About Dubai

Dubai stands as a prominent financial and commercial hub, firmly securing its place among the world's rapidly evolving and cosmopolitan cities. As one of the seven emirates comprising the United Arab Emirates, Dubai has established itself as a pivotal player on the global stage.

Situated on the southwest corner of the Arabian Gulf, Dubai spans an area of 4,114 square kilometers, making it the second-largest city in the United Arab Emirates. This strategic location has enabled Dubai to become a key world, trade, commercial and tourism hub.

Dubai exemplifies a diverse and dynamic economic landscape; its GDP is diversified and falls into twenty economic categories, with over 95% being non-oil based.

Key facts about Dubai

Second Largest Emirate in the
UAE with a strategic
geographical positioning

Estimated Population of 3.65 million
in 2023 covers an area of 4,114 km2

Contributing 26% of the real
GDP of the UAE in 2022, driving the
UAE's GDP diversification away
from oil and gas

Real GDP of $ 113 billion USD in
2022, with a growth of 4.4%.

Dubai Infrastructure

Highly Developed Surface Infrastructure:

With a vision of safe and smooth transport across the Emirate, Dubai aims to create integrated networks connecting transportation and urban planning.

Length of roads has increased to 18.7 km as of 2022, with 38% increase since 2016

Metro passenger trips have increased to 225 million passengers as of 2022, 18% increase since 2016.

337 million passengers travelled on public transportation in H1 2023, 11% increase from the same period last year.

Leading Aviation Infrastructure Connecting the East to the World:

Dubai airports were a strategic area of focus in the Dubai Strategic Plan 2020 and a focus on succeeding Dubai Strategic Plan 2030.

# 1

in international Passenger
traffic since 2015

+31.7% from 2022

Or 87 million passengers
in 2023.

126 million

capacity through two
strategically positioned
airports.

Leading Global Trade Enabler

Gateway hub that enables trade across regions and beyond.
Jebel Ali Port

Largest Port in the
Middle East with 14.0 mn TEU shipping
container volume handled (2022)

Rashid Port

The leading cruise tourist
destination in the Middle East

DP World

The world’s largest container
terminal operator.

Reliable Power and Water Utilities:
An exclusive supplier of electricity and water, 82% owned by the Government of Dubai, through the Dubai Investment Fund.
#1

Global ranking for the third
consecutive year with a 100% score in
DEWs, all getting electricity indicators
as per the World Bank 2020 report.

35% Capacity Buffer

with a production capacity of 14.5
gigawatts and a peak demand of 9.5
gigawatts

16% is the Clean Energy

share in Dubai’s energy mix as of
August 2023.

Dubai Clean Energy Strategy

targets 100% clean energy by 2050

Population

The population of Dubai has grown significantly since 1985, reflecting an influx of foreign labor, principally from Asia, as the Emirate has developed. The following table illustrates this growth since 2005 for the city of Dubai:

Year 2005 2010 2015 2020 2022 2023
Total Population
(in million)
1.3 1.9 2.4 3.4 3.5 3.6
Growth - 46% 26% 42% 3% 3%
Year Total Population
(in million)
Growth
2005 1.3 -
2010 1.9 46%
2015 2.4 26%
2020 3.4 42%
2022 3.5 3%
2023 3.6 3%

Dubai’s Strategy and Initiatives

Since the establishment of the UAE in 1971, Dubai has developed its status as a major city, enhancing the well-being of its people and creating an environment that attracts businesses and individuals. To support, maintain, and develop this status, the Government intends to focus on:

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Achieving comprehensive development and building human resources
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Promoting economic development and government modernization
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Sustaining growth and prosperity
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Protecting UAE nationals’ interests, the public interest and well being
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Providing an environment conducive for growth and prosperity in all sectors

In March 2021, the Ruler of Dubai announced the launch of the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan, which outlines Dubai’s development framework for sustainable urban development over the next 20 years. The Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan was intended to align with the We the UAE Vision 2031, a national development plan launched by the UAE Federal Government in 2022. The central focus of the Dubai 2040 Urban Master is to promote happiness and enhance the quality of life for all people in Dubai. As part of this aim, the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan intends to achieve the following by 2040:

Green and recreational spaces will double in size
Nature reserves and rural natural areas will constitute 60% of the emirate’s total area
Several green corridors will be established to link the service areas, residential areas and workplaces
The movement of
pedestrians, bicycles, and
sustainable mobility
means across the city will
be facilitated
Land area for hotels and tourist activities will increase by 134% and for commercial activities, it will increase to 168 square kilometers
Land area for education and health facilities will
increase by 25%
The length of public beaches will increase by
400%

In January 2023, the Ruler of Dubai announced the launch of the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33), which outlines Dubai’s goal to double the size of its economy over the next decade and consolidate its position among the top three global cities.

The objectives of D33 are to achieve the following by 2033:

Increase foreign trade for goods and
services to

AED 25.6 trillion

Increase foreign direct investment
to reach a total of

AED 650 billion

Increase
government expenditures to

AED 700 billion

Increase
private sector investments to

AED 1 trillion

Increase the value of domestic
demand for goods and services to

AED 3 trillion

Generate an annual contribution from
digital transformation projects to
Dubai's economy

AED 100 billion

The first set of transformational projects under D33 include:

Doubling the size of Dubai's foreign trade and adding 400 cities to Dubai's foreign trade map

Launching Dubai's plan for green and sustainable manufacturing

Launching Dubai's Future Economic Corridors 2033 with Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia

Launching a scale-up programme for 30 companies aiming to become global unicorns in new economic sectors

Integrating 65,000 young Emiratis into the job market

Launching a “Dubai Traders” project to empower the next generation of traders in key sectors

Launching Dubai's unified licence as a unique commercial identity for all companies all over Dubai

Launching “Sandbox Dubai” to allow testing and commercialization of new technologies and making Dubai a major innovation hub

Launching a programme to attract the world's best universities, making Dubai a global pioneering hub for higher education

Developing an SME scale-up programmer by identifying 400 high-potential companies, supporting their capacity building, and supporting them to grow globally

Green and Sustainable Initiatives

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The Dubai government has launched various strategic initiatives and projects to enhance its economy, infrastructure, technology, sustainability, and overall quality of life for its residents and visitors. Recognizing the importance of sustainability and environmental conservation, Dubai has implemented several green initiatives to promote eco-friendly practices and reduce its ecological footprint.

Overview

The Investment Corporation of Dubai (‘ICD’) and Dubai Investment Fund (‘DIF’) are the two principal investment arms of the Government of Dubai. They manage diverse portfolios, including stocks, bonds, and other financial instruments, across various regions and sectors to achieve appropriate risk-adjusted returns and manage associated risks. In May 2006, ICD was capitalized with the transfer of certain investments under the Government’s portfolio from the Department of Finance - Investments Division. DIF was established in December 2023, without infringing upon the powers and jurisdictions granted to the ICD, to invest the Government’s funds, surpluses, and the general reserve locally and internationally.

Investment Corporation of Dubai

The Investment Corporation of Dubai (‘ICD’) is an investment entity of the Government and was incorporated on the 3rd of May 2006 pursuant to a decree of the Ruler of Dubai and mandated by such decree to, among other things, consolidate and manage the Government’s portfolio of companies and investments. A number of these portfolio assets are considered to be strategic investments that are essential platforms for the future growth and long-term success of Dubai. ICD contributes a portion of its profits towards the Government’s annual budget.

ICD’s Portfolio

ICD’s portfolio companies are selected from a variety of sectors to diversify risk and optimize returns. ICD’s role is to supervise the Government’s portfolio of investments in commercial activities and add value through the implementation of best practice corporate governance and invest in attractive opportunities to achieve appropriate risk-adjusted returns over the long-term.

Financial Performance

Portfolio Companies

Portfolio Companies

25%Transportation

Our Transportation Segment is primarily focused on the aviation industry, an area of key importance to the economy of Dubai.


Our portfolio companies Emirates, Dnata, Flydubai and DAE continue to consolidate their position as leaders in the global aviation sector amidst an extremely volatile and competitive landscape. The airlines and airport service components of this sector have been redefining the passenger experience by offering industry-leading ground support and in-flight experiences through innovation and increased collaboration. The aircraft leasing and financing components have grown, further strengthening Dubai's position as an aviation finance hub.

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Dubai Investment Fund

The Dubai Investment Fund (‘DIF’) is committed to actively contributing to the strategic priorities of the emirate and supporting endorsed public policies through effective investments in strategic and developmental projects. Its precedence is placed on prioritizing initiatives that promote Dubai's sustainable development, particularly in sectors such as the economy and society, while concurrently diversifying sources of income.

The Objectives of the Fund:

Developing government funds, surplus, and general reserves in accordance with the best sound and safe practices.

Enhancing the stability of the government's financial position by financing the government deficit and establishing resilient fiscal reserves that contribute to achieving long-term fiscal sustainability.

Actively participating in effectively executing investments in strategic and developmental projects, aligning with the highest professional standards and international best practices with an objective to elevate economic growth within the Emirate

Enhancing the government's capabilities in achieving sustainable development of the emirate by directing investments towards vital and sustainable sectors supporting economic and social development in the emirate.

Contribute to achieving the economic diversification of the emirate by investing government assets and funds in various sectors and industries both domestically and internationally.

Portfolio Companies

Infrastructure Sector

Infrastructure Sector

Salik Company PJSC

Salik Company P.J.S.C. ('Salik' or the 'Company') is a Public Joint Stock Company incorporated on 30 June 2022. The principal activities of the Company are, the operations and maintenance of the existing toll gates throughout Dubai, UAE, and for design and construction of new toll gates. Following the IPO dated The Fund continues to own 75.1% of the company following the IPO in September 2022.

Energy Sector

Energy Sector

Dubai Electricity And Water Authority PJSC

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) was formed in 1992 following the merger of Dubai Electricity Company and Dubai Water Department. Since its inception, DEWA has been the sole supplier of electricity and water in Dubai. DEWA generates, transmits and distributes electricity and is connected to the Emirates National Grid. While DEWA maintains an independent corporate status, it has historically been wholly owned by the Government, with the tariffs it establishes for electricity and water subject to government regulation. The Fund continues to own 82% of the company following the IPO in April 2022.

Transportation Sector

Transportation Sector

Dubai Taxi Company PJSC

Dubai Taxi Company PJSC (DTC) was established as a taxi company in 1994 and has since expanded to other related segments by leveraging the dominant market leadership and operational strengths. DTC offers an extensive range of transportation solutions across four key business lines, including taxi services, VIP limousine services, bus services, and last-mile delivery bike services. Given the size of DTC's fleet, coupled with its exclusivity in key locations, the Company's red-roofed taxis are nearly ubiquitous in key areas across Dubai. The Fund continues to own 75.01% of the company following the IPO in December 2023.

Logistics Sector

Logistics Sector

Dubai World Corporation

Dubai World is a holding company formed in 2006 pursuant to a decree issued by the Ruler of Dubai, operating through four segments: transport and logistics; dry docks and maritime; urban development; and investment and financial services. Dubai World holds shares in some of the world’s leading companies in their industries, including Economic Zones World FZE, Istithmar World, and DP World, one of the largest marine terminal operators in the world. As per the Law No. (25) of 2023, Dubai world is affiliated to the DIF but will retain the independent legal personality.

Dubai Economy

Dubai, an emirate in the United Arab Emirates (‘UAE’), has undergone a remarkable economic transformation over the past few decades, evolving from a traditional, oil-dependent economy to one that is diversified and dynamic. The emirate's economy is characterized by a robust mix of sectors, reflecting a deliberate strategy to reduce dependence on oil and create a sustainable and resilient economic foundation. Dubai has embarked on a strategic plan to diversify the economy, aiming to decrease reliance on oil revenues and foster growth in non-oil sectors.


Dubai's diversified economy, encompassing trade, tourism, business, real estate, and technology, has created a well-rounded and resilient economic ecosystem. This diversification strategy has not only mitigated the impact of oil price fluctuations but has also positioned Dubai as a global economic player with a diverse and sustainable GDP.

Overview of Dubai’s GDP

Overview of Economic Key Sectors

The Dubai Gross Domestic Product (‘GDP’) is driven by various key sectors that contribute to its prosperity and global significance. Dubai's economic success is a harmonious blend of these sectors, fostering resilience and sustainability. The interplay among these key sectors defines Dubai's economic narrative on the world stage. A concise overview of the key contributors to Dubai's GDP highlights its diverse economy.

Sectors Breakdown (2022)

Real Estate Activities and Construction
Transportation and storage
Financial and Insurance activities
Manufacturing
Wholesale and 
Retail Trade

Real Estate Activities and Construction

34.8

Real GDP


(in Billion AED)

Dubai's Real Estate and Construction sector is a dynamic force propelling the emirate's economic development. Renowned for its skyline, the sector is marked by iconic landmarks such as the Burj Khalifa and Palm Jumeirah. The emirate’s commitment to innovation in architecture and construction has positioned it as a global leader, attracting international attention. With continuous investments in luxurious developments and modern infrastructure, the Real Estate and Construction sector stands as a symbol of Dubai’s forward-looking vision.

Transportation and storage

48.4

Real GDP


(in Billion AED)

Strategically positioned, Dubai stands as a global trade and logistics hub, fueled by state-of-the-art ports and airports that make significant contributions to the emirate’s economy. Key assets such as Jebel Ali Port and Dubai International Airport, collectively establish Dubai as a prominent global transport hub. The logistics sector, particularly in Jebel Ali Free Zone, plays a crucial role in storage and distribution. Overall, this sector guarantees seamless connectivity to global markets, reinforcing Dubai's economic strength. Emirates Airlines and Dubai's aviation sector seamlessly connect continents and are instrumental in facilitating passenger and cargo transit.

Financial and Insurance activities

47.2

Real GDP

(in Billion AED)

Financial Services: The Dubai has also become a major international business and financial center, attracting multinational corporations, and fostering financial services including banking, asset management, and insurance sectors. This sector plays a vital role in connecting the Middle East with global financial markets and supports the region's economic growth.

Manufacturing

35.2

Real GDP


(in Billion AED)

Dubai's Manufacturing sector is a key driver of economic diversity and growth, anchored by industrial zones like Dubai Industrial City and Jebel Ali Free Zone. The sector's commitment to innovation enhances Dubai's global competitiveness.

Wholesale and 
Retail Trade

106.5

Real GDP


(in Billion AED)

Dubai's Wholesale and Retail Trade sector is a vibrant economic pillar, contributing significantly to the emirate's GDP. Renowned globally as a premier retail destination, Dubai offers diverse shopping experiences from luxurious malls to traditional markets. Districts like Downtown Dubai and events like the Dubai Shopping Festival attract a wide audience. The sector's growth is bolstered by Dubai's strategic location, facilitating efficient trade and supply chain activities. With a focus on innovation, luxury retail, and immersive shopping experiences, Dubai's Wholesale and Retail Trade sector epitomizes the emirate’s global prominence.

3.3%

(2022-2023)

Dubai's Consumer Price Index (‘CPI’) and inflation trends are uniquely shaped by factors such as oil price fluctuations, rapid urban development, and the diverse expatriate population. The emirate’s status as a global hub amplifies these influences. Policymakers in Dubai actively manage inflation, considering its impact on the cost of living and overall economic stability. This approach aligns with the emirate's commitment to sustaining economic growth and ensuring an attractive environment for residents and investors alike.

The job market in Dubai reflects the intricate dynamics of its diverse economy. Sectors such as hospitality and finance, known for their competitiveness, are significantly influenced by global economic conditions, which in turn impact unemployment rates. Dubai's commitment to innovation and economic diversification is noticeable, with emerging industries shaping its landscape. The government initiatives, particularly skill development programs, underscore concerted efforts aimed at addressing unemployment challenges and sustaining a resilient job market in the emirate.

2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
0.5% 0.46% 1.66% 0.91% 0.76%
2018 0.5%
2019 0.46%
2020 1.66%
2021 0.91%
2022 0.76%

Dubai's tourism sector is a cornerstone of the emirate's vibrant economy, attracting millions of visitors annually with iconic landmarks, luxury shopping, and world-class entertainment. Dubai has positioned itself as a global tourism hub boasting attractions like the Burj Khalifa, Palm Jumeirah, and the Dubai Mall, offering a diverse range of experiences. The emirate’s strategic location as a global transit hub enhances its appeal, making it a top choice for international travellers that contribute significantly to the emirate's economic success.

Year 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Visitors
(In Millions)
17.5 5.51 7.28 14.36 17.2
Growth YoY 10 ( 69 ) % 32 97 19
Year Visitors
(In Millions)
Growth YoY
2019 17.5 10
2020 5.51 ( 69 ) %
2021 7.28 32
2022 14.36 97
2023 17.2 19

For more details on the tourism data, kindly visit the Dubai Economy and Tourism Official website here

Dubai's direct foreign trade is a vital driver of its economic success, positioning the emirate as a global trading hub. With strategic ports like Jebel Ali facilitating efficient trade activities, Dubai's commitment to open markets and business-friendly policies attracts multinational corporations. Free zones, notably Jebel Ali Free Zone, play a key role in diversifying trade and fostering economic growth. This environment supports Dubai's position in global commerce, ensuring sustained economic prosperity.

Foreign Direct Investment and Freezones

Foreign Direct Investment and Freezones - Dropdown Icon

Dubai's Foreign Direct Investment (‘FDI’) and Free Zones serve as the backbone of its economic strategy, drawing global businesses and fostering economic diversification. The emirate's investor-friendly policies, coupled with strategically located free zones, establish an environment conducive to international commerce. These free zones, spanning diverse sectors like technology, logistics, and finance, entice multinational corporations with incentives such as tax exemptions and streamlined regulations, making Dubai a top choice. The emirate’s unwavering commitment to innovation and infrastructure development enhances its appeal for foreign investors seeking a dynamic and diversified business environment. Dubai's FDI and Free Zones, operating across various industries, play a pivotal role in shaping its economic landscape, driving growth, and reinforcing its status as a global business hub. Key enabling Free Zones include:

Dubai Medium Term Fiscal Framework

The Medium-Term Fiscal Framework (‘MTFF’) serves as a strategic blueprint for the Government's fiscal management over a three-year horizon. Beginning with macroeconomic assumptions, it sets clear targets for budget balances.

 

Dubai outlines planned expenditures and revenue expectations, allocating resources to sectors and projects. The MTFF incorporates a risk assessment to analyse economic uncertainties and allows policy adjustments based on changing conditions. It also includes monitoring mechanisms for ongoing evaluation. In essence, the MTFF enables the Government to balance short-term economic needs with long-term fiscal sustainability, fostering discipline, stability, and strategic planning for resilient fiscal policies.

Dubai Government Budget

The Government is organized into 30 major departments, each with specific responsibilities. The Government’s budget, prepared on a cash basis, consolidates the individual budgets of each department. However, it does not include Government Related Entities (‘GREs’) budget data. The Government’s budget principally incorporates revenues, recurrent expenditure development expenditure, Dubai’s contribution to the UAE Federal Government, interest costs, and domestic and foreign aid grants.

 

The Government’s budget preparation process is coordinated by the Department of Finance (‘DoF’) and typically commences in the second half of each calendar year when the individual departments are requested to submit their budgets. These budgets undergo review, negotiation, and agreement with each department before being consolidated by the DoF. Subsequently, the DoF submits the consolidated budget to the Supreme Fiscal Committee (‘SFC’) before it is finally approved by the Ruler of Dubai, ahead of its announcement in January of each year.

Budget 2024 details

The government's financial outlook for 2024 reflects an expected expansion in the Dubai economy, with a budgeted total revenue of AED 90.6 billion, showcasing a 31% surge compared to the budgeted figure for 2023. Simultaneously, the expected total expenditure for 2024 is set at AED 79.1 billion, reflecting a 17% increase over the budgeted expenditure in 2023. This results in an overall budget surplus of AED 6 billion, after the contribution to the public reserve, a significant improvement from the budgeted surplus of AED 1.5 billion in 2023.

Highlighting this positive trajectory, the following table provides a comprehensive overview of the government's actual revenues and expenditures for each year, spanning from 2018 to 2022 and encompassing as of September 2023:

Public Revenues

Dubai boasts a diverse revenue portfolio, divided into a and non- tax revenues. The Government’s tax revenues comprise customs duties, VAT, and income tax on profits earned by foreign banks operating in Dubai. The government's non-tax revenue streams are particularly robust, encompassing a range of fees, growing dividend income derived from GREs, and revenues generated from oil and gas operations. This broad mix adds a vibrant hue to Dubai's financial landscape.

 

The graph below delineates the classification of actual revenues for each year from 2018 to 2022 and encompassing as of September 2023

Public Expenditure

The Government expenditures principally comprise current and development expenditure and is allocated across various sectors, including infrastructure, social welfare, and public services to support economic development. Key areas of expenditure are:

  • Infrastructure Development: The Government invests heavily in infrastructure projects and transportation networks to support economic growth and enhance connectivity.
  • Education and Healthcare: Public funds are directed towards education and healthcare, with investments in schools, universities, hospitals, and healthcare services to improve residents' quality of life.
  • Safety and Security: Expenditure is allocated for maintaining security and law enforcement, ensuring the safety of residents and visitors through funding for police forces, emergency services, and other security measures.
  • Economic Development: Dubai focuses on economic diversification, allocating funds to stimulate growth, attract investments, and support businesses.
  • Tourism and Promotion: As a global tourist destination, public funds are used to promote tourism, enhance hospitality services, and organize events to attract visitors.

The graph below presents the classification of actual expenditures for each year spanning from 2018 to 2022 and encompassing as of September 2023

Public and Private Partnership

Public-Private Partnerships (‘PPPs’) play a pivotal role in providing Government with a diversified and sustainable source of capital for strategic infrastructure projects. As an alternative financing model PPPs enable the development of strategic infrastructure, such as transportation, healthcare, and utilities, without overweighing the public budget. The infusion of private capital not only accelerates project implementation but also promotes accountability and performance-based outcomes.

The Department of Finance (‘DoF’) is committed to enhancing public sector financial sustainability and promoting economic growth. The PPP Unit at DOF is responsible for formulating PPP policies, providing guidelines to authorities, approving business cases, and supporting projects throughout their lifecycle, from identification to monitoring and evaluation.

For more information, kindly contact the PPP unit at the email address PPPUnit@dof.gov.ae