Dubai is to set up a new “economic district” on Shaikh Zayed Road for the next generation of businesses Image Credit: Istock

Dubai: Dubai is to set up a new “economic district” on Shaikh Zayed Road for the next generation of businesses, in much the same way the DIFC free zone elevated the city’s status as a financial hub over the last two decades.

These are the different components of the plan that would take Dubai into the future:

Dubai Future District

The Dubai Future District will take up an area between Emirates Financial Towers, DIFC and Dubai World Trade Centre.

In the recent past, there had been speculation that the area would be Dubai’s answer to London’s Canary Wharf and the way it attracted a new wave of global businesses to the city.

Dh2 trillion (non-oil) trade by 2025

Dubai has also set its aim to be a Dh2 trillion (non-oil) trading hub by 2025. In 2018, its trade volumes were pegged at Dh1.3 trillion, while in the first six months of 2019 it was at Dh676 billion.

The District will have business incubators and financing institutions for New Economy enterprises. There will even be a “future economies” research centre.

“We, at Dubai Council, will double our work in the next period — 2020 will be the year of major changes and real transformations in our journey towards the next 10 years,” said High Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, in a tweet.

“My message to the “strong” member of my team is to get ready for this journey.”

New decade, new goal

In each of the previous decades, Dubai has recast itself to be a focal point of the global economy.

If the 1980s were about Jebel Ali Port and Free Zone, the ‘90s had Dubai Internet City and Media City, followed by the DIFC launch.

Each of these initiatives delivered new markets and target audiences for Dubai, and by extension, to the UAE.

The latest announcement will help “reach new audiences, be it entrepreneurs, investors and researchers in addition to wider populations,” said Alex Malouf, a communications consultant.

“This will help push Dubai forward with new industrial — and cultural — possibilities.”

New ‘capital’

Sheikh Mohammed states what those aspirations are — “We are the new capital of the New Economy,” he added on Twitter.

“We have issued directive to enhance our international presence and establish 50 offices for promoting Dubai’s commercial, tourist and investment position in the five continents. We aim to augment our merchandise and creative exports, boost our tourism and investment imports and human competencies.”

The Dubai Future District was approved on Tuesday (January 14) during the Dubai Council’s second meeting.

Adapt, flourish

According to Abdulnasser Al Shaali, a UAE based economist: “The future belongs to agile governments that adapt and enable their economies through effective investment — and business-related policies to stay ahead in a highly competitive macro-economic environment.”

Brand extension

With the District, Dubai will also be adding another facet to its already established brand identity.

“With limited options for serious business growth elsewhere, and with the security and safety financial ventures require, Dubai is definitely a haven for global brands of the future,” said Satish Mayya, CEO of BPG Maxus.

“Brand Dubai does not need to prove its business worthiness to the world. The proof is already there to see in the pace at which global real estate, hospitality and luxury brands continue to move into Dubai. The new Dubai Future District is set to build on all that with a much bigger scope for industries of the New Economy.”