UAE economy to become third largest in region
The UAE's economy is expected to become the third largest economy in the Middle East and Central Asia, gaining an expected $30 billion in nominal terms in 2005.
Projections by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reveal that the country's gross domestic product peaked at some $104.2 billion in 2004, reflecting a staggering 17 percent increase over the 2003 GDP of $88.5 billion.
The GDP for the current year, 2005, is expected to reflect a 28.5 percent increase to $133.8 billion. Experts at the IMF predict that it will reach $150.9 billion in 2006.
According to the IMF, the UAE ranked third amongst economies of 32 countries in the Middle East and Central Asia, followed by Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Furthermore, the UAE's economy accounted for nearly 9.2 percent of the total GDP of all 32 countries listed, according to <i>WAM</i>.
Only 20 years ago the UAE had one of the smallest economies in the region. Since then, it has embarked on a massive diversification program and increased its oil production as well.
Such an increase, as well as increased gas output and the construction of new petrochemical and refining projects, in addition to investment in the county's non-oil sector, have all contributed to its economic achievements.
Reduced reliance on crude exports has also helped significantly, with the nation's oil sector's share of the GDP has falling to only around a third from more than two-thirds in early 1980s.