UAE’s future plans for renewable energy

The GDP of Gulf countries could more than double by 2050 if they adopt a green growth strategy. While their economies are expected to reach $6 trillion by 2050, investing in renewable energy could push that figure to $13 trillion.

Some Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have already started investing heavily in sustainability to prepare their economies for a future less dependent on fossil fuels.
For example, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is investing $40 billion in clean energy and plans to invest another $164 billion in the future. The UAE is particularly focused on hydrogen fuel, which produces almost no emissions.

Saudi Arabia, although investing less in renewable energy, is putting large amounts of money into green projects like Neom, a $500 billion mega-city that will be powered by renewable energy and promises to be a futuristic green city.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the GCC region has slightly declined in the past two years but has overall doubled in six years, from $15.5 billion in 2017 to $37.1 billion last year. The UAE received over 61% of the total FDI inflow into the region, being seen as the leader in development.

Regional director of the World Bank Issam Abou Sleiman, for the MENA region, said, “GCC countries can build stronger, more sustainable economies that create good jobs for their youth while protecting the planet.”

To achieve this significant GDP growth from sustainable development, GCC countries need to speed up their transition away from fossil fuels. This includes creating strong regulatory frameworks and investing more in sustainability research and development.
Habiba Al-Marashi, co-founder and chairperson of the Emirates Environmental Group and board member of the global investors for Sustainable Development Alliance, emphasized the critical role of comprehensive economic research, exemplified by the Gulf Investment Report 2023, in tracking and understanding the region’s growth and development. In 2022, the UAE led the region for FDI, accounting for 61.24 percent of the total inflow into the GCC. It also secured the fourth global ranking in greenfield investment projects, recording 997 such projects so far this year, according to the World Investment Report 2023.

Al-Marashi underscored the UAE’s significant investments in clean and green energy, along with environmental sustainability, which reflects its leadership role in these essential areas. Across the GCC, countries have been actively revising their investment policies to attract foreign investors.