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UAE has ability to be world’s premier business capital

Staff Report
Filed on October 23, 2014

A wave of major new development and infrastructure projects ahead of Expo 2020 will position the UAE as the most compelling destination for businesses.

Dubai: A panel of influential players in the UAE’s real estate market have unanimously agreed that the country can fend off its global competitors to become the world’s premier business capital.

Steve Morgan was joined by Badr Al Gargawi, Dr Khaled Ahmed, Anita Mehra and Hazel Wong on the panel discussion during ‘The Global Real Estate Debate’ in Dubai on Tuesday. — Supplied photo

A wave of major new development and infrastructure projects ahead of Expo 2020 will position the UAE as the most compelling destination for businesses seeking a gateway to the wider Middle East and Africa through a base that is cost-effective, incredibly well-connected, and offers an attractive cosmopolitan lifestyle, they said.

The panelists addressed the topic “Can the UAE become the business capital of the world?”, as questions were posed to them directly from an audience of 150 high-profile people from the local real estate and business community.

Steve Morgan, chief executive of Cluttons Middle East, took part in the discussion and said: “The foundations of the UAE becoming a business capital of the world have been in place for almost 40 years now. Geographically, we are positioned perfectly as a business hub for Africa and the rest of the Middle East and with improved banking regulations and legal frameworks, the UAE can become the business capital of the world in the next 10 to 20 years.”

Morgan was joined on the panel by Anita Mehra, vice-president of marketing and corporate communications at Dubai Airports; Badr Al Gargawi, chief executive officer of development and planning at Tecom; Hazel Wong, executive director of WSW Architects and the architect of Emirates Towers; and Dr Khaled Ahmed of Economic Zones World.

They were the guests of honour at an exclusive event entitled “The Global Real Estate Debate”, hosted at the Capital Club in Dubai on Tuesday by Cluttons, the leading real estate adviser in the UAE, and Estates Gazette, the UK’s leading property magazine for more than 150 years.

Setting out the context for the debate, Dubai Eye’s Business Breakfast presenter, Richard Dean, explained how Dubai is a city that forms part of a second tier of global cities, only slightly behind the top tier cities of London and New York.

Dr Ahmed said: “The UAE’s commercial strategy including infrastructure and commerce is designed to support much more than just its own emirates; it has been strategically developed to cater for Africa, South Asia and the wider Middle East. Most of the Fortune 500 companies now have offices in the UAE, a sign that we truly are a global business hub.”

Highlighting the growth of the UAE’s infrastructure as a key driver for becoming a global destination, Mehra said: “There is a confidence in Dubai, which has established incredible infrastructure, and people are using it as a an international hub, as well as a destination for business and tourism. This year we’ll have 70 million passengers pass through Dubai airports, with 120 million by 2020, and 200 million passengers by 2030.”

A key outcome of the debate is the challenge the UAE faces to attract and retain human capital.

Al Gargawi said: “I was born with a passion for the UAE, which is instilled by our leadership. The next challenge for the UAE is how we move from attracting knowledge workers, to establishing locations that attract creative and innovative communities. We’re already beginning to do this through establishing Dubai Design District.”

Wong added: “Architecture has put Dubai and the UAE on the global map as, architecture is no longer a product, but a fashion. The vision of the leadership is a key driver.”

— business@khaleejtimes.com


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