What an amazing place to live

I moved to Dubai on the 25th September 1994 and within my first week I was told “Colin, you are too late. The bubble is about to burst”. How many times have I heard that phrase repeated over the years? No matter what happens, Dubai and the U.A.E.  seem to have an ability to reinvent themselves and turn what others see as a crisis into a fantastic opportunity.

This ability to identify and then pursue opportunities with agility, speed and intelligence is astonishing. 

I often joke that the speed of change is the only thing that stays the same in Dubai and when I look back at my experiences here, I can only shake my head in wonder at the visualisations that were conceived and achieved.

I look back with amazement at the dredging of the Creek, The Dubai Dry Docks, Emirates Airlines, the Hotels, the Golf clubs in the desert, The Dubai World Trade Centre, Jebel Ali Free Trade Zone, The Burj Al Arab, The Burj Khalifa, The Frame, the Shopping Malls, the Metro, the Canal, the housing developments, Dubai Marina, The Palms, The World, Global Village, The Expo site and so on. The list of successes goes on and on, driven by extraordinary leadership and executed through Government and Semi Government organisations partnering with the business community. In the short time since I started writing this article, the U.A.E. has launched the Hope Orbiter and its mission to Mars – a project that was not even in my awareness a few short days ago. 

I do not believe that the ‘bubble is about to burst’, I do not see it as a bubble. I see it as a continuously changing, evolving and adapting environment which is able to flex itself rapidly and decisively as the world changes and new opportunities present themselves. I believe that the U.A.E. will continue to respond, adapt and recreate itself. Yes, there will be setbacks and re-adjustments, there always are.  There will also be repositioning, recovery and reinvention as has been the case since I was first lucky enough to move here. 

How exciting the future looks. Organic Salmon farms in Jebel Ali, the growth of AgTech across the whole country. Hydroponic developments and rice farms in Sharjah are already allowing the deserts to be harvested efficiently and vertically. We can already see that the country is no longer as reliant on imported food and that one-day self-sufficiency may be attained.  

The medical advancements across the whole country are world class. The role model leadership that has been demonstrated in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic and the ground-breaking Stem Cell research initiatives in Abu Dhabi are staggering. Health care as a sector is already well established, and I am sure that it will not be too long before we see a growth of medical schools in the UAE.

The recent cabinet shuffle has seen the announcement of many new and exciting Ministries such as the Ministry for Industry and Advanced Technology and the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure. In addition, the appointment of a Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and Small and Medium Enterprises as well as a Minister of State for Digital Economy and Artificial Intelligence are an indication of the future direction of the country. 

With an agile Government leading innovation and change within the region at the beginning of what is being described as 4.0 – The Fourth Industrial Revolution and the development of Quantum computing, the future has to be bright. 

Who knows what will be revealed during the Expo? I am so looking forward to seeing it. 

So, whilst I do not pretend to have any expertise in Farming, Medicine, 3D printing, Quantum Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Renewable Energy, Blockchain, The Hyperloop, Flying cars, Space exploration or any of the other mind blowing things which are being developed around us every day, I do have trust and faith in the leadership of this amazing country. 

I believe that we are already seeing the beginning of the next change cycle, where a wave of positivity, optimism and innovation combined with visionary leadership and intelligent strategy will astound simple people like myself with its genius.

While the World as a whole is suffering through the ravages of a global pandemic, perhaps we can all take a moment in this turmoil to reflect and remind ourselves that this is truly an amazing place to live.