Nakheel illustrated the Dubai dream

Nakheel once described itself as the place "Where the Vision of Dubai Gets Built", though the slogan is not easily found on its website these days. For a few years, that certainly proved to be true. Its US$12 billion (Dh44.07bn) Palm Jumeirah development transformed the name of a plant that was the source of food and shelter for the Bedouin into the emirate's premier marketing icon, one visible from outer space.

The project, launched off the Dubai coast in 2001, was attractive enough to convince personalities including the property developer Donald Trump and the football star David Beckham into buying in. An aerial view of the island, which now includes lavish hotels, waterfront villas and a monorail, is often featured on international television and in newspapers as an illustration of not just how far engineering can go, but how large were the dreams and ambitions of Dubai.

That same image is now being used to tell a vastly different story. While Nakheel, which means "the palms", may only be part of the Dubai World conglomerate, it remains the best illustration of the Dubai dream. Nakheel and Limitless, another property subsidiary of Dubai World, are top priorities as the conglomerate seeks to restructure. The total value of debt carried by the subsidiaries subject to the restructuring process amounts to about $26bn, of which about $6bn relates to a Nakheel sukuk, Dubai World said yesterday.

When Dubai first set its sights on becoming a globally known financial, trade and tourism centre earlier this decade, a company called Dubai Palm Developers, later Nakheel, came up with the idea to use sand dredged from the expansion of Dubai's ports to create island centres. Such was the demand for the "waterfront lifestyle" in the year-round sunshine of the Gulf that Nakheel's strategy focused on creating more and more shoreline.

Saeed Ahmed Saeed was the company's managing director at the time. He joined Limitless as chief executive in 2005, moving the man-made theme inland with plans for the Arabian Canal, a proposed 75km waterway and a 14,000 hectare city valued at $11bn and $50bn respectively. Construction on the canal began late last year but has since stalled. Mr Saeed, who went on to form Limitless in 2005 and is its current chief executive, expanded the company's portfolio and a string of announcements of projects in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Russia, India and Vietnam followed.

Meanwhile, James Wilson, a South African who had a good track record of developing holiday resorts, took the helm of Nakheel in early 2005. Its Ibn Battuta Mall had just opened and plans were being made for the company's biggest project ever: Dubai Waterfront, a residential and office community which would cover what it claimed would be "an area twice the size of Hong Kong". Meanwhile, International City, a huge residential development close to Dubai International Airport, was under construction.

The shuffle in the corporate suite continued. Mr Wilson left the company in 2006 and Nakheel was taken over by Chris O'Donnell, an Australian property developer. Even with all the inland activity creating new neighbourhoods out of desert, it was the man-made islands that continued to capture the world's attention. Nakheel's appetite for reclaimed land was whetted with the success of the first of the Palm island trilogy, Palm Jumeirah. The developer went out of its way to keep the island in the spotlight.

The publicity that surrounded Beckham's purchase of an off-plan villa on Palm Jumeirah when he passed through Dubai en route to Japan for the 2002 World Cup finals did wonders for sales on the development, where the first homeowners starting occupancy in late 2007. The hype also boosted property prices, with some homeowners reporting they had doubled their investments in just a few years. Atlantis The Palm, a 50 per cent joint venture between Nakheel and the South African business tycoon Sol Kerzner, also brought attention to the Palm. A fireworks display to mark the opening of the hotel, where guests included the entertainer Kylie Minogue and the actor Robert De Niro, was reported to have cost $20 million.

Nakheel also struck a deal with Mr Trump for a $789m Trump International Tower and Hotel at Palm Jumeirah. With Palm Jumeirah barely finished, Nakheel hatched plans for two more islands, Palm Deira and Palm Jebel Ali. It didn't stop there. Nakheel launched the $14bn The World project, a collection of artificial islands in the shape of a world map off the Dubai coast. Once billed as "the Maldives of the Middle East", construction is yet to begin on the islands, which were fully reclaimed early last year. Both palm projects are now delayed.

Nakheel also tried to outdo its rival, Emaar Properties, with plans to build a tower taller than the Burj Dubai. The structure, which was set to be more than 1km high, was initially to be built at Nakheel's Dubai Waterfront project. After a series of design changes and early consultation costs, thought to have been more than $20m, the location of the tower was planned at a site close to Ibn Battuta Mall.

Set to be the centrepiece of the Nakheel Harbour and Tower development, the tower is yet to make it off the drawing board. The global economic crisis then began to affect the UAE. The Trump project, launched with such fanfare at an extravagant New York press conference a few months before, was put on hold. After being launched on the eve of Cityscape Dubai in October last year, work was suspended on the Waterfront project by the end of the year.

Within the space of a few months, Dubai property prices fell as much as 50 per cent, the off-plan market evaporated and property companies were faced with many buyers who struggled to meet their instalments. Nakheel today struggles with a huge debt and hundreds of people have invested in homes that may never be built. Overzealous expansion plans have also left a significant number of suppliers short of cash and hundreds of people have lost jobs.

How Dubai World will restructure Nakheel and Limitless will now be closely watched, not just locally, but by the world. The success of that process will likely dictate how quickly confidence in Dubai's property market will recover.


Opening fixtures:
Friday, Oct 5

8pm: Kabul Zwanan v Paktia Panthers

Saturday, Oct 6
4pm: Nangarhar Leopards v Kandahar Knights
8pm: Kabul Zwanan v Balkh Legends

Tickets can be bought online at and at the ticket office at the stadium.

TV info
The tournament will be broadcast live in the UAE on OSN Sports.

The years Ramadan fell in May






Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government


Director: Sriram Raghavan

Producer: Matchbox Pictures, Viacom18

Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Tabu, Radhika Apte, Anil Dhawan

Rating: 3.5/5


Bantamweight 56.4kg
Abrorbek Madiminbekov v Mehdi El Jamari

Super heavyweight 94+kg
Adnan Mohammad v Mohammed Ajaraam

Lightweight 60kg
Zakaria Eljamari v Faridoon Alik Zai

Light heavyweight 81.4kg
Mahmood Amin v Taha Marrouni

Light welterweight 64.5kg
Siyovush Gulmamadov v Nouredine Samir

Light heavyweight 81.4kg
Ilyass Habibali v Haroun Baka


Director: Yasir Alyasiri

Starring: Baraa Alem, Nour Alkhadra, Alanoud Saud

Rating: 3/5


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

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

UAE Warriors 45 Results

Main Event : Lightweight Title
Amru Magomedov def Jakhongir Jumaev - Round 1 (submission)
Co-Main Event : Bantamweight
Rany Saadeh def Genil Franciso - Round 2 (submission)
Catchweight 150 lbs
Walter Cogliandro def Ali Al Qaisi - Round 1 (TKO)
Renat Khavalov def Hikaru Yoshino - Round 2 (TKO)
Victor Nunes def Nawras Abzakh - Round 1 (TKO)
Yamato Fujita def Sanzhar Adilov - Round 1 (submission)
Abdullo Khodzhaev def Petru Buzdugen - Round 1 (TKO)
Catchweight 139 lbs
Razhabali Shaydullaev def Magomed Al-Abdullah - Round 2 (submission)
Cong Wang def Amena Hadaya - Points (unanimous decision)
Khabib Nabiev def Adis Taalaybek Uulu - Round 2 (submission)
Light Heavyweight
Bartosz Szewczyk def Artem Zemlyakov - Round 2 (TKO)

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylturbo

Transmission: seven-speed DSG automatic

Power: 242bhp

Torque: 370Nm

Price: Dh136,814

How to help

Send “thenational” to the following numbers or call the hotline on: 0502955999
2289 – Dh10
2252 – Dh 50
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What is cystic fibrosis?
  • Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that affects the lungs, pancreas and other organs.
  • It causes the production of thick, sticky mucus that can clog the airways and lead to severe respiratory and digestive problems.
  • Patients with the condition are prone to lung infections and often suffer from chronic coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.
  • Life expectancy for sufferers of cystic fibrosis is now around 50 years.

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

Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier

From September 18-25, Abu Dhabi . The two finalists advance to the main event in South Africa in February 2023

Group A: United States, Ireland, Scotland, Bangladesh
Group B: UAE, Thailand, Zimbabwe, Papua New Guinea

UAE group fixtures:
Sept 18, 3pm, Zayed Cricket Stadium – UAE v Thailand
Sept 19, 3pm, Tolerance Oval - PNG v UAE
Sept 21, 7pm, Tolerance Oval – UAE v Zimbabwe

UAE squad: Chaya Mughal (captain), Esha Oza, Kavisha Kumari, Rinitha Rajith, Rithika Rajith, Khushi Sharma, Theertha Satish, Lavanya Keny, Priyanjali Jain, Suraksha Kotte, Natasha Cherriath, Indhuja Nandakumar, Vaishnave Mahesh, Siya Gokhale, Samaira Dharnidharka


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* internal codenames


Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

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


All matches start at 10am, and will be played in Abu Dhabi

1st ODI, Friday, January 8

2nd ODI, Sunday, January 10

3rd ODI, Tuesday, January 12

4th ODI, Thursday, January 14

Book Details

Three Centuries of Travel Writing by Muslim Women
Editors: Siobhan Lambert-Hurley, Daniel Majchrowicz, Sunil Sharma
Publisher: Indiana University Press; 532 pages


Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

Three ways to limit your social media use

Clinical psychologist, Dr Saliha Afridi at The Lighthouse Arabia suggests three easy things you can do every day to cut back on the time you spend online.

1. Put the social media app in a folder on the second or third screen of your phone so it has to remain a conscious decision to open, rather than something your fingers gravitate towards without consideration.

2. Schedule a time to use social media instead of consistently throughout the day. I recommend setting aside certain times of the day or week when you upload pictures or share information. 

3. Take a mental snapshot rather than a photo on your phone. Instead of sharing it with your social world, try to absorb the moment, connect with your feeling, experience the moment with all five of your senses. You will have a memory of that moment more vividly and for far longer than if you take a picture of it.


Display: 6.7" Super Retina XDR OLED, 2796 x 1290, 460ppi, 120Hz, 2000 nits max, HDR, True Tone, P3, always-on

Processor: A17 Pro, 6-core CPU, 6-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine

Memory: 8GB

Capacity: 256/512GB / 1TB

Platform: iOS 17

Main camera: Triple: 48MP main (f/1.78) + 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.2) + 12MP 5x telephoto (f/2.8); 5x optical zoom in, 2x optical zoom out; 10x optical zoom range, digital zoom up to 25x; Photonic Engine, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4, Portrait Lighting

Main camera video: 4K @ 24/25/30/60fps, full-HD @ 25/30/60fps, HD @ 30fps, slo-mo @ 120/240fps, ProRes (4K) @ 60fps; night, time lapse, cinematic, action modes; Dolby Vision, 4K HDR

Front camera: 12MP TrueDepth (f/1.9), Photonic Engine, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4, Portrait Lighting; Animoji, Memoji

Front camera video: 4K @ 24/25/30/60fps, full-HD @ 25/30/60fps, slo-mo @ 120/240fps, ProRes (4K) @ 30fps; night, time lapse, cinematic, action modes; Dolby Vision, 4K HDR

Battery: 4441mAh, up to 29h video, 25h streaming video, 95h audio; fast charge to 50% in 30min (with at least 20W adaptor); MagSafe, Qi wireless charging

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Apple Pay), second-generation Ultra Wideband chip

Biometrics: Face ID


Durability: IP68, water-resistant up to 6m up to 30min; dust/splash-resistant

Cards: Dual eSIM / eSIM + eSIM (US models use eSIMs only)

Colours: Black titanium, blue titanium, natural titanium, white titanium

In the box: iPhone 15 Pro Max, USB-C-to-USB-C woven cable, one Apple sticker

Price: Dh5,099 / Dh5,949 / Dh6,799

Alita: Battle Angel

Director: Robert Rodriguez

Stars: Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Keean Johnson

Four stars