Transparency and free zones spell future success

The UAE is traditionally associated with oil and natural resources. However, this is certainly not the only industry with business opportunities.

United Arab Emirates- Abu Dhabi - January 22, 2010:

SPORTS: The UAE cricket team's Arshad Ali goes to bat during their match against Uganda at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Friday, January 22, 2010. Amy Leang/The National *** Local Caption ***  amy_012210_cricket_01.jpg

The article UAE is a better place to do business (March 17) described how the UAE rose five places to become the 30th least corrupt country of 180 surveyed by Transparency International's 2009 Corruption Perception Index. With one of the highest per capita incomes in the Middle East, the UAE is a focal point for investors in this region. The UAE is traditionally associated with oil and natural resources. However, this is certainly not the only industry with business opportunities. The governing bodies within the emirates that make up the UAE are proactive in developing incentive schemes and building infrastructure to make the region competitive with business hubs around the world.

The UAE has made a strong, combined effort to diversify its economy, slowly removing the dependence on oil reserves. It has achieved success in the tourism industry, spurred by the lavish and luxurious lifestyle images of Dubai. Another sector lobbying for development is the service industry. Its main attractions are Free Zones - all-encompassing business models providing readily available access to the technology and infrastructure a modern-day business requires to be competitive. Mike Hunter, US

The article Emiratis call for their inclusion (March 22) reported that Emiratis petitioned to represent the UAE cricket team at the Asian Games in China. Unfortunately, I may have to agree with the Emirates Cricket Board on this. Being a national, I would dearly love to see these guys represent the country, however, we need to be cognisant of the impact of sending an underprepared side to a tournament of such stature.

If these boys are to stand even a remote chance of facing up to professional cricketers, there is a real need to attend proper training camps. Let's face it, the structure of cricket in this part of the world has been on a rapid decline since the 1990s and things have not improved at all. Domestic cricket is just not what it used to be and if these boys are to be able to compete, there is a real need to be trained, both physically and mentally, in a proper camp run by professionals.

That being said, I would love to see a team composed only of Emiratis represent the UAE one day, but that day will most likely never come. That is because there is no development at a local level and the administration has no plan or strategy to introduce this sport to nationals. If there were a plan, why have we seen only a handful of nationals represent the UAE in the past 15 years? Mind you, all of the nationals who have represented the UAE were born and brought up overseas and learnt their cricket in places like India and Pakistan. To me, this is a stale discussion which will not get anywhere and I guarantee you, there is no plan in place and nothing will happen in this part of the world with respect to the development of cricket. Our children will probably be discussing the same topic 20 years from now. Qais Farooq, Dubai

The article Speeding rich drivers could soon feel the pinch (March 25) described a proposal for speeders to be fined according to their income. Now there's a step in the right direction. Good job if they actually implement it. It sure doesn't take a genius to figure out that a large percentage of people who drive excessively fast are wealthy. Just spend 10 minutes watching the fast lane on the Dubai-Abu Dhabi Highway: Benz, BMW, Porsche, Lexus, Maserati ... Then you start to realise they really don't care if they get caught. Take away their cars and maybe they will think a little more about it (of course you may have to take away all five or six of their cars, but still). Donald Glass, Abu Dhabi

With Marc Lynch's opinion article Moment of truth (March 26), we finally have a balanced, well-researched, well-reasoned article on the recent elections in Iraq. Thank you, Prof Lynch. Reading it was very refreshing compared to the predictable bevy of alarmist "Iraq election signals a return to sectarianism" nonsense from the usual suspects like the Associated Press and The New York Times to which we've been subjected for the past two weeks. Name Withheld by Request

I refer to the article by Sophia Money-Coutts Too many legs for me (March 24) which described her encounters with cockroaches. I've seen huge cockroaches in Thailand. A giant one flew right at me in Karachi. But the biggest one that I've seen was crawling around the tables outside a restaurant in Deira. I too find these things frightening.

Dave Hull, UK