Palm Jebel Ali project proves that Dubai isn't resting on its laurels

The emirate is already a magnet for trade, tourism and investment but this ambitious megaproject proves there is no complacency about staying ahead of the pack

An artist's impression of Palm Jebel Ali. Its 110 kilometres of added coastline will eventually offer beachside living to 35,000 families. Photo: Dubai Media Office
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There is little doubt that a new master plan for the Palm Jebel Ali development, approved on Wednesday by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, will become known primarily for the breadth of its ambition.

Its 110km of added coastline will offer beachside living to 35,000 families. Eighty hotels and resorts, green spaces and other leisure and retail sites will be spread across a 13.4 square kilometre development that will occupy an area twice the size of Palm Jumeirah, already a huge draw to one of the Middle East’s most vibrant cities. The scale of the project – and the many jobs its design, construction and operation will create – is a sure sign that the emirate has firmly put the doldrums of the Covid years behind it.

What the project also reveals is the enduring allure of Dubai – a city that many in the around the world want to visit, study or work in, or even settle down in one day. This is particularly true of Arabs from around the region making the UAE their home. The Emirates as a whole was chosen as the best country to live in by young Arabs for the 11th year in a row in 2022, and the Jebel Ali plan shows that no one is resting on their laurels.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, approved the futuristic masterplan for Palm Jebel Ali on Wednesday. Wam

Supporting this vast development project is a considerable collection of legal and economic initiatives that will ensure Dubai’s competitiveness. In recent years, the UAE has made it easier for people to work and live here by introducing a range of visa options, including long-term residency in the form of the golden visa. Significant changes in UAE family law for non-Muslims as well as the opening up of property to foreign ownership have also made living and putting down roots in the Emirates easier than ever.

Projects such as the Palm Jebel Ali thrive in a growing and diversifying economy, and the UAE is working hard to provide that essential framework. This week, the country took the significant step of introducing a corporate tax – a useful economic tool that not only generates important revenue for the state to support its citizens but also allows the government to slow down or stimulate the economy. This is to say nothing of the financial transparency and accountability that this tax will require of businesses operating in the UAE.

This week it was also announced that the country would set up new industrial units to increase exports and boost the sector’s contribution to the national economy. Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi has launched a Dh500 million ($136 million) fund to help small and medium industrial enterprises adopt smart manufacturing technology. And last month, Abu Dhabi Global Market revealed that it was set to expand tenfold to create one of the world's largest financial districts.

With this solid economic base will come opportunities in different sectors. Dubai will be at the heart of these developments and those coming to live and work here will want to enjoy what the emirate has to offer in terms of employment, recreation and culturally. The Palm Jebel Ali is not just another step on the road to a genuinely diversified economy – it is a tangible reflection of the stability and prosperity being created in the UAE.

Published: June 02, 2023, 3:00 AM