Looking to diversify for when the oil runs out, Abu Dhabi has launched the largest industrial free zone in the United Arab Emirates.
Located between Abu Dhabi and Dubai it will cost 5.25 billion euros and includes a large sea port, which is due to open for business late next year.
The boss of the Abu Dhabi Ports Company, Tony Douglas, explained the logic: “Abu Dhabi’s economy is heavily dominated by gas and oil today. But its leadership has made a wise decision, in putting down the foundations now to target many different industrial sectors which will allow a breath of industrial diversification over time.”
Abu Dhabi will allow one hundred percent foreign ownership for some companies in the zone – previously foreign firms have had to have a local partner to set up in the United Arab Emirates.
Saeed Fadhel Al Mazrooei, the chief executive of Emirates Aluminium, which is building a new hi-tech aluminium smelter in the free zone, stressed the links with Europe: “Some of our financial benefits came from the European sector,countries, and it’s not new to us as or strange because we rely on the European technology as well as (on) the European financial and banking sector.”
Oil-rich Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, is investing billions in industry, tourism, infrastructure and property to diversify its economy away from energy.