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Dubai to focus on Islamic economy and Expo 2020 in 2014

Hamburg: Dubai’s ambitions of becoming the capital of the Islamic economy and Expo 2020 will be the focus for Dubai in the future, Hamad Bu Amim, president and CEO of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), said.

Bu Amim was speaking at the 4th Dubai-Hamburg business forum on Wednesday.

According to him, Dubai will focus this year on developing its core sectors, such as food and beverage , finance, travel, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, clothing, media and recreation.

The Islamic tourism sector is expected to grow from $137 billion to $284 billion over the next five years, while the halal food sector is forecast to grow from $1.008 billion to $2.5 billion over the same period of time, according to Buamim.

“These are untapped opportunities that Dubai sees itself wanting to become the hub [of],” he said.

The emirate’s economy is poised for further growth this year. GDP is estimated to grow by 5 per cent, after rising 4.9 per cent in 2013, according to Dubai Chamber.

Trade contributed 30 per cent of the emirate’s GDP last year, Dubai Chamber estimates show. It stood at an estimated $380 billion in 2013, up 10 per cent over the previous year.

According to Hisham Al Shirawi, vice-chairman of DCCI, Dubai should be promoted further in Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and South Africa.

Meanwhile, Dubai is getting ready to host Expo 2020, a global exhibition which it won the right to host last year.

The emirate is investing Dh33 billion to develop the infrastructure needed for the Expo, which is expected to attract 25 million visitors.

Bu Amim told Gulf News he expects Dubai World Central (DWC), the Expo’s site, to take shape starting from 2016. Hotel chains have already expressed interest in opening properties at the site.

The Expo is expected to boost the economy by between 1 and 2 per cent from 2016 to 2020 and create 277,000 jobs, according to Dubai Chamber data.

Hans-Jorg Schmidt-Trenz, CEO of Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, said that German businesses are interested in investing in the Expo’s infrastructure.