DUBAI & Other UAE Emirates - Dubai's Economic Base.
The Dubai Financial Market (DFM) at the emirate's World Trade Centre was opened on March 26, 2000 as the first official stock exchange in the UAE - well ahead of Abu Dhabi's. The DFM has remained a small exchange with just 16 stocks including four banks and three insurance companies. In early April 2002 the London Stock Exchange (LSE) began exploring the possibility of a deal with the DFM in which Dubai would use its Sets trading technology. This would bring additional income to the LSE, now a publicly listed company, and provide DFM-listed stocks with access to a wider pool of investors. In 2001 the LSE had a deal with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange from which it expected to earn at least 11m pounds sterling over five years. On April 8, 2002, the LSE launched a campaign in Uppsala, Sweden, for IPOs by Nordic healthcare and biotechnology companies.
The DFM management said in 2000 Dubai's was one of several trading floors to be established in the UAE. The UAE is to have one exchange, under a 49-article law for the Emirates Securities & Commodities Market Authority issued at end-April 2000.
On Feb. 16, 2002 Dubai's Crown Prince/UAE Defence Minister Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and said this will fill a geographical hole between the financial centres of Frankfurt and Singapore. DIFC's Chairman Anis Al Jallaf then said: "Our aim is to build a financial centre - a London, a Hong Kong - here in Dubai. We want to be able to satisfy the regional needs of businesses and investors by building a hub in Dubai. We want to create a place for regional blue chips to find financial solutions and a place for international banks to seek regional investment opportunities... I can see companies from the region seeking international capital coming to list on our market, or funds investing in the region being quoted here". Jallaf added: "Due to the limitations of local markets, there are many hidden assets in the region".
Dubai's Emirates in 2001 became the best airline in the world. This is part of a group including groundhandling agent Dnata, which on April 30 posted net profits of Dh 603m ($164m) for 2001/02, a 14% increase on 2000/01. Had it not been for the Sept. 11 tragedy, which badly affected airlines across the globe, the group's profits would have been much higher. In late 2001 Emirates signed contracts with Airbus Industrie and Boeing worth $15 bn for the supply of new commercial aircraft.
Dubai's Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZ) is the main free trade centre west of Singapore. Established in 1980, about $7 bn in investments have been made in the zone by more than 2,350 companies operating there from all parts of the world. Businesses are constantly being set up to take advantage of state-of-the-art infrastructure facilities, tax incentives and abundant supplies of power, water and various industrial feedstocks. Jebel Ali boasts the largest man-made harbour in the world. It has boosted Dubai's role as a transshipment centre for non-oil products en route to other destinations. The deepwater port at Jebel Ali can handle vessels of 400,000 dwt. The other deepwater harbour in Dubai, Port Rashid, can handle vessels of 100,000 dwt with its main berth capable of taking vessels up to 260 metres long, with a depth of 11.6ymetres. State-owned Dubai Drydocks Co. (DDC) operates the world's largest dry dock. Gulf Marine Maintenance and Offshore Services Co. has a repair yard in Jebel Ali catering for ships of up to 140 metres in length.
A 1,350 hectare industrial estate set up east of JAFZ is a base for heavy industry, connected to JAFZ by a bridge, with industrial diversification being a focus of the emirate. Other major attractions in Dubai have included some of the world's best hotels and theme parks. The huge Burj Al Arab is by far the most luxurious and expensive hotel having a 321-metre-high tower and a structure in the shape of a billowing sail. Dubai Municipality has a children's city to educate 5-12 year olds through play.
Dubai depends heavily on a huge expatriate workforce, as in the case of most of the other UAE emirates. The expatriates are mainly from India (about 500,000, nearly 20% of the total population), Pakistan (350,000), Bangladesh (150,000), Sri Lanka (105,000) and the Philippines (90,000).
Sharjah is the only member of the UAE to have ports on both sides of the Straits of Hormuz. This makes it attractive as an industrial, trading and shipping centre. Already being the main manufacturing centre in the UAE, this emirate has converted most of its territory into a free zone. In view of the relatively rapid growth of industry and investment flows in the 1980s and 1990s, the Sharjah government is creating second industrial zone. The first zone is located near Sajaa, about 25 km from Sharjah City.
The Sharjah trade centre is a 309-metre high, 42-storey tower located at Al Khan Lagoon on the Sharjah-Dubai road. It covers a total area of 60,000 sq m. Among facilities at the complex is a five-star hotel, a conference hall to seat 1,500 and other commercial buildings. The busiest free zones are the ones at Hamriyah and Sharjah International Airport. At the Hamriyah free zone, the local National Oil Storage Co. (Nosco) is has a major oil storage terminal which can handle gasoil, fuel oil and bitumen. It will be expanded in future to take in gasoline and jet fuel.
Fujairah, long one of the poor backwaters of the UAE, now is a key part of global oil trade and aims to overtake Singapore as the world's largest bunkering centre. Thousands of vessels pass through Fujairah's waters each year. The oil storage venture of Van Ommeren Tank Terminal Fujairah has major storage, blending and terminal facilities for oil products.