Dubai, as a successful new financial centre, has inevitably been impacted by the global credit crunch, although somewhat later and not as severely as in Europe or America.
Since the collapse of Lehman Brothers Investment bank in the US last year, the world economy has undoubtedly been in a mess and there has been a significant economic contraction that has affected business and consumer confidence.
That there are financial problems, as in New York or London, is clear – but there is no doubt that the Dubai government of HM Sheikh Mohammed will find the necessary solutions with its international partners. The country has supreme confidence in this.
The last few days has, however, drawn some media distortion from certain journalists who are always willing to ‘invent’ a catastrophe, where none exists. Some of the world’s press, may have jumped on Dubai’s financial challenges, and in doing so, have ignored many of the facts – ten of the more obvious being:
- The financial crisis and economic turndown are global phenomena
- Arguably, both the UAE, and Dubai in particular, have fared no differently than other financial centres – possibly better.
- There is an element of schadenfreude in a proportion of press comment
- Dubai has proved itself to be a centre of excellence and achievement in many fields, over the past decade.
- Its architectural innovation and engineering ingenuity, are the envy of the world
- The tallest, inhabited building anywhere on the planet, the Burj Dubai, at over 800m tall, is a monument to the most advanced civil engineering technology in the world and a triumph of unsurpassed architectural know-how
- Hotel accommodation and hospitality accommodation is of such a high standard that it is unrivalled in New York, Paris or London
- The crime rate in the UAE is, compared to Europe or America, non-existent
- Emirates Airline offers the most advanced flying experience anywhere in the world
- Hospitals and medical services in Dubai are of a world-class standard and attract eminent specialists from around the globe
To try to evaluate Dubai against European or American standards, is problematical. The Emirate of Dubai is an autocracy than runs and has run extremely successfully. Government policies have been some of the most far-sighted of any country, building an unparalleled infrastructure in a timescale that has astonished other nations with its attention to detail and excellence of design.
I, myself, have advised many senior management teams in Dubai, and the UAE, for over five years. Having worked all over the globe, in Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Asia in a period spanning twenty years – I am today, extremely proud of being associated with the extraordinary achievements of the Dubai government of HM Sheikh Mohammed.
Dealing on a professional basis with CEOs and executives throughout UAE’s industry and the professions, I am constantly impressed with the level of higher education (the number of MBAs and Doctorates is extraordinary), and the pride that Emiratis and expatriates take in their achievements.
Over the past decade, millions have come to Dubai from every continent on the planet – many via Emirates Airlines – to see for themselves a true example, the only example, of 21st century architecture and engineering – all within a crime-free environment. Most visitors are hugely impressed.
Dubai will survive – leaner but stronger, and will continue to be an exemplar to the world of how to apply modern technology to provide good living. [Reproduced with the kind permission of Gulf News]
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