Abu Dhabi before the oil

For her chapter in the anthology about migrant labour in the Arabian Gulf, Jane Bristol-Rhys also wrote about the history that shaped the city.

Before oil was discovered, Emirati homes were concentrated near Qasr Al Hosn, the white fort. There were foreigners, mostly Indian and Iranian traders, who lived "like everybody else lived", Ms Bristol-Rhys said, but they did not mix much with Emiratis. The first western expat family arrived in the mid 1950s.

The oil boom, and the arrival of huge numbers of foreign men, was a turning point.

The UAE's tribally-organised society "was suddenly surrounded by males of various ethnicities and religions", Ms Bristol-Rhys wrote in the book chapter.

"Where should these men live?" she wrote. "The first answer was 'away from us'."

Dormitory housing was constructed on the outskirts of town, foreshadowing today's labour camps.


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


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 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

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

The UAE Today

The latest news and analysis from the Emirates

      By signing up, I agree to The National's privacy policy
      The UAE Today