Subdued oil prices prompted a trimmed federal budget for 2016 as the UAE, like other countries in the region, tightened its belt in response to falling hydrocarbons revenues. However, a sustained focus on economic diversification and targeted investment in Abu Dhabi’s key non-oil sectors in recent years means the emirate is well positioned to weather the storm. Looking forward, plans for future development are mapped out in Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, a comprehensive economic policy document that aims to reduce dependence on oil and gas, thereby creating a more sustainable knowledge-based economy for the emirate and its inhabitants. Aided by hydrocarbons reserves that are among the world’s largest and substantial financial resources, Abu Dhabi has built up a strong foundation to become a regional leader and an increasingly important global player in a wide variety of sectors, including oil and gas, financial services, health care, aviation and renewable energy.
This chapter contains an overview of the legal framework in which local and foreign investors operate including guidance for firms doing business in the emirate, advice for the establishment of a joint stock company and a rundown of the incentives provided by the emirate’s free zones.