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Dubai: Learning from experience – Leading by example

Lal Bhatia/Viewpoint/Dubai
Filed on April 10, 2021
A general view of the downtown. Dubai’s economy is dependent on business, tourism, finance, and real estate, which means that losing its reputation as an investment destination is not ideal for the country. — Reuters file

Dubai led the way in making apt decisions to reopen the economy through situation-specific solutions which continue to be the way forward and funds investor confidence in the UAE


It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change – Charles Darwin.

The UAE is a young country formed only 50 years ago. In a few years, Dubai became the World’s favourite cosmopolitan location offering golden beaches, ample sun, and the opportunity to have a birthday message projected on the tallest building in the World…if you fancy that in the mix.

The Emirate earned global attention for other reasons too. Its capacity to navigate through unprecedented circumstances and bounce back with tenacity has not gone unnoticed by the developed and developing countries of the world.

Let’s look at 2008 when every business and individual succumbed to one of the worst recessions after the Great Depression in 1930. Dubai made headlines again, this time however, it was not another record-breaking structure or installation. It was for being one of the most-hit cities in the World — the ripple effect of the collapse of the US market combined with local real estate crash.

Mass layoffs by companies, unpaid debts mounting, jobless executives leaving the country, construction projects abandoned were constantly reported in local and global news. The global financial crisis of 2008 was a behemoth created by flaws in the financial system and countries around the world had to face it heads on. Dubai did too without settling for excuses like being part of a young country or having limited resources.

Key growth drivers

Dubai’s economy is dependent on business, tourism, finance, and real estate, which means that losing its reputation as an investment destination is not ideal for the country. The UAE was committed to bringing positive sentiment back to the economy through merit-worthy decisions and actions and Dubai’s visionary leadership ensured that businesses had the confidence to continue operations without perishing in the crisis tide.

The monetary authority took steps to preserve liquidity in the economy and the efficient government here was able to start the recovery process at an early stage.

Gradually, with political stability, safety, no tax on income, great standard of living, cultural diversity, and a business-friendly environment - Dubai attracted skilled expatriates and investors which enabled it to loosen the grip of the real estate crisis combined with the global recession that had clouded its sun-kissed sky.

While the less informed are rather quick to bring 2008 into every conversation regarding Dubai’s and the opportunities it represents. What they don’t talk about enough is that fact that UAE is ranked amongst the top 20 countries in The World Bank’s 2020 Doing Business Report and it employs the most effective investor friendly legal frameworks to ensure all those investing in UAE can do so with the utmost confidence and security.

Regaining investors’ trust

By learning quickly from the recession experience and an adaptive approach, Dubai continued regaining the trust of investors.

Efforts have been ongoing to identify and rectify systemic inadequacies to ensure investors and business owners continue operations without being scathed by unprecedented occurrences and safeguarding their interests.

Last year, Dubai and the rest of the world witnessed yet another unforeseen crisis, COVID-19. Once again, businesses had to halt operations, and individuals across sectors were affected as the pandemic spread its reach.

Learning from past experiences and with an extraordinary solution-driven attitude, Dubai was quick to understand the distinction between the current health crisis and the financial crisis in 2008. Treating both the same way was not going to enable businesses or the country to bounce back.

Leading from the front

Dubai led the way in making apt decisions to reopen the economy through situation-specific solutions which continue to be the way forward and funds investor confidence in the UAE.

Dubai’s relaxed Covid-19 measures have been instrumental in some businesses moving their head offices or key operations here. The Government and Central Bank quickly announced multiple stimulus packages to reduce the impact of coronavirus on Dubai’s economy.

Understanding that real estate is integral in rebooting Dubai’s economy, Real Estate Regulatory Authority, or Rera, has set new rules to reinforce investor confidence, which has been in progress since the recession in 2008, as well as protect developers’ interests.

Recently, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched "Invest in Dubai" a portal that enables investors to obtain trade licenses and launch their business easily and within minutes and the Country announced a range of new visa options for professionals, entrepreneurs, and artists based in the region as well as executives looking to move here as the culture of working remotely becomes a norm worldwide.

These are just some of the ways how the Emirate is ensuring that it remains an agile, fresh and positive investment landscape for investors.

Yes, there are sceptics’ murmurs of the city being a bubble, but in reality Dubai and its leaders work diligently to ensure that its people, policies, and infrastructure reflect the commitment to steer ahead and let action and action alone speak.

Lal Bhatia, PhD, is the chairman of the Hilshaw Group. Views expressed are his own and do not reflect the newspaper’s policy.





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