Abu Dhabi is set to invest heavily in infrastructure projects in the next five years as it seeks to diversify its economy away from its oil and gas sector.

Speaking at MEED’s Project Finance Conference on 29 January, Fahad Saeed al-Raqbani, director general of the Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development (ADCED), said the emirate is committed to increasing the non-oil share of its economy to 64 per cent, from the current level of 40 per cent, in 2030. He reaffirmed the government’s recent pledge to invest AED330bn ($90bn) over the next five years to assist in the diversification efforts.

The $90bn will be invested in “building a number of infrastructural developments, including new homes, schools, roads and other vital infrastructure projects”, said Al-Raqbani. “The massive investment … includes some projects already under way, but many that are new,” he added.

The projects include building 24 new schools in Abu Dhabi and Al-Ain, housing projects for Emiratis and upgrading the emirate’s sewerage system, said Al-Raqbani.

He also highlighted several major transport infrastructure schemes that will help boost the Abu Dhabi’s economy, including the 380-kilometre Mafraq-Ghweifat highway and a further 246km of roads and 15 interchanges. The director general also reaffirmed the emirate’s investment in two industrial zones in the Western Region; one in Ruwais and one in Madinat Zayed.

However, the ADCED chief stressed that the emirate’s extensive efforts would not be achieved at the expense of the oil and gas sector.

“Abu Dhabi will not only remain a major oil exporting country during the next 20 years, but will also enhance its role and share in the world oil markets. Plans are under way to increase crude oil production to 3.5 million barrels per day by 2017 from its level at around 2.8 million barrels in 2012,” said Al-Raqbani.

“These plans involve the investment of tens of billions of dollars, during the five years from 2012, on key projects [to increase production at] large onshore and offshore oil fields.”