Sharjah targets nine percent GDP growth by 2007
Sharjah is targeting up to nine percent growth in its seven billion dollar a year Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the next three years, chairman of the Government of Sharjah’s economic development department Sheikh Tariq Faisal Al-Qassimi told a luncheon meeting of the Australian Business Group in the Gulf.
This GDP growth is slightly ahead of the target set by neighboring Dubai, and will increase the population of Sharjah from 550-600,000 today to around 710-780,000 by 2006. Sheikh Tariq said Sharjah’s economic development plan would complement rather than compete with Dubai.
He outlined three growth areas: “First, new industrial plants for existing and new industries, secondly in retail where we will have six new shopping centers in the next three years. And thirdly in tourism with a focus on ‘edutainment’ for children, that is facilities that are both educational and fun.”
Most of the industrial development will be in the two Sharjah free zones. From a total of 462 companies in Sharjah free zones in 1998, the total today has reached more than 1,350, said Sheikh Tariq. “This represents a 35 percent annual growth rate, mainly in the small and medium sized business area.”
He noted that after the recent Afghan War trade with Afghanistan had boomed, with a lot of products supplied to Kabul direct from Sharjah, and forecast a similar boom in trade with Iraq once the current crisis was resolved.
Sheikh Tariq also highlighted the development of the new Air Arabia airline and the fact that three new beach hotels were under construction as indicative of the dynamism of the Sharjah economy. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)