Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid reflects on ‘unprecedented’ UAE property boom

The UAE’s foreign trade hit “historic” levels last year and it is seeing “unprecedented” demand for property, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, said on Monday after a cabinet meeting in Abu Dhabi.

He said foreign trade recorded 17 per cent growth in 2022, reaching more than Dh2.2 trillion ($600bn).

“Our foreign trade is accelerating and our international economic relations are growing,” Sheikh Mohammed said on Twitter.

“The investment in tourism and demand for UAE real estate is achieving unprecedented numbers and the UAE government will continue to provide the best environment for businessmen who accompany us on the historical growth journey of the UAE.”

The UAE’s growth in foreign trade was significantly higher than the World Trade Organisation’s 3.5 per cent growth forecast for global trade.

Figures have been significantly boosted by the signing of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (Cepa) between the UAE and India in May.

Officials said in January that bilateral trade between the two countries has increased 30 per cent in the eight months since the agreement was implemented.

The UAE’s property market — Dubai in particular — has experienced record growth with the value of deals in emirate reaching a new high of Dh528 billion in 2022.

Described as “exceptional” by Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, the value of transactions was up 76.5 per cent annually, while the number of transactions, at 122,658, rose 44.7 per cent year-on-year.

In Abu Dhabi, the total volume of transactions increased 38.5 per cent in 2022, with the luxury sector seeing the most significant price increases, according to a report by property portals Bayut and Dubizzle.

New AI study

In the tech sector, Sheikh Mohammed said the cabinet has approved plans for a study that will look into how the UAE can benefit from new artificial intelligence technologies such as ChatGPT and its future effects on education, health, media and other sectors.

The study will assess “how the government will deal positively and safely with these technologies”, he said.

Created by San Francisco-based OpenAI, which was co-founded by Elon Musk, ChatGPT is a programme that comes up with human-like responses to prompts in seconds, based on information publicly available on the internet.

Although it has impressed many with its abilities, it has also raised concerns, particularly in the education sector, where students could potentially use it to submit work which is not theirs.

Space fund approval

Sheikh Mohammed said the cabinet approved plans to establish a National Space Fund, which he said will provide education and training opportunities and encourage companies to build space projects in the UAE.

“Today, we approved the executive decisions to establish the National Space Fund, which aims to support the implementation of our ambitious national projects in the field of space, build the capacities and competencies of our young men and women in this sector and attract the best specialised companies to build their space projects from the UAE,” he said.

In April, the deputy director general of the UAE Space Agency, Ibrahim Al Qasim, announced plans to establish the Dh3 billion National Space Fund to invest in the private space sector to grow the country’s capabilities in space.

It will be used to develop a series of highly accurate satellites to improve forecasting and monitor climate change.

The fund will encourage partnerships between international and local enterprises, providing them with incentives as a part of the UAE Space Agency’s Space Economic Zones Programme.

The cabinet also approved assigning the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment to co-ordinate all government efforts in the country in preparation for hosting the global Cop28 climate event, which will take place at Expo City Dubai in November.

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