Middle Eastís answer to Disneyland - Khaleej Times - 2/13/2006
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Could Dubai become the most important city on earth?
DUBAI - Dubai is growing faster than any city on earth, spending mind-boggling sums on a construction programme that is nothing less than dazzling. But what is truly impressive is the scale of its ambition. Could it become the most important place on the planet?
Dubai is growing faster than any city on earth. “Mushroom City”, Ravi Piyush, a plumply content dealer in the Gold Souk, said to me. “Nothing today, everything tomorrow.” The World Bank reckons that the reconstruction of Iraq is going to cost $53bn. Here, along the strip of footballer-friendly sand that stretches 25 miles or so along the shores of the Persian Gulf, there is, at a rough estimate, about $100bn worth of projects either underway or planned for the near future. That is a numbing figure, ungraspable. It is the equivalent of every single dollar invested in the United States from abroad last year; almost twice the foreign investment in China.
Middle East’s answer to Disneyland
The Middle East’s answer to Disneyland, called Dubailand, which is far larger than Monaco, is costing $4.5bn. It will employ 300,000 people in the various joylands, servicing 15 million visitors. A new urban railway, with 37 stops, begins construction shortly. Dubai is to have its own Silicon Oasis ($1.7bn) for computer companies. A mixed development called Dubai Waterfront/Arabian Canal covers an area larger than Barbados and will house, when completed ($6bn), more people than Paris.
Dubai sits on the all-important strategic routeway of the modern world: China, India, Middle East, Europe and the US. That is where the money is going to be. China has just become the third biggest economy in the world and it is the fastest growing. India is set for its own acceleration. The Maktoum plan is to make Dubai the centre of a global strategic network of port facilities to rival Singapore and the huge Hong Kong-based conglomerate of Hutchison-Whampoa. They have been acquiring hard and fast and now control massive facilities in China, Hong Kong, Australia, South Korea, India, Yemen, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Romania, Germany and Latin America. In a profoundly symbolic move, Dubai Ports are now manoeuvring to make a bid for the great harbours in southern Iraq.
Source : Khaleej Times