Sunday, May 30, 2010

How Abu Dhabi's Rise is Good for Dubai

Following the footsteps of neighboring Dubai and Qatar, Abu Dhabi has set a vision for itself. The latter aims at building a developed society in the city-state by 2030. After Dubai's real estate bubble's explosion by the fall of 2008, Abu Dhabi has witnessed a magnifcient rise. Many analysts see that Dubai has callapsed as Fast Company magazine wrote "Bye-Bye, Dubai" on the cover of September 2009 issue while others believe that the society and the system that Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has built is strong enough to fall in few months. The proponents of the second viewpoint say that Dubai can benefit from Abu Dhabi's rise.

During the Arab Strategy Forum held in Dubai in 2004, Fareed Zakaria said that Dubai shouldn't fear from Qatar's progress. He added that it is in Dubai's interest that Qatar accumulates more power. Following the same logic, Dubai and Abu Dhabi are not determined to fight each other. They may compete and more importantly they have to compliment each other. Dividing the roles gives an opportunity of specialization and focus. Dubai will be visited by thousands of Abu Dhabi's tourists. When asked by journalists whether Abu Dhabi is competing with Dubai, Dubai's ruler said that the cities belong to one unifying state and there is no competition between the two emirates. Abu Dhabi's eminence will exert more pressure on Dubai to excel. If left without any serious competitor, Dubai might stay in the comfort zone. This race is healthy for the UAE and for the GCC as a whole. Time has come to talk about the Gulf Triad: Dubai, Qatar and Abu Dhabi or the Gulf Quartet when Saudi Arabia is added to the triad. In the United States, for example, Los Angeles and San Francisco are two neighboring and "rival" cities but they didn't eclipse each other. This is a healthy example that Arabians can contemplate.

Dubai will become a more competitive city due to the rise of Abu Dhabi. In the Middle East, several finanacial and cultural centers are emerging. The world has statrted talking about Dubai, Doha, Abu Dhabi, Jeddah, Riadh, Ras Al Khaimah and Beirut-the always vibrant city and the regional hub of the past and of the present. These centers may be regional ones but they meet and sometimes beat the international standards in many fields: finance, commerce, tourism, transport, real estate, architecture, media, fairs and education.

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