Dubai: The new global capital?
Dubai could become the centre of the world in under one hundred years, as population growth in Asia, Africa and the Middle East shifts power away from the Americas and Europe.
The city, the largest in the United Arab Emirates, is set to host the World Expo in 2020 and it seems this is a reflection of its growing power and importance in global affairs. One expert even thinks it could become the world’s premier hub city by 2100.
Speaking during the Government Summit 2015, Dr Hans Rosling, co-founder of Gapminder, believes falling birth rates in the West combined with surging population growth in Asia and Africa will alter the balance.
“By year 2100, America would have less than ten per cent of the world’s population while 80 per cent of the population would be in Africa and Asia. The surge in population growth in Africa and Asia would make Dubai the centre of the world by 2100,” he explained.
Meanwhile Dubai’s stock is up on other fronts, as the UAE is now on a par with the US in the Economist’s annual where-to-be-born index and the city is also rising up the rankings as a global financial centre. In February, for example, Dubai Forward is an event taking place in the city that sees financial professionals from around the world discuss issues such as Dubai’s role in private banking.
Air travel is another indicator of a city’s position and in January, Dubai’s airport overtook Heathrow to become the world’s busiest. Traffic at Dubai International surged to 69.9 million, according to figures from Airports Council International. "This historic milestone is the culmination of over five decades of double-digit average growth," said Dubai Airports chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum.
Dubai is booming, attracting new investment and expertise, but it’s not the only success story in the UAE. Abu Dhabi, the capital of the country, is also on an upward trajectory and the city’s new financial district Abu Dhabi Global Market Square on Al Maryah Island is a shining example. The new free zone is a hub for financial and legal services and is already attracting numerous new firms to the UAE.