Scheduled 90 bln projects in Abu Dhabi for 2013-2017

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The emirate of some 2 million people, which accounts for around 78 percent of overall fiscal spending in the UAE and is home to one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, does not publish its yearly budget plans and outcomes.

Abu Dhabi, traditionally more fiscally conservative than neighboring trade hub Dubai, postponed a number of development projects when it reviewed its economic strategy last year.

It is now proceeding with many of them, albeit at a slower pace. Last week it awarded a $653 million contract to build a branch of France’s Louvre museum, which it hopes will help to develop Abu Dhabi into a top tourist destination.

Government spending in Abu Dhabi, which makes up 65 percent of the UAE’s economic output, jumped 21 percent in 2011 to an estimated $86.2 billion, a report by the International Monetary Fund based on government figures showed in June 2012. Its revenues shot up 46 percent to $76.95 billion.

The UAE has not been hit by social unrest seen elsewhere in the Middle East since early 2011, but it has raised public spending along with its fellow oil exporters. It has a cradle-to-grave welfare system and its per capita income of nearly $49,000 in 2012 is one of the highest in the world.

Abu Dhabi’s economy was expected to grow 3.9 percent in 2012, lagging previous forecasts, but should pick up in the next few years helped by further diversification away from oil, the Department of Economic Development said in September.

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