Abu Dhabi plans big
By Saifur Rahman, Business News Editor GULF NEWS Published: September 21, 2007, 00:17
Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi’s urban vision for 2030, announced on Wednesday, comes at a very appropriate time when the oil-rich emirate, which occupies nearly 85 per cent of the UAE, prepares for a massive surge in economic activities as part of its diversification plan.
The Urban Structure Framework Plan 2030 has been devised to cater to the needs of a structured growth agenda for the city’s expanding urban landscape and offer a balanced diet to its economy as well as its environment. More than Dh600 billion worth of development works are already at various stages of completion in Abu Dhabi, which has 96 billion barrels of proven oil reserves – enough for a 100-year supply at current production rate. The emirate also hosts three cities.
The Dh55-billion Al Raha Beach Development, Dh100-billion Saadiyat Islands, the Dh30-billion Reem Island and the Dh40-billion Yas Island projects are some of the master developments taking shape in the emirate. Along with these, a large investment in downstream petrochemical sector, industries, aviation and tourism – Dh25 billion in redevelopment of Abu Dhabi International Airport and Dh30 billion in Etihad Airways – are all part of a larger plan to transform Abu Dhabi into an economic powerhouse in the Middle East.
The plan also envisages an additional Dh600 billion investment in projects that will more than triple the size of Abu Dhabi’s economy and quadruple some sectors.
Once ready, they will attract new residents, tourists and businesses. But the UAE capital might become a victim of its own success with heavy traffic and inflationary pressures taking their toll on the public.
Abu Dhabi residents will begin to see the fruits of the ongoing projects from around 2010, when public facilities such as transportation, housing, recreational facilities, education and healthcare, will be in high demand. Provisions for these facilities is needed to be built-in within the urban development plan.
The public facilities in Abu Dhabi could be adequate for today, but not for tomorrow. That’s why, the plan is significant. From now, all development activities will be structured in line with the broad vision that will help the UAE capital achieve a much-needed balanced growth.