The United Arab Emirates expects strong growth this year after its oil-rich economy expanded by 4.6 percent in 2014, Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum said. "We expect to continue to achieve strong growth in 2015," Sheikh Mohammed, who is also the ruler of Dubai, said in a note on the state of the UAE economy issued late Saturday.
He said the non-oil sector had experienced positive growth in first quarter and highlighted a "continuing rise in government spending and the increase in government and private capital." He noted that the non-oil sector grew 8.1 percent in 2014 and that its contribution to the economy had reached 68.6 percent. "We have put in place all the necessary plans to take that contribution to as high as 80 percent in 2021," he said. The financial sector posted a gain of 15 percent in 2014, while tourism continued to grow with some 20 million tourists visiting the country, he said.
The fourth largest OPEC supplier was hit hard by the global financial crisis, strongly dampening economic growth which averaged just 1.5 percent between 2007 and 2011.