“In the race for excellence, there is no finish line” – Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum (Ruler of Dubai)
The fact that Dubai just nearly 50 years ago was a village lost in the deserts has made its success more amazing and peculiar. There was a time when Dubai had no source of business for itself. Then how did Dubai start the new era of development? As many of you might have guessed it. It was kick-started by the discovery of oil in 1966 but it wasn’t until 1969 when Dubai started exporting it. The surprising thing is that currently, oil accounts for just nearly 1% of Dubai’s GDP. Which is contrary to most of the countries in the middle east. Most of us think that Dubai is dependent on tourism as it was the 7th most visited city in 2019. The reality is different as tourism accounts just for 20% of its GDP. Dubai has done the near-impossible it has diversified its economy.
Dubai now doesn’t even care about exporting oil. The cities economy has reached this level because of its commitment to trade. Dubai’s first step was to adopt a low tax policy. It has no income tax and no tax on gasoline. The most important step was the establishment of special economic zones. The SEZs (special economic zones) of Dubai are different from those present elsewhere. In Dubai, in addition to tax benefits, these areas have their own rules and regulations. We can easily see this in the example of the Dubai international financial center. This center even has its own judicial system chaired currently by a Malaysian judge. It even has its own official language which is English. Which makes us think that this center is a state within a state. Dubai has also adopted an immigration friendly policy. Which has attracted multinationals and professionals from across the globe. Currently, 96% of people living in Dubai were born abroad. Dubai was full of investment in its early years of development. All these measures have turned Dubai into a commercial, touristic and financial powerhouse. Dubai’s success story is an inspiration for diversifying the economy. By no means, Dubai is the modern utopia but still, it has provided a financial model to follow.
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