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Analysis of Causes of UAE Economic Downfall

Info: 2741 words (11 pages) Dissertation
Published: 12th Dec 2019

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Tagged: EconomicsFinance

Introduction and Business reasons:

The global liquidity crunch has affected most of the countries and among the highly affected countries is United Arab Emirates which was one among the growing business hubs in the world with its massive development and acceptance of different culture and business. ‘Dubai’ known as the economic capital of U.A.E was badly affected by the recession.

Consequently, huge fortunes have been wiped out due to Dubai’s current economic crisis exposing the risk of doing business in the Gulf. The expansion of Dubai was very ambitious but improbable. A $64 billion project that was initially planned at 107 square miles for a development that was to be the world’s largest collection of theme parks, shops, residences, and hotels called the Dubai Land. For now all these remain a fantasy which is the cause of the economic downturn. WILSON, Z (2009)

As a consequence to that, various other projects like an underwater hotel, a Tiger Woods golf course, a residential community set among full-scale replicas of the Seven Wonders of the World, a rotating skyscraper, and a beach designed by Versace, complete with chilled sand have been delayed. However after six years of quick expansion, the emirate had approximately $600 billion going into construction and is home to the world’s tallest building, the world’s largest shopping mall, the biggest man-made island and an indoor ski resort. These rapid developments caused a 7% increase in population anually. WILSON, Z (2009)

However, once the recession hit the country, the economic conditions and development scuttled. Currently, an estimated 50% of construction have been delayed or cancelled, banks have stopped lending, real estate prices fell down by 41% in the first quarter of 2009 and are estimated to drop more and the stock market has fallen 70% from its peak. Due to this economic crisis, the expatriates living in the emirate are either fleeing or have lost their jobs. When the economy of Dubai was in its booming stage, it had 80% of its total 1.7 million residents to be foreigners.

As long as this economic condition prevails in the emirate, life is going to be a challenge for the foreigners and other residents. However Abu Dhabi which is the capital of U.A.E has helped Dubai with $10 billion which is still a small amount when compared to the debt of Dubai estimated to be over $50 billion. Abu Dhabi is also being affected slowly due to the recession. However the impact is lesser than Dubai since Abu Dhabi controls over 90% of U.A.E’s oil reserve and is also home to one among the biggest investment company in the world known as ADIA (Abu Dhabi Investment Authority)

The research will have its focus mainly on the damage done to the financial market and Business of the country. U.A.E’s strategy towards gaining momentum in overcoming the economic crisis will be critically analyzed.

Personal reasons:

U.A.E’s development has always amused me. The country is one among the leading business hubs with all major multinational companies in the world. I had always wanted to study the business sector and financial market of U.A.E but coming from an Engineering background I did not have the tools and resources to do so which is the reason I have taken MSc International Business. I am taking this opportunity to study the country’s business using the tools and resources that I have already studied and going to study during my course. Moreover it would help me to understand more about International Business and reasons to the economic downfall of U.A.E. This would also help me once I go back in order to start a business. The knowledge of the economic situation and its detailed study would help me a great deal.


During the late 2007, with the US economy going through its worst post war recession, the global economy faced the most synchronised recession ever which was a result of increased globalisation and global interdependence financially and trade linkages. The economies of almost all the major developed countries shrivelled rapidly along with many trade dependent developing countries which include U.A.E along with other major countries like India and China. Anirvan B and Pami D (2010). Before the spread of the global recession, it was believed only the U.S economy will face the economic downfall. But almost the whole of Europe and cuntries like India and China were also hit badly along with U.A.E which is a small developing country with big ambition. The economy of dubai was growing at an alarming rate with projects estimated to approximately $660 billion until the recession hit.

In november 2009, the announcement of Dubai that it was going to freeze $26 billion of debt was a shock to the world and after two months when the real estate market crashed, Dubai government had over $60 billion debt which created serious doubts in the minds of investors about Dubai. A political science professor at Durham University in the U.K. stated “The real story of Dubai is that it was a trick,” Christopher D (2010). Abu Dhabi which is the capital of United Arab Emirates has been using its $43 billion of annual oil revenue to work controlled by one among the world’s biggest investment company called ADIA (Abu Dhabi Investment Authority) building art museums, mosques and a renewable energy research institute. Pendleton and Devon (2010) Vol. 185 Issue 5, p108-109

With the likes of abundant oil reserves of Abu Dhabi and one of the world’s biggest institutional investors (ADIA), Dubai has a ray of hope in surviving the current economic crisis. Abu Dhabi Inbestment Authority is known to be one of the biggest financial institutions in the world ranking second after the Bank of Japan, according to the Oxford Business Group. Roy and Sudip ()2006, Vol. 37 (444), 70-76. The company established in 1976 by the late ruler of U.A.E Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahiyan had its gaol towards investing the country’s surpluses in International market with low risks. The company currently manages U.A.E’s surplus oil reserve which is estimated to be approximately $500 billion. The company has been able to raise its liquidity during this global crisis when equity market was struck severely. The country is mainly depending on the turnover of this establishment. The company’s aproach towards investment in US and Europe market are looking strong. Sheikh Ahmad says “US treasuries are still the most liquid benchmark bonds in the world and will remain an important diversification tool”. Mccrum and Philip (2010), Vol. 54 ,8, p30-31.

In 2009, Dubai’s Jebel Ali airport which is going to be the world’s biggest airport found its construction at halt as its development plans were threatened by the gloabl economic crisis. The current economic situation has mainly affected the real estate market of U.A.E. With reduced net migration, decreasing jobs and the lack of availbility of credit has badly affected the real estate market. The prices for properties has gone down by 40% and reduced liquidity and credit for developers has shut down major projects. While there is no consumption data, inflation figures are below requirements. Dubai’s ‘housing, electricity, gas and other fuels’ inflation was at 0.5% in February 2009 which was the lowest during that year. Emerging Markets Monitor (2010) 16,(32) 17.

The emirate of Abu Dhabi shows less vulnerability to the current economic crisis when compared to Dubai. The Dubai Government had announces at 6 month stand still for debt payments in november 2009. U.A.E’s economic recovery only started gaining momentum in 2010. In this research, I will endeavour to highlight the key positive development that has occured since the recession and critically analyze the country’s future strategy.


4.1 Research QUESTIONS:

What are the reasons for the tragic economic downfall of U.A.E especially in the emirate of Dubai?

What is the extent of damage to the financial market and business in the country due to the recession?

How badly is the real estate market sector affected due to recession and what are its impacts on the residents?

How has this economic downfall affected the country’s financial market?

What are the measures undertaken by the government and private business sectors to recover from the financial crisis?

4.2 Research OBJECTIVES:

To critically analyze the reason for the economic downfall in U.A.E.

To critically analyze and comment on the extent of damage and the precise business sectors that are most affected due to the recession in U.A.E.

To critically evaluate the downfall in the real estate market and its impact on the residents

To evaluate the effect of recession on U.A.E’s financial market.

Finally, to comment on the measures undertaken to recover from the financial crisis and recommend measures which can help the recovery


Analysing a global phenomenon (the green phenomenon) at a European level and carrying out researches about a pillar industry (the automotive industry) that indicates most of the European countries’ economic health implies that various data are available. Whilst numerous advantages such as giving precious in-depth data concerning the topic, it also means that important drawbacks will arise such as so-called ‘fake’ or ‘disinformation’ data. Furthermore, this fact also implies that while collecting accurate data on such ‘hot topics’, the need to constantly access the latest and up to date data will be crucial and even unavoidable alongside my research.

5. 1 Data collection methods outline

5.1.1 Secondary Data

In order to complete my research, I will be using secondary data like text books that are available at Coventry University related to Business strategy and Management to use the appropriate tools required to analyze a company or business that is hostile due to recession. Books like Business strategy Formulation Ulwick, Anthony W (2004), Chaotics: The Business of Managing and Marketing in the Age of Turbulence Kotler, Philip   C, John A (2009) and Stock Market Cycles: Practical Explanation Bolten, Steven E.  (2000). Other databases like EBSCO will be used to find journals and articles related to my research area. Articles like ‘’Jebel Ali terminal faces 12-month delay” Foreman,c (2009) Middle East Economic digest, Vol 3,(9) 18 and ‘’Contractors pay for falling prices” Foreman,c (2009) Middle East Economic digest, Vol 53,(5) 27-30.. Other articles and journals will be used for as my research progresses. Database like SAGE journals will also be used to find journals on Global recession and its effect on develpoed and developing countries.

5.1.2 Primary data


One on one interview will be conducted with the IT department head of ADIA (Abu Dhabi investment Authority) as a part of primary data collection for my research. The interview will help me understand and perceive how the company is doing and regarding their current investments. Depending on the quality and depth of the information collected from this interview, I will be conducting another interview with the Marketing Manager of Abu Dhabi Cable Factory L.L.C which is a company I used to work for before the start of my course at Coventry University. All these data will help me comment on the present economic condition in United Arab Emirates and their future plans as my research progresses.

5.2 Data collection methods per objective

In order to complete my first objective, I will be using journals and articles from databases like EBSCO and SAGE journals that contains materials purely on recession, its roots and forecasts.

The second objective will be addressed using the information collected from the interviews and journals from EBSCO.

For the third objective, information will be collected from databases like EBSO and SAGE journals. Additional information will be collected from local newspaper articles in United Arab Emirates.

For the fourth and the fifth objective, information collected from the interviews will be used along with other journals and articles. In order to recommend measures which could help the recovery from recession, I would use information from books like Business strategy Formulation Ulwick, Anthony W (2004), Chaotics: The Business of Managing and Marketing in the Age of Turbulence Kotler, Philip   C, John A (2009).

5.3 Analysis of data

Primary data collected by interview will be grouped accordingly to answer the necessary objective of my research work. In order to do so I will be using the NVIVO 9 software which will help me analyze any unstructured information collected.

5.4 Limitations

As far as the secondary data is concerned, the limitations are that the information available is from a third person’s point of view which might not be accurate and also that we could find information contradicting some particular information since the research will talk about issues concerning the reason for the country’s current economic condition and measures that could be employed to overcome the economic crisis.

The limitations for the primary data would be that the information collected may not be precise as it is information regarding a company or economy from an individual’s perspective.


I will ensure that I will follow the University’s ethical procedures and submit the low risk ethical approval form and follow all the guidelines.

For my primary data collection, I shall use the participation information leaflet for interviews and also attach a consent form for interviews.

Interviews will not be conducted in ways that could go against the ethical issues like harm the respondents or question their honesty. All the data collected will be treated confidentially and will not be used for any other purpose than the research work.

All data will be securely kept in line with the Data Protection Act 1998.


Wilson, Z (2009) ‘ROAD TO NOWHERE’ : FAST COMPANY 138, (13) 90-93

BusinessWeek (2009) ‘ ECONOMICS & POLICY JAWBONING THE BANKS’ 4161, (4) 8-13 available at http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?hid=15&sid=67e26db4-aa56-4136-9b5e-63151b0d62e8%40sessionmgr14&vid=10&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=bth&AN=47040807

Foreman, C (2009) ‘Jebel Ali terminal faces 12-month delay’ : MEED- Middle East Economic Digest 53, (9) 18

Anirvan, B and Pami, D (2010) ‘Synchronisation of Recessions in Major Developed and Emerging Economie’ : The Journal of Applied Economic Research 4, (2) 197-223 avalible at http://mar.sagepub.com/content/4/2/197.full.pdf+html

Pendleton and Devon (2010) ‘Middle Eastern Mirage’ : Forbes 185, (5) 108-109

Mccrum and Philip (2010) ‘Abu Dhabi begins to open up.’ : MEED- Middle East Economic Digest 54, (8) 30-31

Ulwick and Anthony, W (2004) Business strategy Formulation

Kotler ; Philip, C and John A (2009) Chaotics: The Business of Managing and Marketing in the Age of Turbulence 

Bolten and Steven, E.  (2000) Stock Market Cycles: Practical Explanation

Middle East Monitor: The Gulf (2010) 20, (5) 4-5 avalilable at http://content.ebscohost.com/pdf23_24/pdf/2010/D9B/01May10/49018531.pdf?T=P&P=AN&K=49018531&S=R&D=bth&EbscoContent=dGJyMNHr7ESeqLE4yNfsOLCmr0mep7VSs6u4Sq%2BWxWXS&ContentCustomer=dGJyMPGvtk%2BwrrFQuePfgeyx44Dt6fIA

Emerging Markets Monitor (2010) Vol. 16 Issue 32, p17-17 available at http://content.ebscohost.com/pdf25_26/pdf/2010/5DB/22Nov10/55340054.pdf?T=P&P=AN&K=55340054&S=R&D=bth&EbscoContent=dGJyMNHr7ESeqLE4yNfsOLCmr0mep7VSsKi4Sa6WxWXS&ContentCustomer=dGJyMPGvtk%2BwrrFQuePfgeyx44Dt6fIA

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