Dynamic, forward-looking, innovative, entrepreneurial – descriptive tags which underline why so many foreign companies both large and small are attracted to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the Persian Gulf. And add to the mix an astute financial services sector always ready and willing to offer a raft of value-added services, ranging from the simple business banking account to the more complex payments and cash management services vital for the well-being of any profitable company.
Glitzy, glamorous Dubai, the largest city in the UAE, is an obvious magnet for the investor, the business entrepreneur and also the millions of tourists who visit every year. It’s not hard to understand why given the city’s penchant for massive infrastructure investment and spending over recent years. Now man-made islands, five-star hotels and gigantic shopping malls, not to mention the tallest man-made structure in the world, the incredible 2,716.5 foot Burj Khalifa, all add a wow-factor which few cities anywhere can match.
The Oxford Business Group (OBG), a global publishing, research and consultancy firm which publishes economic intelligence on the markets of the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America, says Dubai’s economy continued its post-crisis recovery, expanding by around 4.7 per cent in the second quarter of 2013. Much of this was down to growth across the rest of the UAE in a range of sectors, mainly trade, financial enterprises, transport and communications, real estate, construction and manufacturing.
Economic data showed non-oil sectors dominating the UAE’s GDP figures, with the share for trade at an estimated 28 per cent, 16 per cent for manufacturing, 14 per cent for financial enterprises, 13 per cent for real estate and 8 per cent for construction.
Dubai has witnessed a continued recovery in the real estate sector since the beginning of the year, where the average price per square metre of residential apartments increased by about 25 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2012. Like other important sectors in the emirate, the Dubai Financial Market also performed very well since the start of 2013; its General Index recorded a 12.7 per cent growth by the end of March, showing investors’ interest in the capital market.
The activities and events organised in the emirate have also contributed much to attracting the large number of tourists and visitors from various countries, with the Dubai Shopping Festival and Global Village, the region’s first cultural, entertainment, family and shopping destination, adding to the many festivals and exhibitions held throughout the year.
Indeed, rising demand and the recovering economy are driving growth in Dubai’s retail sector, with a sharp increase in new mall space suggesting that it is beginning to shake off the doldrums of the global economic crisis of 2009.
And with the economy rebounding, projects previously put on hold have been reactivated and new developments are being put into the pipeline. The flow through the development pipeline is expected to become stronger throughout the second half of the decade, as new projects are completed and some existing retail spaces expand to maintain their competitive edge.
For more on the UAE and other countries in the Middle East, check out the OBG website here.