Part 2: Journey In The East: Dubai

BY Diliora Iloanusi||

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If you missed the part 1, read it HERE

It started with an airline; Emirates. What happened here was the beautiful combination of East and West. A state-owned business operated by westerners to bring in westerners. To put it simply; build and they shall come. And so they did, the Saudis and Iranians – to party like they couldn’t back home, the Russians to buy, buy, buy and stock there chaos-ridden shelves back home. In 2002 foreigners were allowed to own property in the nation. A first in any of the Gulf States thanks to Sheik Mohammed. In the same year they produced a Vatican-like zone – financial of course – known as the Dubai International Financial Centre. It operated on its own laws; judicial systems, language, currency (they use USD not Dirhams) etc. were made separate from Dubai’s keeping intact the laws of Shariah and inviting internationals to operate business on more familiar grounds.

Financials aside, they also came up with the smart ideas – Internet City, Media City two other powerhouses in the nation. They were created to provide censorship free internet and freedom of media to the Gulf state mimicking the western way of things. Yet more firsts, the internet is fully searchable in Internet City bypassing the very strict yet transparent censorship in the Emirate states. Media city allows freedom in advertising, press etc. They built and Microsoft came (to the tune of a 50-year free lease and permission to build the biggest Microsoft sign) and so did Dell, HP and many other small companies.  Build and they shall come.

Here’s a very interesting fact; you know how we’re used to hearing ‘Arab Money’, a synonym for oil money (you know right!). Thing is Dubai’s GDP is 90% ‘services’ and a mere 10% in oil, just a tenth. It’s not always about oil. (There’s a lesson in there folks!).

Now that’s over, there’s a recurring theme here; Daring. They are ENTRPRENEURIALLY DARING! I’ll distinguish. An ENTREPRENEUR would build another city and would maybe add a few little extras along the way. An ENTREPREUNERIAL individual would build a tourist city. Make everything as shiny as possible knowing full well that the people in it will be staying anyways so why not invite the rest of the world?

So I leave with all of that up there to think through and ingest and hopefully critique. Dubai, a young city, a new city but the idea of it isn’t all that new. It just took WILL, DARING and loads of MONEY!

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