The contribution of the Western Region (Al-Gharbia) to the wider economy of Abu Dhabi is set to grow significantly, according to Mohammed Omar Abdulla, undersecretary at the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (Added).

“Al-Gharbia has always been, and will continue to be, a key contributor to the economy of Abu Dhabi,” said Abdulla, speaking at the Al-Gharbia Development Forum in Abu Dhabi on 27 May. “Despite having less than 11 per cent of the population of the UAE living in Al-Gharbia, it contributes more than 40 per cent of the energy more than 90 per cent of Abu Dhabi’s production of oil and gas.”

He added that Al-Gharbia has the biggest reserves of oil and gas in Abu Dhabi and will be home to the UAE’s first Nuclear Power Plant. As a result, Abdulla says the region has the potential to “expand its contribution to the GDP [gross domestic product) of the UAE and Abu Dhabi and become a leader in the economic diversification of the country”.

The development of the Etihad Rail project, which will link Al-Gharbia to the rest of the UAE and connect to the wider GCC rail project, will further encourage connectivity to the region. According to Abdulla, Etihad Rail will “create a platform for SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises] and big companies to carry out business in the Western Region, and allow the government to launch other incentive packages for SMEs and other business” to establish themselves in the Western Region”.