I confess to you that I have been in love with Dubai for a long time; I was enchanted on my first trip to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2009. The most striking thing is not the modern architecture or robust infrastructure built in a few decades, not even the sweltering heat of 42 degrees Celsius at midnight. What struck me from the start was the capacity and speed of transformation of that nation, especially the Emirate of Dubai.
"Ah, Renato, it is very easy to do that when you have oil in your backyard," you probably think. And you're right: it helps a lot. But it takes political will and effort too! Our sister Venezuela says so: according to the report BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2018, Our suffering neighbors have the largest known oil reserves in the world (proven oil reserves), representing 18% of all world reserves. Brazil occupies the 15th position in the ranking and the UAE the 8th.
Despite its position in the top ten in the world, oil currently represents less than 5% of Dubai's economy. Tourism, international trade and the housing market are the major drivers of GDP here. You can already understand that Dubai is not just about oil, right? Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Dubai and Abu Dhabi on a business trip and once again I was impressed.
A year ago, I wrote a text about the UAE and the Ministry of Happiness, which was created to monitor the evolution and especially the impacts of smart city projects on citizens' lives – there were already several indicators showing that they were on their way. right. The cycle of growth and prosperity that began in 2014, from the strong crisis of 2008, seems to be reaching its apogee.
Just to give you an idea: according to the developer Emaar, one of the largest in the region, Dubai concentrates almost 25% of all operating cranes in the world. Emaar, which holds the records for the world's tallest building, 828-meter Burj Khalifa located in the Dubai Mall complex, the world's largest shopping center equivalent to 50 football pitches, is now building an entire smart neighborhood.
At a total of six square kilometers, Dubai Creek will be one of the most modern and connected areas on the planet. As if they weren't just building a new mall twice the size of the Dubai Mall, in the heart of the neighborhood will be erected the 1300-meter-high Dubai Creek Tower. That's right, over a mile skyward!
Projects such as taxis drones, the hyperloop, a robot police, and even a city on Mars for 2117 are already on everyone's daily agenda there. All projects for the future do, but with serious planning and an almost unlimited budget for execution. Nothing seems impossible to them.
At one of my meetings last week, I heard a statement from Mr. Omar Alkhan, director in charge of the international offices of Dubai Chamber, which illustrates Dubai's spirit well: "We, as resource-constrained desert people, have learned early on to squeeze everything we have at our disposal."
I recorded a short video of my guided tour of the Dubai Creek project that gives an impression that the future has already arrived there, and look that this is just one of several neighborhoods that are literally flourishing in the desert sands. All these efforts are redoubled by the Expo 2020 World Exposition, which will take place in the city from October 2020 to April 2021.
State-of-the-art technology applied to mitigate problems and, above all, improve quality of life is the main spice in any smart city's revenue. I think they understood that very well, after all, it was no wonder that in 2017 Dubai took the title of Smart City of the Year at the Barcelona World Congress and already appears among the top 5 in the world in several other prestigious rankings. If you have a minimal chance to visit this magnificent city, do not miss the opportunity, it is very worth it!
I hope you enjoy the video and see you next week directly from another corner of this beautiful and dynamic planet.