Sharjah Bets on Private Sector for Economic Growth Engine

Sharjah, one of the United Arab Emirates' seven emirates, is poised for a period of economic expansion driven by a thriving private sector, according to a recent assessment by S&P Global Ratings. The rating agency predicts a steady increase in Sharjah's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) averaging 2. 8% over the next four years, from 2024 to 2027. This growth comes on the heels of a strong performance in 2023, where Sharjah's GDP witnessed a robust real growth of 4. 6%.

Analysts credit the private sector's dynamism as the key factor propelling Sharjah's economic trajectory. The manufacturing, construction, transport, and trade sectors are expected to be the primary contributors to this growth spurt. The agency forecasts a positive trend in these sectors, with growth projections of 2. 5% in 2024, rising to 2. 7% in 2025, and further accelerating to 3. 0% in both 2026 and 2027.

Sharjah's economic diversification, particularly its move away from a heavy reliance on hydrocarbon exports, positions it well for sustainable growth. This is underscored by S&P's observation that the emirate's GDP per capita is expected to rise steadily, reaching an estimated $22, 000 in 2024 and climbing to $25, 000 by 2027.

Furthermore, Sharjah's growing population is another positive indicator. The 2022 census revealed a significant population increase of nearly 30% compared to 2015 figures. This expanding demographic can potentially translate into a larger workforce and contribute to the emirate's overall productive capacity.

S&P's positive outlook on Sharjah's economic future aligns with the emirate's strategic vision of fostering a robust and diversified economy. By empowering the private sector and investing in key industries, Sharjah is well on its way to achieving sustainable economic growth in the coming years. This growth is likely to improve the quality of life for its residents and solidify Sharjah's position as a key player in the UAE's dynamic economic landscape.

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