The third survey of Economic Activity at the DIFC for the year 2009, compiled by the centre’s Economics Unit, said the total value added of the DIFC ‘sub-economy’ was also equivalent to approximately 3.8% of Dubai’s estimated 2009 GDP.
Some 406 companies – equivalent to around 57.5% of the DIFC’s total of 706 registered businesses active in the centre at the end of 2009 – took part in the survey, which made use of an online portal, DIFCSTAT.
Financial sector share is three-quarters
The financial sector accounted for 73% of the total value added by the DIFC to the Dubai and UAE economies, with 24% contributed by business services, and 3% by public administration operations, the survey found.
The contribution of business services to the total grew by 25% in 2009 compared to the previous year, it also showed.
In a statement, Nasser Saidi, the DIFC Authority’s chief economist and head of external relations, did not specifically address the seemingly small contribution made by the DIFC to its emirate’s or country’s GDP. However, he did note that the economic recovery in 2009 had progressed slowly, and that the GCC countries had been hit simultaneously by a decline in equity prices and the credit crunch, which “hence weakening the financial sector contribution to growth” at the DIFC.
Other findings of the report, which may be downloaded here:
• Nominal GDP at the DIFC declined 2.4% between 2008 and 2009, “in line with the decline of financial activity in most major financial centres around the world due to current financial crisis”. This “slight drop” was described as being unevenly reflected by sector, with the financial sector GDP falling by almost 9% in 2009 and the public sector by more than 15%, while the business services sector’s contribution leapt by 25%.
• The financial activities sector accounted for 73.2% of the total value added in the DIFC, while business services accounted for 24.2%.
• Some 11,436 people are employed at the DIFC, 65% of whom are male, and 97% of whom are not UAE nationals. Financial intermediation is the centre’s largest employer, accounting for 52% of the workforce.
Another study, commissioned by the DIFC and conducted by McKinsey in the first quarter of 2010, found that for every dollar of revenue generated by the DIFC, the UAE economy benefited by approximately $17 in the form of residential rent, schools, services and the injection of disposable income into the UAE economy, the DIFC said.