum for Foreign Direct Investment next year from 8 – 10 February, hosted by Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), marking the first time that the event has taken place in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
Source: Khaleej Times, Shurooq