Abu Dhabi’s journey towards celebrating the last barrel of oil gathers pace



Abu Dhabi is the city that oil built, but its continuing prosperity depends on an economy that is diversified into many fields.

That vision was elegantly expressed by the Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, in an address to the Government Summit three years ago.

“In 50 years, when we might have the last barrel of oil, the question is: when it is shipped abroad, will we be sad?” he asked. “If we are investing today in the right sectors, I can tell you we will celebrate at that moment.”

There were celebrations too, fifty years early, when a BP tanker sailed with the first shipment of oil from Abu Dhabi.

On Tuesday evening, Sheikh Mohammed announced a massive Dh50 billion stimulus package for Abu Dhabi as well as ten initiatives which will help accelerate the non-oil economy over the next three years.

Decades ago, it was initially the rapidly growing revenues from oil that propelled Abu Dhabi from a sleepy fishing village to one of the world’s fastest growing cities.

A five-year plan implemented by Sheikh Zayed in 1966 saw a metropolis rising literally out of the sands. Roads, houses, hospitals, shops, offices — all were constructed in a few years as the population rose from a few thousand to hundreds of thousands.

The economic engine of all this was oil, with the creation of the UAE in December 1971 bringing the benefits of Abu Dhabi’s bounty to all corners of the country.

By the 1990s, though, it was clear that the age of oil, if not over yet, was likely to have an end point.

Following the death of Sheikh Zayed in 2003 and the election of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed as President of the UAE, fresh ideas were applied to the future of Abu Dhabi. Oil would still play a major role, but as the generator of new sectors of the economy that would grow and thrive into the 21st Century.

Some of those changes have become household names, not just in the UAE but around the world. Etihad Airways was launched in 2003 with the model of making Abu Dhabi a global aviation transport hub.

The airline has seen spectacular expansion worldwide and next year should see the opening of the new Midfield Terminal, a fitting home for an airline that has won an armful of awards for the quality of its service.

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Read more:

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed announces Dh50 billion stimulus for Abu Dhabi  

Why Sheikh Mohammed's new economic plans are a game changer for Abu Dhabi

New housing plans will help make Abu Dhabi 'number one globally' for home ownership

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As ambitious was the concept of reinventing Abu Dhabi as a cultural hub. In the city, Saadiyat Island was designated as the site of a new cultural district, with three museums, the first of which, Louvre Abu Dhabi, opened last year.

To further boost the tourist industry, a series of luxury resort hotels, including the Park Hyatt and St Regis were built along the Gulf coast of Saadiyat.

On another island, the Yas Marina F1 track placed Abu Dhabi firmly on the international sporting circuit, with the Ferrari World theme park another draw for visitors and helping to create a critical mass for tourism.

Beyond the metropolis, Sir Bani Yas, the offshore retreat of Sheikh Zayed, was reimagined as a safari park and real-life desert island, while a five-star hotel, Qasr Al Sarab, was opened out in the dunes of the Liwa.

All these projects signalled Abu Dhabi’s intent to make its voice heard around the world, to present a more diversified image than the clichés of Opec and camels. The acquisition of Manchester City by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed in August 2008 and the column inches it generated, introduced the emirate to a global audience who previously might have previously struggled to locate it on the map.

This concept of "Brand Abu Dhabi" — which included the launch of The National in 2008 as an articulate voice to express and explain these ambitions — went far wider and deeper than five star resorts or roller coasters.

If anything, it signals the commitment to life beyond oil, it is the Masdar Institute of Technology where cutting edge research is carried out on alternative energy sources, with investment for solar and wind farms from rural Morocco to the Thames Estuary near London.

Part of this strategy is to create a highly skilled and educated workforce best able to compete in these new industries, which form part of what is increasingly described as the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

The opening of New York University Abu Dhabi in 2010 showed the potential to match the highest international standards of academic study and research, and an intellectual boot camp for young Emirati minds and future leaders.

Mubadala, the investment company for sovereign wealth, was created in 2002, with the goal of investing in human capital as well as research and develop in other projects.

Mubadala’s portfolio includes Strata, in Al Ain, where aircraft components, including parts for Airbus, a built using a highly skilled local workforce.

Yahsat, its satellite and communications company, is another example of increasing industrial sophistication, launching Al Yah 3 in January, the first satellite to be designed and built by Emirati engineers.

The Barakah nuclear power plant, in Al Dhafra, reflects both a commitment to diverse, low carbon energy and a highly trained workforce. Expected to open by the end of 2019, six out of ten workers will be Emirati.

Behind the undoubted glamour of many of these projects, other important changes are being sought. Emiratis still overwhelming work in Government jobs, vocation training is worryingly low, while private enterprise still frequently complains about the levels of bureaucracy involved in operating in Abu Dhabi and an over complicated visa system.

As these challenges are addressed they will boost efforts to complete the transformation to a diversified economy as much as Formula One race tracks and five star hotels have over the years.

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

The biog

Name: Mohammed Imtiaz

From: Gujranwala, Pakistan

Arrived in the UAE: 1976

Favourite clothes to make: Suit

Cost of a hand-made suit: From Dh550

 

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

Pros and cons of BNPL

Pros

  • Easy to use and require less rigorous credit checks than traditional credit options
  • Offers the ability to spread the cost of purchases over time, often interest-free
  • Convenient and can be integrated directly into the checkout process, useful for online shopping
  • Helps facilitate cash flow planning when used wisely

Cons

  • The ease of making purchases can lead to overspending and accumulation of debt
  • Missing payments can result in hefty fees and, in some cases, high interest rates after an initial interest-free period
  • Failure to make payments can impact credit score negatively
  • Refunds can be complicated and delayed

Courtesy: Carol Glynn

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:+Dharma

Date started:+2018

Founders:+Charaf El Mansouri, Nisma Benani, Leah Howe

Based:+Abu Dhabi

Sector:+TravelTech

Funding stage:+Pre-series A 

Investors:+Convivialite Ventures, BY Partners, Shorooq Partners, L& Ventures, Flat6Labs

THE BIO

Favourite book: ‘Purpose Driven Life’ by Rick Warren

Favourite travel destination: Switzerland

Hobbies: Travelling and following motivational speeches and speakers

Favourite place in UAE: Dubai Museum

The specs

Engine: 6.2-litre V8

Transmission: ten-speed

Power: 420bhp

Torque: 624Nm

Price: Dh325,125

On sale: Now

UAE SQUAD

Men: Saif Al Zaabi, Salem Al Marzooqi, Zayed Al Ansaari, Saud Abdulaziz Rahmatalla, Adel Shanbih, Ahmed Khamis Al Blooshi, Abdalla Al Naqbi, Khaled Al Hammadi, Mohammed Khamis Khalaf, Mohammad Fahad, Abdulla Al Arimi.
Women: Mozah Al Zeyoudi, Haifa Al Naqbi, Ayesha Al Mutaiwei.

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now

ASSASSIN'S CREED MIRAGE

Developer: Ubisoft Bordeaux
Publisher: Ubisoft
Consoles: PlayStation 4&5, PC and Xbox Series S&X
Rating: 3.5/5

The Lost Letters of William Woolf
Helen Cullen, Graydon House 

Tips for job-seekers
  • Do not submit your application through the Easy Apply button on LinkedIn. Employers receive between 600 and 800 replies for each job advert on the platform. If you are the right fit for a job, connect to a relevant person in the company on LinkedIn and send them a direct message.
  • Make sure you are an exact fit for the job advertised. If you are an HR manager with five years’ experience in retail and the job requires a similar candidate with five years’ experience in consumer, you should apply. But if you have no experience in HR, do not apply for the job.

David Mackenzie, founder of recruitment agency Mackenzie Jones Middle East

RESULT

Los Angeles Galaxy 2 Manchester United 5

Galaxy: Dos Santos (79', 88')
United: Rashford (2', 20'), Fellaini (26'), Mkhitaryan (67'), Martial (72')

WWE Super ShowDown results

Seth Rollins beat Baron Corbin to retain his WWE Universal title

Finn Balor defeated Andrade to stay WWE Intercontinental Championship

Shane McMahon defeated Roman Reigns

Lars Sullivan won by disqualification against Lucha House Party

Randy Orton beats Triple H

Braun Strowman beats Bobby Lashley

Kofi Kingston wins against Dolph Zigggler to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

Mansoor Al Shehail won the 50-man Battle Royal

The Undertaker beat Goldberg

 

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

Specs

Power train: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 and synchronous electric motor
Max power: 800hp
Max torque: 950Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed auto
Battery: 25.7kWh lithium-ion
0-100km/h: 3.4sec
0-200km/h: 11.4sec
Top speed: 312km/h
Max electric-only range: 60km (claimed)
On sale: Q3
Price: From Dh1.2m (estimate)

The Limehouse Golem
Director: Juan Carlos Medina
Cast: Olivia Cooke, Bill Nighy, Douglas Booth
Three stars

Our legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Akeed

Based: Muscat

Launch year: 2018

Number of employees: 40

Sector: Online food delivery

Funding: Raised $3.2m since inception

Company profile

Name: WonderTree
Started: April 2016
Co-founders: Muhammad Waqas and Muhammad Usman
Based: Karachi, Pakistan, Abu Dhabi, UAE, and Delaware, US
Sector: Special education, education technology, assistive technology, augmented reality
Number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Growth
Investors: Grants from the Lego Foundation, UAE's Anjal Z, Unicef, Pakistan's Ignite National Technology Fund

The specs

Engine: 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6

Power: 380hp at 5,800rpm

Torque: 530Nm at 1,300-4,500rpm

Transmission: Eight-speed auto

Price: From Dh299,000 ($81,415)

On sale: Now

BUNDESLIGA FIXTURES

Saturday, May 16 (kick-offs UAE time)

Borussia Dortmund v Schalke (4.30pm) 
RB Leipzig v Freiburg (4.30pm) 
Hoffenheim v Hertha Berlin (4.30pm) 
Fortuna Dusseldorf v Paderborn  (4.30pm) 
Augsburg v Wolfsburg (4.30pm) 
Eintracht Frankfurt v Borussia Monchengladbach (7.30pm)

Sunday, May 17

Cologne v Mainz (4.30pm),
Union Berlin v Bayern Munich (7pm)

Monday, May 18

Werder Bremen v Bayer Leverkusen (9.30pm)

The specs

Engine: 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 620hp from 5,750-7,500rpm
Torque: 760Nm from 3,000-5,750rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh1.05 million ($286,000)

SPECS: Polestar 3

Engine: Long-range dual motor with 400V battery
Power: 360kW / 483bhp
Torque: 840Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 628km
0-100km/h: 4.7sec
Top speed: 210kph
Price: From Dh360,000
On sale: September

The specs: 2017 Dodge Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn

Price, base / as tested: Dhxxx
Engine: 5.7L V8
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Power: 395hp @ 5,600rpm
Torque: 556Nm @ 3,950rpm
Fuel economy, combined: 12.7L / 100km

Company Profile

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

Aldar Properties Abu Dhabi T10

*November 15 to November 24

*Venue: Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi

*Tickets: Start at Dh10, from ttensports.com

*TV: Ten Sports

*Streaming: Jio Live

*2017 winners: Kerala Kings

*2018 winners: Northern Warriors


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