Abu Dhabi: Too fast, too curious
Abu Dhabi’s ambitious development plans are attracting investors worldwide. But Mishaal Al Gergawi asks if the emirate’s residents understand the consequences of drastic growth.
October 22, 2009 4:01 by Mishaal Al Gergawi
The capital’s projects will be successful without question. There is no doubt that the government has developed a clear vision with a firm plan of execution; the question I am posing is whether nationals and long term residents of Abu Dhabi comprehend the incredible transformation they’re about to witness, and if the Government of Abu Dhabi understands how hard it will be to take residents forward with its vision.
Consider the following: Abu Dhabi’s population stood at approximately 1.46 million in 2006 and is projected to reach 1.75 million in 2010, according to the Department of Planning and Economy. Meanwhile, the Abu Dhabi 2030 plan expects the population to grow to “3.1 million from the current baseline figure of 930,000 in 2007, while annual tourist visits and residential units are set to rise to 7.9 million and 686,000 from 1.8 million and 180,000 respectively.”
Furthermore, a World Health Organization report published in June claimed that the UAE’s birth rate halved from 4.4 to 2.3 children per woman, which suggests that when Abu Dhabi’s population increases, it won’t be due to an organic growth rate.
And finally, although there are no official statistics, the percentage of Emiratis in Abu Dhabi is estimated to be in the range of 15-20 percent; and if the Abu Dhabi 2030 population estimate is remotely accurate, the ratio of Emiratis to residents in the future will be somewhere in the realm of 10 percent.