Study shows SME share of Dubai GDP at 47%, workforce at 52.4%
Dubai SME, the agency of the Department of Economic Development, DED, in Dubai, mandated to develop the Small and Medium Enterprise, SME, sector, in conjunction with the Dubai Statistics Centre, released a new study on the local SME sector as part of Dubai SME Development Plan, SMDP, which is part of the Dubai Plan 2021.
The study was released in conjunction with the World SME Day, which was celebrated on June 27th this year.
Underlining the role and importance of the SME sector in the overall economy in Dubai, the study, which was initiated during the first quarter of 2018, showed that SMEs continue to create a significant number of job opportunities and add substantial value to the emirate’s economy. The SME contribution to Dubai’s economy rose from 40 percent in 2009 to 47 percent in 2016 while their contribution to job creation rose from 42 percent to 52.4 percent during the same period in spite of the slow global economic growth, the study showed.
Younger start-ups make up nearly 50 percent of the companies registered in Dubai and it validates the emirate’s appeal as a global centre for entrepreneurship, knowledge transfer and innovation, which also boasts of a state-of-the-art infrastructure and flexible legislative framework conducive to investment.
Commenting on the study, Sami Al Qamzi, Director-General of the DED, said that the SMEs in Dubai have demonstrated their ability to withstand regional as well as global instabilities and continue to march with confidence. He reiterated the DED’s commitment to enabling the local SMEs to adopt best international practices and strengthening their role in economic development in Dubai. Al Qamzi also stressed the need for clear policies that enable the SMEs to absorb rapid changes and grow sustainably thus reinforcing the emirate’s competitiveness.
Arif Obaid Al Muhairi, Director-General of the Dubai Statistics Centre, stressed the importance of monitoring and evaluating economic performance across all indicators periodically in order to provide a clear picture for decision makers. Referring to the joint initiative from the Dubai Statistics Centre and Dubai SME, Al Muhairi called for further studies and statistics on the importance of the SME sector and the SME development initiatives by Dubai and the UAE.
Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME, said, “The study confirms that our efforts over the past years have been fruitful and that the range of initiatives and policies Dubai SME has adopted are today being considered as global best practices by international organisations and institutions including the World Bank, United Nations, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.”
Al Janahi said Dubai SME will continue to launch innovative initiatives to accelerate enterprise growth and provide practical solutions to the challenges facing the SMEs, particularly innovative financing mechanisms, global start-up programmes that strengthen Dubai’s leading position as one of the best destinations for foreign investment regionally and globally that also supports transfer of knowledge and technology.
Al Janahi said that Dubai SME was among those organisations that recommended to the United Nations to launch a global day for SMEs in 2016 to highlight the importance of the sector and share best practices among policymakers across nations. Dubai SME will continue its march as we have the elements of continuity and leadership to consolidate our position on the global map, Al Janahi added.
The study adopted the official definition of SMEs in the UAE for the first time on a database in Dubai.
According to the UAE Ministry of Economy, SMEs are the key engines of the national economy and are identified as one of the most important strategic drivers to support productive sectors. More than 94 percent of the companies operating in the UAE are SMEs and together, they account for more than 86 percent of the total private sector workforce as well as more than 60 percent of the country’s current GDP, which is estimated to go up to 70 percent by 2021.