From fishing village to futuristic metropolis: Dubai’s remarkable transformation

From www.weforum.org

At over 1000m tall, the rocket-shaped Dubai Creek Tower will be the world’s tallest building when it’s completed, stealing the crown from one of the city’s other mega structures, the Burj Khalifa, just down the road.

Showy and opulent, this latest addition to the Dubai skyline is typical of the city that a few decades back was little more than a fishing village.

Built on the back of an oil and real-estate boom, Dubai is now recognized as the globalized financial capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE); a hub for trade, tourism and banking.

Reaching for the sky, the city-state is teeming with glittering infrastructure. It has become synonymous with colossal projects including man-made islands and the world’s largest natural flower gardentallest ferris wheel and most luxurious hotel.

Built on oil

Since Dubai started to diversify its economy in the 1970s it has grown more quickly than many of its neighbours. Easily accessible from around the world, the population rocketed in the decades that followed, largely driven by foreign migrants

The UAE capital – and by far the wealthiest emirate – Abu Dhabi has also seen a population boom in the last 50 years. But there is a marked difference between the UAE’s two most successful emirates – Abu Dhabi still relies on oil for much of its wealth. Today less than 1% of Dubai’s GDP is from oil – at one time it was over half.

By 2050 Dubai aims to get almost half of its energy from renewable sources. That said, Dubai is also building a giant coal power plant – the first in the UAE.

A slowing economy

Behind the prosperity on display, Dubai’s economy has not been performing well in recent years. Property prices have been falling, construction projects are on hold, the number of white collar jobs available is faltering and economic growth is slowing.

Despite the diversification of the economy, many of Dubai’s current problems are linked to the 2015 drop in oil prices.

And Dubai is certainly not alone in recognizing the need to avoid over-dependence on oil.

Abu Dhabi and the other emirates are also making efforts to diversify their economies, looking to grow their non-oil knowledge-based sectors.

The $13.6 billion Ghadan 21 reforms include a series of initiatives to attract investment and new business to Abu Dhabi from overseas. The government is offering loans and encouraging investment and ecotourism in some of its underdeveloped region.

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Elias Hakizimana

Elias Hakizimana, CEO&Founder of The Inspirer Ltd,(www.rwandainspirer.com) is a professional Rwandan Journalist with Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Communication, received from University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS) in 2014. He served various media houses in Rwanda including Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA) in 2013 and became passionate with English Online and Print Media Publications where he exercised his talent as a Freelance News Reporter for The New Times, The Independent, The Rwanda Focus, Panorama and more before he became a Self-Entrepreneur as the CEO and Founder of The Inspirer Limited in early 2017.

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