The city of Dubai bets on its economic model to overcome crises, as a number of factors contribute to transforming challenges into opportunities. Over the past two decades, the world has faced four major economic crises, with an impact that varied from one country to another.
Those started with the global economic slowdown in 2000 and the events of September 11, 2001, the US mortgage crisis in 2008, the drop in oil prices in 2014, and the emerging coronavirus pandemic this year. The latter had painful repercussions on several vital sectors, such as tourism, trade, transportation, industry, technology and energy, dragging countries into severe financial and economic crises.
The economy of Dubai depends on a large number of sectors affected by those crises. However, in every problem, the emirate overlooking the Arabian Gulf was able overcome the repercussions and went to announce essential infrastructure projects.
In 2000, Dubai announced the establishment of the media city. In 2009-2010, in the middle of the US mortgage crisis, the emirate launched the Dubai Metro and Burj Khalifa, and in 2016, which witnessed a severe drop in oil prices that caused an economic slowdown, the water canal was inaugurated. This year, Dubai unveiled the Museum of the Future, one of the architectural icons in the emirate.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, said that the ability to overcome crises required dealing with them with high efficiency and skills, drawing lessons for the future and developing different scenarios and appropriate plans.
“This is the approach that the Emirate of Dubai adopts in the process of development and construction at various levels and within all sectors,” he underlined.
In this regard, he emphasized the importance to invest in high-quality infrastructure and qualified human energies as one of the most important components of preparing for the future.
The Crown Prince attributed Dubai’s ability to overcome economic crises - which it has proven on various occasions - to a set of factors, foremost of which is its infrastructure that ranks among the best in the world, both in the field of advanced technology and communications, as well as air and sea ports and a state-of-the-art roads network.
Dubai is managed as a major corporation, he noted. This is also one of the most important factors for its success. The emirate relies on consolidating partnership with the private sector and creating a supportive environment for investments, skills, minds and creative ideas.
It also enables small companies to grow their businesses and flourish, the crown prince told Asharq Al-Awsat.
He stressed that the government of the emirate stood firmly by the private sector at all times and worked to develop favorable legislative and regulatory frameworks, never hesitating to take steps that enable it to overcome any difficulties.
He said this was evident in the economic support packages provided by the government under the directives of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, for a number of economic sectors affected by the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic, which amounted to 6.8 billion dirhams ($1.8 billion), with the aim of easing financial burdens and helping companies overcome this exceptional situation.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum explained that Dubai and its government believe that crises, despite the difficulties they bring, could represent opportunities.
“However, with will and positive creative thinking, we can discover opportunities. Perhaps the last global crisis was the best evidence, as the world witnessed a great boom in e-commerce activities that accompanied the closures and precautionary measures imposed by most countries of the world,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The Crown Prince revealed that the emirate was proceeding with the implementation of the Dubai Paperless Strategy for a full digital transformation into a smart environment.
“This enabled it to continue working during the lockdown period at the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis. Services and businesses were not affected by the preventive measures, thanks to the strong technological infrastructure that allowed the continuity of business from outside the workplace in all parts of Dubai,” he underlined.
Sheikh Hamdan stressed that no challenges, whatever their size, could prevent Dubai from achieving its future vision and ambitions.
No circumstances can make the emirate abandon its development plans and projects, through which it aims to serve its community, ensure the happiness of its residents and enhance its position as a preferred destination for money, business and tourism, a hub for global trade, and a major connection point, he concluded.