“It’s not the end of the Arab dream, it just means the Arab dream will be taking a different course now and Dubai will not be the poster boy for it.”—Christopher Davidson
Christopher Davidson, author of Dubai: The Vulnerability of Success and Abu Dhabi: Oil and Beyond is perhaps uniquely qualified to talk about recent events in the region.
In a recent interview on The Boardroom Talk Podcast, Davidson talked about Abu Dhabi’s rescue of Dubai and what it might mean for the future of the region. The move, which Davidson says was welcomed by investors, strengthens the United Arab Emirate “brand” and hopefully should lead to a more transparency in Dubai’s governance and finances. Dubai’s prestige as a, if not the, crucial emirate in the region is probably now lost and replaced by the UAE as a whole with Dubai being less prominent.
The interviewer Alec Hogg concludes with some questions regarding the possible future of Dubai:
ALEC HOGG: So if we look ahead, it isn’t the end of the Arab dream…
CHRISTOPHER DAVIDSON: It’s not the end of the Arab dream, it just means the Arab dream will be taking a different course now and Dubai will not be the poster boy for it.
ALEC HOGG: And Sheikh Mohamed, his prestige in the region?
CHRISTOPHER DAVIDSON: Well his prestige is certainly taking a battering not least in the British press where he was hauled over the coals for the last few weeks when there was a worry that the British banks were going to lose out and taxpayers too. I don’t think too many people are too happy with them this is rather a sad end to a story of trying to build a post-oil economy but unfortunately, it’s building on sand.
ALEC HOGG: And if you look at Dubai as we said in our last interview, perhaps ten years hence… still be around but perhaps not as vibrant as it is today.
CHRISTOPHER DAVIDSON: Yes and I think Dubai will always be a very important port city and a very important thoroughfare with airport and trade and shipping, commercial sector because of its geography. It has a natural water inlet and all of the infrastructure, but I think it will end up becoming the uae’s main port city rather than this Hong Kong or Singapore like city/state…