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The UAE vs. New Zealand

A recent article suggested the UAE had a lot to learn from that tiny island off Australia, New Zealand. Oceans apart and at opposite ends of the economic spectrum, Kipp put these two countries against each other in this week’s Brand to Brand.


GDP: $301.9 billion (2010 est.) |  GDP - real growth rate: 3.2% (2010 est.) |

GDP - composition by sector (2010 est.): Agriculture: 0.9%; Industry: 51.5%; Services: 47.6%;

Public debt: 44.6% of GDP (2010 est.) | Debt - external: $122.7 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

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GDP: $140.4 billion (2010 est.) | GDP - real growth rate: 1.5% (2010 est.)

GDP - composition by sector (2010 est.): Agriculture: 4.6%; Industry: 24%; Services: 71.4%

Public debt: 25.5% of GDP (2010 est.) | Debt - external: $64.33 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

With the population of New Zealand roughly half of the UAE, on most of accounts the two countries are on the same par in terms of the ratios of its GDP and real growth rate per capita. At this level, New Zealand wins out with a lower external and public debt. Could this mean better budgeters down under?

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Exports: $174 billion (2009 est.) | Export goods (2008):  Crude Oil, Natural Gas, Re-exports, Dried Fish, Dates| Main export partners:  Japan 26.5%, South Korea 10.9%, India 10.7%, Iran 7.5%, Thailand 6.1%, Pakistan 4.7%

Imports: $141 billion (2009 est.) | Import goods: Machinery and Transport Equipment, Chemicals, Food | Main import partners (2008):  China 12.9%, India 12%, United States 8.6%, Japan 6%, Turkey 4.4%, Italy 4.2%

The UAE is undeniably well suited as a trading post, placed centrally in between emerging and developed markets. And the country has taken full opportunity of its position. New Zealand on the other hand is less blessed in the geography department, stowed away at the corner of the globe.

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Exports: $26.25 billion (2009 est.) | Export goods: dairy products, meat, wood and wood products, fish, machinery | Main export partners (2008): Australia (23.2%), United States (10.1%), Japan (8.4%), China (5.9%)

Imports: $24.29 billion (2009 est.) | Import goods: machinery and equipment, vehicles and aircraft, petroleum, electronics, textiles, plastics | Main import partners (2008):  Australia (18.1%), China (13.2%), United States (9.5%), Japan (8.3%), Singapore (4.7%), Malaysia (4.4%), Germany (4.3%)

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Petroleum and Petrochemicals, Fishing, Aluminum, Cement, Fertilisers, Commercial Ship Repair, Construction Materials, Boat Building, Handicrafts, Textiles

At the core of each country’s basic industries, Kipp finds it is difficult to compare industries shoulder-to-shoulder given that each major industry has its own merit. We’re giving this one equal nils. Fair enough, we think, seeing as neither country has been able to develop an industry that is solely their own, globally recognised as a ‘Made in xxx’ product.

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Food Processing, Wood and Paper Products, Textiles, Machinery, Equipment, Banking and Insurance, Mining

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In 2009, 40.90 million passengers passed through Dubai International Airport with over 6.10 million guests staying in Dubai's hotels. The statistics show that one in every 8.5% of the job is associated with the tourism. Major tourist attractions here include shopping, night life, beaches and the luxurious lifestyle. Tourism is the third largest sector of the UAE; it helps contribute to approximately 6% of the GDP, which is US$23 billion.

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As this article in The National states, tourism is New Zealand’s ‘biggest export earner’ and directly contributes US$6.5bn (Dh23.8bn), or 3.8 per cent, to its GDP. Although the total spent by visitors dipped 6 per in the year to March, to NZ$5.5 billion (Dh16.81bn), New Zealand’s concoction of agriculture, aboriginal culture and natural beauty continues to attract tourists.

With reports of an average 23 days that tourists spend to experience New Zealand, it’s hard not to give our vote to New Zealand on this one. Compared to Dubai’s three-day tourist stay average, that’s a mammoth achievement.

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The UAE ranked 28 on the Future Brand 2010 Country Index. The index ranks countries on the following five factors: Tourism, Heritage and Culture, Good for Business, Quality of Life and Value System.

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New Zealand set itself apart when it was ranked 3 on the Future Brand 2010 list—a direct result, no doubt of the government attempt to liberalise the economy

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  1. nick on August 17, 2011 4:44 pm

    a better comparison would perhaps be UAE vs. Singapore?

  2. Donna Whittemore on November 2, 2011 12:11 am

    Firstly, Although this article puts NZ on top please do not insult New Zealand by saying it is a TINY ISLAND OFF AUSTRALIA we are a very proud
    country with no relation to Australia whatsoever. Secondly, please have respect to our people we are not classified as aboriginals but as Maori. I lived in the UAE and I am here to tell you that there is no comparison to which country is the better. If we want to talk ÍSLANDS’ then perhaps we need to look at the debarcle the UAE created for their “WORLD” . Dubai is no longer the glamorous tourist destination it proclaims we have all moved out and onwards.


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