Abu Dhabi, UAE

The UAE’s large hydrocarbon wealth gives it one of the highest GDP per capita in the world and Abu Dhabi owns the majority of these resources, 95% of the oil and 6% of gas. Abu Dhabi thus holds 9% of the world’s proven oil reserves (98.2bn barrels) and almost 5% of the world’s natural gas (5.8 trillion cu metres). Oil production in the UAE is in the region of 2.3m barrels per day (bpd), and projects are in progress to boost production to 3m bpd. In recent years the focus has turned to gas as increasing domestic consumption for power, desalination and re-injection of gas into oil fields increases demand. Recently the government has been diversifying their economic plans. Served by high oil prices, the country’s non-oil and gas GDP has outstripped that attributable to the energy sector. Remarkably, non-oil and gas GDP now constitutes 64% of the UAE’s total GDP. This trend is reflected in Abu Dhabi with substantial new investment in industry, real estate, tourism and retail.

Baghdad, Iraq

Baghdad is the capital of the Republic of Iraq and has a population of over 8 million. Baghdad is the political, business and manufacturing centre of Iraq and is emerging from over 10 years of war and strife. Before that Iraq suffered through many years of sanctions that stunted development and growth. Iraq is a major oil producing nation with proven reserves that put it in fifth place in the world, the expectation is though that because of under development, Iraq will be proved to have the second largest oil reserves in the world, after Saudi. A lot of the business conducted in Baghdad is therefore based upon oil revenues. Following the improvement in security in 2017, the government is pushing had on economic reform that will modernise the industrial base of the country, create jobs for Iraqis and increase trade through expert of manufactured goods. Several initiatives are underway including new hotels, hospitals, roads and well as a new communications network and a number of large housing projects and a development plan for Baghdad 2030 has been released. Another government initiative is to increase inward investment. This will enable acceleration of growth, development and transition of the economy. Baghdad remains a very friendly city, with strong roots in the family and spending time socialising in market squares and by the Tigris at weekends. Since the defeat of ISIS in 2017 security is improving significantly with several hotels downtown and the ability to travel across Baghdad to conduct business meetings in an almost normal manner.

Dubai, UAE

Dubai’s gross domestic product is US $83.4 billion. Although Dubai’s economy was built on the back of the oil industry, revenues from oil and natural gas currently account for less than 7% of the emirate’s revenues. It is estimated that Dubai produces 50,000 to 70,000 barrels (11,000 m3) of oil a day and substantial quantities of gas from offshore fields. The emirate’s share in UAE’s gas revenues is about 2%. Dubai’s oil reserves have diminished significantly and are expected to be exhausted in 20 years. Real estate and construction (22.6%), trade (16%), entrepôt (15%) and financial services (11%) are the largest contributors to Dubai’s economy. Dubai’s top exporting destinations include India (US$ 5.8 billion), Switzerland (US$ 2.37 billion) and Saudi Arabia (US$ 0.57 billion). The emirate’s top import sources are India (US$ 12.55 billion), China (US$ 11.52 billion) and the United States (US$ 7.57 billion). India is Dubai’s largest trade partner.

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has an oil-based economy with h2 government controls over major economic activities. It possesses about 20% of the world’s proven petroleum reserves, ranks as the largest exporter of petroleum, and plays a leading role in OPEC. The petroleum sector accounts for roughly 80% of budget revenues, 45% of GDP, and 90% of export earnings. Saudi Arabia is encouraging the growth of the private sector in order to diversify its economy and to employ more Saudi nationals. Diversification efforts are focusing on power generation, telecommunications, natural gas exploration, and petrochemical sectors. As part of its effort to attract foreign investment, Saudi Arabia acceded to the WTO after many years of negotiations. The government has begun establishing six “economic cities” in different regions of the country to promote foreign investment and plans to spend $373 billion on social development and infrastructure projects to advance Saudi Arabia’s economic development.

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