As oil prices continue to wallow at lows not seen for more than decade, petroleum exporting countries in the Middle East are looking to reform their economies so that they can weather the shock of far lower oil revenues – and prepare for a future after fossil fuels.
Oil prices rose as much as 7 percent on Friday to above $31 in their largest weekly rally in three months, as a cold front sweeping the U.S. and Europe supported prices. But that's cold comfort for the oil producers, however, which have seen prices fall from $114 a barrel in June 2014 to current levels. As such, the question of diversifying traditionally-oil based economies and reducing the reliance on oil has become a key issue in the Middle East.
Suhail Bin Mohammed Al Mazrouei, energy minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) told CNBC on Friday that the Emirates were moving away from its dependence on oil.
"In the UAE we are diversifying the sources of energy…and also we are diversifying the sources of income. We are developing our economy, and year on year we are seeing that the non-oil economy's contribution is growing," he told CNBC on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.