The Most Vibrant Place On Earth…

As we pull to a close of 2023, we want to impart to you how excited we are for next year and why, amongst the deeply challenging events all over the world, the GCC region has doubled down, focused even harder on social and economic development as it secures its reputation as the fastest growing & most vibrant economic area in the world.

Given we are based in the UAE, this paper focuses on the crazy, wonderful, barely imaginable innovations, projects, and initiatives that are re-shaping this corner of the Persian Gulf & siting it’s legacy for generations to come. We could just as easily rinse and repeat this blog for Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the other 4 members of the GCC also creating countries of the future, but we’ll save that for another day!

For all you data vultures, let’s start with a quick recap of the UAE…

Located c.5500 km from each of London and Singapore sitting at the crossroads of East and West

Founded in 1971, previously a British Protectorate 

7 Emirates make up the UAE

Population of 10.2mn, expected to grow to 13mn by 2050

Locals 10% of total population, expats 90% 

Average age of population 33 years

Literacy 98%

Mortality 79 years

Economic growth average rate 8%

Local inflation 4% 

Currency AE Dirham 

Current heavy construction equipment count 19,000

Income tax rate 0%

Dominant industries pre-1960 Pearl diving, fishing, nomadic farming  

Dominant industries post-1960 Oil & Gas, Tourism, Finance, Innovation 

Government type Constitutional Federation

Sovereign organisational structure – 7 absolute monarchies make up the UAE 

 

Now, let’s get into just a handful of the hundreds of transformative projects that are greenlit and happening over the coming years. It’s also worth noting that the absence of voting cycles and partisan politics empowers our region to make long term decisions and investments for the good of the country rather than for expedient short-term gain:

 

Creative projects

 

Infrastructure projects

  • Etihad Rail – a new 1200km rail network connecting all 7 Emirates but also stretching from the Saudi Arabian border to Oman. Nearly complete, under budget and on time, the entire system will be open to freight and passengers in 2024 with train speeds in excess of 200kph. https://www.etihadrail.ae/   
  • The Midfield Terminal at Abu Dhabi airport (AUH) actually opened ahead of schedule on 1 November 2023, this $3bn, 700,000 sqm project is part of the 2030 vision fulfilment of handling the exponential increase in tourist and business travel. https://www.abudhabiairport.ae/en  
  • Dubai Metro Blue line – a brand new metro line of 30km to add to the existing network  including 14 stations serving 320,000 passengers a day, ground was broken by the ruler of Dubai last month and will open in 2040. https://www.thenationalnews.com/uae/transport/2023/11/25/dubai-metro-blue-line-where-will-it-go-and-when-will-it-open/    

 

Sustainable projects

  • Agri Hub – an agritourism location built from scratch in the desert and due to be open in 2030. Providing food security for UAE and enabling residents to experience a sustainable agricultural eco-system. https://urb.ae/projects/agrihub/
  • Al Maktoum Solar Park – the world’s largest single site solar park is under construction and is a key component of the UAE drive to diversify away from hydrocarbons. At a cost of AED50bn, the park will provide clean energy for over 300,000 homes and save 6.5mn tonnes of carbon emissions annually. https://www.mbrsic.ae/en/about/mohammed-bin-rashid-al-maktoum-solar-park/  
  • Hydro-electric power plant, Hatta region of UAE. Part of the sovereign undertaking to make sure that 100% of Dubai’s power needs are delivered from clean sources by 2050. Already 60% complete and due to open at the end of 2024, production will be 250MW and a lifespan of 80-years. https://www.dewa.gov.ae/en/about-us/strategic-initiatives/hatta-project 

 

Leisure & Entertainment projects

  • Pixoul Gaming – being created in the Al Qana district of Abu Dhabi, this location, the largest of its type in the world will host the certified Esport academy and floors of VR games and will form part of the creation of 30,000 jobs in this sector over the next 5 years. https://alqana.ae/en/pixoul-gaming        

 

So, the only question that remains:

 

When are you coming?