The roads that link the different emirates have fused the country into an urban corridor and source of strength. Razan Alzayani / The National
The roads that link the different emirates have fused the country into an urban corridor and source of strength. Razan Alzayani / The National

Cities not countries will once again be key to world order



As a child growing up on Sheikh Hamdan Street in Abu Dhabi in early 1980s, we used to take long family drives - nearly 300 kilometres -in a blue Buick sedan to Khorfakkan, Fujairah, to lay on the beach by the sea. Sometimes there was no other car for miles. Along the way, we would stop so I could climb up the sand dunes and tumble down under the glaring sun.

Today the same route has become a long urban corridor encompassing Dubai, Sharjah and the other emirates. No matter what the state of relations among them, their growing physical unity is undeniable.

This urban fusion is also occurring in other regions of great dynamism and productivity: San Francisco to San Jose ("Silicon Valley"), Tokyo to Osaka, Hong Kong to Guangzhou (the Pearl River Delta), and Shanghai to Nanjing, for example.

Urban corridors are a force multiplier, a source of great strength. Today the UAE is the most open, liveable and prosperous society in the region, making it effectively the de-facto capital of the Arab world. Stable, diversified, and far-sighted, it is to the Arab world today what Baghdad and Damascus have been for centuries past.

My colleague Daniel Brook, in his new book A History of Future Cities, calls the UAE the "centre of the world". This is not the first time cities, rather than nations, have been the pivotal foundations of world order.

The Silk Road was traversed by the great explorer Ibn Battuta seven centuries ago. Once again, it is time to appreciate that inter-city relations are replacing international relations. So much of what constitutes progressive diplomacy today is comprised of inter-city relations.

Multinational companies forge mergers and acquisitions deals with counterparts in other global capitals; stock exchange mergers are on the rise between financial centres; the C40 Clinton climate initiative among dozens of the world's leading mayors centres on the exchange of energy-efficient building technologies among cities.

In an urbanising world, the key lessons in managing income inequality and creating jobs for youth will come from cities rather than countries.

Iron silk roads are being built stretching from Shanghai to Istanbul, creating massive opportunities for commercial exchange and mobility. The GCC's planned railway is another key infrastructure contributor to driving inter-city economics.

Jebel Ali, meanwhile, ranks as one of the world's busiest ports alongside Rotterdam, Singapore and Shenzhen.

As a new resident of Singapore, I am constantly learning the crucial lessons the city-state - which I consider to be the unofficial capital of Asia much as Abu Dhabi is for the Arab world - can teach to other leading urban centres and corridors such as the UAE. Some of these lessons are as follows.

First, use technology to empower the population: Singapore will have fibre-optic internet access island-wide by 2015.

Second, the use of scenario planning to forecast diverse possibilities and strategies for a turbulent world.

Third, complement urban master planning with economic master-planning. This means investing in the vocational training systems that prepare the labour force for rapidly shifting supply chains.

Fourth, use data and social media as a tool of governance to more efficiently deliver public services and manage traffic.

Fifth, constantly upgrade infrastructure to meet sustainability standards.

Sixth, expand the economic footprint through investing in special economic zones in neighbouring countries.

Seventh, and finally, think of all residents of increasingly multinational/ethnic cities not as citizens versus non-citizens, but as stakeholders.

Every one of these applies to the UAE, and all can be mastered here and passed on to the rest of region.

Ultimately, the transmission of these lessons will accelerate the transition towards a world where networks of smart cities lead the way in to the future.

Parag Khanna is the director of Hybrid Reality and a professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: OneOrder
Started: March 2022
Founders: Tamer Amer and Karim Maurice
Based: Cairo
Number of staff: 82
Investment stage: Series A

MATCH INFO

World Cup qualifier

Thailand 2 (Dangda 26', Panya 51')

UAE 1 (Mabkhout 45+2')

The Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi’s Arabic Language Centre will mark International Women’s Day at the Bologna Children's Book Fair with the Abu Dhabi Translation Conference. Prolific Emirati author Noora Al Shammari, who has written eight books that feature in the Ministry of Education's curriculum, will appear in a session on Wednesday to discuss the challenges women face in getting their works translated.

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

ALL THE RESULTS

Bantamweight

Siyovush Gulmomdov (TJK) bt Rey Nacionales (PHI) by decision.

Lightweight

Alexandru Chitoran (ROU) bt Hussein Fakhir Abed (SYR) by submission.

Catch 74kg

Omar Hussein (JOR) bt Tohir Zhuraev (TJK) by decision.

Strawweight (Female)

Seo Ye-dam (KOR) bt Weronika Zygmunt (POL) by decision.

Featherweight

Kaan Ofli (TUR) bt Walid Laidi (ALG) by TKO.

Lightweight

Abdulla Al Bousheiri (KUW) bt Leandro Martins (BRA) by TKO.

Welterweight

Ahmad Labban (LEB) bt Sofiane Benchohra (ALG) by TKO.

Bantamweight

Jaures Dea (CAM) v Nawras Abzakh (JOR) no contest.

Lightweight

Mohammed Yahya (UAE) bt Glen Ranillo (PHI) by TKO round 1.

Lightweight

Alan Omer (GER) bt Aidan Aguilera (AUS) by TKO round 1.

Welterweight

Mounir Lazzez (TUN) bt Sasha Palatkinov (HKG) by TKO round 1.

Featherweight title bout

Romando Dy (PHI) v Lee Do-gyeom (KOR) by KO round 1.

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

ENGLAND SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope 
Defenders: John Stones, Harry Maguire, Phil Jones, Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, Gary Cahill, Ashley Young, Danny Rose, Trent Alexander-Arnold 
Midfielders: Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson, Dele Alli, Jesse Lingard, Raheem Sterling, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Fabian Delph 
Forwards: Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Marcus Rashford, Danny Welbeck

Gulf rugby

Who’s won what so far in 2018/19

Western Clubs Champions League: Bahrain
Dubai Rugby Sevens: Dubai Hurricanes
West Asia Premiership: Bahrain

What’s left

UAE Conference

March 22, play-offs:
Dubai Hurricanes II v Al Ain Amblers, Jebel Ali Dragons II v Dubai Tigers

March 29, final

UAE Premiership

March 22, play-offs: 
Dubai Exiles v Jebel Ali Dragons, Abu Dhabi Harlequins v Dubai Hurricanes

March 29, final

MATCH INFO

Watford 1 (Deulofeu 80' p)

Chelsea 2 (Abraham 5', Pulisic 55')

FIXTURES

All times UAE (+4 GMT)

Friday
Saint-Etienne v Montpellier (10.45pm)

Saturday
Monaco v Caen (7pm)
Amiens v Bordeaux (10pm)
Angers v Toulouse (10pm)
Metz v Dijon (10pm)
Nantes v Guingamp (10pm)
Rennes v Lille (10pm)

Sunday
Nice v Strasbourg (5pm)
Troyes v Lyon (7pm)
Marseille v Paris Saint-Germain (11pm)

The Baghdad Clock

Shahad Al Rawi, Oneworld

Sri Lanka Test squad:

Dimuth Karunaratne (stand-in captain), Niroshan Dickwella (vice captain), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kaushal Silva, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Janith Perera, Milinda Siriwardana, Dhananjaya de Silva, Oshada Fernando, Angelo Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Kasun Rajitha, Vishwa Fernando, Chamika Karunaratne, Mohamed Shiraz, Lakshan Sandakan and Lasith Embuldeniya.

Pearls on a Branch: Oral Tales
​​​​​​​Najlaa Khoury, Archipelago Books

The Lost Letters of William Woolf
Helen Cullen, Graydon House 


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