A total of 480 projects were set out in the UAE in 2008, accounting for 50 per cent of all the project agreements signed over the course of the year throughout Middle East and North Africa, a leading official has announced.
Speaking at the Special Economic Zones Forum in Sharjah, the Ministry of Economy's director-general Mohammed Abdulaziz Al Shihhi said that total investment in the country during 2008 hit $35 billion, with the country's non-oil sectors putting in particularly strong performances.
The non-oil sector's contribution to total gross domestic product increased 62.1 per cent during the year, he announced.
"The approach followed by the wise leadership in the diversification of income sources and consolidation of non-oil economic sectors helped materialise the concept of free economic and industrial zones and developed their work in a modern way," he explained.
He said that this development framework could be traced back to the creation of the Jebel Ali Free Zone in Dubai in 1980, which has since been emulated with considerable success in other emirates.
This week, Ventures Middle East has also announced that the UAE is the largest single investor in public infrastructure in the whole of the Gulf Cooperation Council.