Gas Week

EWN Publishing

Dubai’s staggering construction boom continues; seeks to be future link for Asia, US, Europe

Posted by gasweek on 26 September, 2007

To see Dubai for the first time was to be confronted with a staggering construction boom that in its scope and ambition dwarfed anything the world has seen for decades, reported The Sydney Morning Herald (22/9/2007, p.44). Biggest and boldest: Seemingly out of nowhere, this tiny emirate on the Persian Gulf decided to force its way into the ranks of the world’s great business and tourism centres by building bigger than anyone dreamed possible. The city’s pursuit of the biggest and boldest was a deliberate strategy put in place by its ruler, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al­ Maktoum, whose 20-storey image adorned downtown buildings.

Not just oil: Dubai joined six other emirates to form the United Arab Emirates in 1971. Then Dubai was awash with oil money from reserves dis­covered in the late 1960s but the state had nowhere near the resource potential of its neighbours, so it pursued a different path, aiming to become the financial and trading centre of the Arab world. Today, oil revenues made up less than 5 per cent of the economy. The majority of the 1.4 million people in Dubai were from elsewhere. Most were brought in to work on the more than 5,000 construction sites, mainly from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and they did not live in the luxury that surrounded them, but in cramped communal quarters. Others were Western expatriates who worked in finance or property development, or in the burgeon­ing and profitable health-care sector.

Seeks world-hub status: As China and India emerged as the new centres of the global economy, Dubai has, by its own outsized ambition, tried to build itself into the hub that will link Asia with North America and Europe.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 22/9/2007, p. 44

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