It's time to hear the good news from Dubai

Not many businesses are making more money in the present global climate, but for a few lucky professionals, this is clean-up time. Insolvency lawyers, administrators and corporate investigators, for example, are almost turning down jobs, or having to hastily recruit staff to deal with the wrecks that have been left exposed by the falling economic tide. Add to these one other class - the communications industry. When times are tough, the spin doctors really get going, because even relatively impoverished bankers and financiers need to think about their image, with an eye to the post-recession jobs market. When your reputation is all important, you have to be sure it remains as unsullied as possible by association with the disasters taking place all around you. As the saying goes: "A good reputation is more valuable than money."

The decision makers of Dubai obviously agree. I hear that a senior delegation of the emirate's financial and economic elite made a trip to London last week to consult some of the biggest names in the world communications business. Their mission was to find out why Dubai seems to have been getting a rough ride in the international press, and what can be done to put it right. Apparently they met some of the top names in the western public relations industry, including Bell-Pottinger, the group headed by Lord Bell of Belgravia, the communications adviser to the former British prime minister, Lady Thatcher; and M Communications, the firm run by the slick duo of Nick Miles and Hugh Morrison, which recently won the mandate to handle communications for Abu Dhabi's Aldar.

There may have been others pitching too - Finsbury, the London firm run by Roland Rudd, a friend of the British business minister, Lord Mandelson, was also whispered - but in any case we shall know the lucky winner in the near future. A shortlist of candidate firms is to present their credentials again in Dubai later this week, from which one will be chosen to present the case for Dubai Inc. On a scale of difficulty, it is not the hardest job any of these firms will have landed. Dubai is a great success story, rising from the sands in just a few decades to become the leading commercial and business hub of the Gulf. If Dubai Inc had a quoted share price, it would have shown 20 years of rocket-fuelled growth, with only a little blip in the past six months. But then, what stock has not fallen steeply in this crisis of world capitalism?

Dubai can tell the world about the sophisticated and advanced infrastructure in place in the emirate; the growing financial hub that is the Dubai International Financial Centre; and the tolerant and encompassing cultural environments that make it a good place to live and work. Perhaps more than any other city in the world, Dubai has shown how Islamic society can live and interact with other religions, cultures and peoples to their mutual benefit.

It can also point to the resilience and cohesion of the federal structure of the UAE, as most recently demonstrated by the backing from the Central Bank for Dubai's recession-busting US$20 billion (Dh73.46bn) bond. There is no need to get a spin-doctor to work on the synergies that come from a union of energy-rich Abu Dhabi and commercially dynamic Dubai - it is self-evident. But retelling this story forcefully and persuasively would do no harm.

Dubai can, finally, highlight the vision and leadership of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who has carried on the diversification work of his brother and father before him to make the emirate what it is today. His name, held in such high international regard, should be linked inextricably with Dubai Inc. The spin-doctors will single out the need for transparency and openness in economic and business matters, and the Dubai delegation probably will point out politely that this has been a developing trend in the emirate's business affairs over the past few years. Dubai will, of course, reserve the right to determine the speed of the development of that trend.

The consultants, with one eye on their contacts in the international media, will also present the case for greater openness in dealings with the media. Dubai should take all this advice on board and act as it thinks appropriate. After all, that is why you pay for advice - so you can reject and select according to your own criteria. But it is not the most difficult thing in the world to be an advocate for Dubai. Compared with all those bankers and financial corporations spending millions to rehabilitate their shattered reputations, it is easy money for the communications industry. Dubai is still a good news story, even if the telling requires a little more ingenuity.

Full Party in the Park line-up

2pm – Andreah

3pm – Supernovas

4.30pm – The Boxtones

5.30pm – Lighthouse Family

7pm – Step On DJs

8pm – Richard Ashcroft

9.30pm – Chris Wright

10pm – Fatboy Slim

11pm – Hollaphonic



Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures


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


Processor: Apple M3, 8-core CPU, up to 10-core CPU, 16-core Neural Engine

Display: 13.6-inch Liquid Retina, 2560 x 1664, 224ppi, 500 nits, True Tone, wide colour

Memory: 8/16/24GB

Storage: 256/512GB / 1/2TB

I/O: Thunderbolt 3/USB-4 (2), 3.5mm audio, Touch ID

Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3

Battery: 52.6Wh lithium-polymer, up to 18 hours, MagSafe charging

Camera: 1080p FaceTime HD

Video: Support for Apple ProRes, HDR with Dolby Vision, HDR10

Audio: 4-speaker system, wide stereo, support for Dolby Atmos, Spatial Audio and dynamic head tracking (with AirPods)

Colours: Midnight, silver, space grey, starlight

In the box: MacBook Air, 30W/35W dual-port/70w power adapter, USB-C-to-MagSafe cable, 2 Apple stickers

Price: From Dh4,599


6.30pm Madjani Stakes Rated Conditions (PA) I Dh160,000 1,900m I Winner: Mawahib, Tadhg O’Shea (jockey), Eric Lemartinel (trainer)

7.05pm Maiden Dh150,000 1,400m I Winner One Season, Antonio Fresu, Satish Seemar

7.40pm: Maiden Dh150,000 2,000m I Winner Street Of Dreams, Pat Dobbs, Doug Watson

8.15pm Dubai Creek Listed Dh250,000 1,600m I Winner Heavy Metal, Royston Ffrench, Salem bin Ghadayer

8.50pm The Entisar Listed Dh250,000 2,000m I Winner Etijaah, Dane O’Neill, Doug Watson

9.25pm The Garhoud Listed Dh250,000 1,200m Winner Muarrab, Dane O’Neill, Ali Rashid Al Raihe

10pm Handicap Dh160,000 1,600m Winner Sea Skimmer, Patrick Cosgrave, Helal Al Alawi


Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded


Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

Top 5 concerns globally:

1. Unemployment

2. Spread of infectious diseases

3. Fiscal crises

4. Cyber attacks

5. Profound social instability

Top 5 concerns in the Mena region

1. Energy price shock

2. Fiscal crises

3. Spread of infectious diseases

4. Unmanageable inflation

5. Cyber attacks

Source: World Economic Foundation

The biog

Favourite book: Men are from Mars Women are from Venus

Favourite travel destination: Ooty, a hill station in South India

Hobbies: Cooking. Biryani, pepper crab are her signature dishes

Favourite place in UAE: Marjan Island


Director: Milan Jhaveri
Producer: Emmay Entertainment and T-Series
Cast: John Abraham, Manoj Bajpayee
Rating: 2/5

if you go

The flights

Direct flights from the UAE to the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, are available with Air Arabia, ( Fly Dubai ( or Etihad ( from Dh1,200 return including taxes. The trek described here started from Jomson, but there are many other start and end point variations depending on how you tailor your trek. To get to Jomson from Kathmandu you must first fly to the lake-side resort town of Pokhara with either Buddha Air ( or Yeti Airlines ( Both charge around US$240 (Dh880) return. From Pokhara there are early morning flights to Jomson with Yeti Airlines or Simrik Airlines ( for around US$220 (Dh800) return. 

The trek

Restricted area permits (US$500 per person) are required for trekking in the Upper Mustang area. The challenging Meso Kanto pass between Tilcho Lake and Jomson should not be attempted by those without a lot of mountain experience and a good support team. An excellent trekking company with good knowledge of Upper Mustang, the Annaurpuna Circuit and Tilcho Lake area and who can help organise a version of the trek described here is the Nepal-UK run Snow Cat Travel ( Prices vary widely depending on accommodation types and the level of assistance required. 


Share price: Undisclosed

Target raise: $8 billion to $10 billion

Projected valuation: $60 billion to $70 billion (Source: Bloomberg)

Lead underwriters: Barclays, Goldman Sachs Group, JPMorgan Chase and Mizuho Financial Group


Sharjah Wanderers 20 Dubai Tigers 25 (After extra-time)

Tries: Gormley, Penalty
cons: Flaherty
Pens: Flaherty 2

Tries: O’Donnell, Gibbons, Kelly
Cons: Caldwell 2
Pens: Caldwell, Cross


Director: Ali Kalthami

Starring: Mohammed Dokhei, Sarah Taibah, Hajar Alshammari

Rating: 4/5

The biog

Name: Timothy Husband

Nationality: New Zealand

Education: Degree in zoology at The University of Sydney

Favourite book: Lemurs of Madagascar by Russell A Mittermeier

Favourite music: Billy Joel

Weekends and holidays: Talking about animals or visiting his farm in Australia

Company Profile

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


Started: November 2017

Founders: Mounir Nakhla, Ahmed Mohsen and Mohamed Aboulnaga

Based: Cairo, Egypt

Sector: transport and logistics

Size: 150+ employees

Investment: approximately $8 million

Investors include: Singapore’s Battery Road Digital Holdings, Egypt’s Algebra Ventures, Uber co-founder and former CTO Oscar Salazar


Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5


Director: Carla Gutierrez

Starring: Frida Kahlo

Rating: 4/5


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

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

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