Dubai: The positive economic impact of Expo 2020 on the UAE and Dubai will last several years beyond the event, according to industry leaders and financial experts.
Speaking at a panel discussion titled Dubai Beyond Expo 2020 following the launch of ‘The Report: Dubai 2020’ by Oxford Business Group (OBG), representatives from various sectors of the economy such as real estate, financial services tourism and retail sectors expressed confidence in the longer term gains of the event to the economy.
The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) latest forecasts expect the UAE’s economy to grow by 2.5 per cent in 2020 on the back of Expo 2020 and the government’s Dh50bn fiscal stimulus. As the host of the event, Dubai has already started to feel the benefits across several sectors, including the transport & storage sector which grew by 6.2 per cent in the first half of 2019 according to Dubai Statistics Centre, and the construction sector as infrastructure projects associated with Expo 2020 have come online.
“Construction and real estate sectors have benefited from the event. The large number of people visiting Dubai next year is expected boost occupancy rates in hotels while, the increased international exposure Dubai would get from the event is expected boost demand for real estate from foreign buyers like the Chinese investors,” said Hussain Sajwani, Chairman and Founder of DAMAC.
As Dubai moves into the new decade the emirate is focused on developing several high-growth areas, including the quickly evolving technology industry.
The Report: Dubai 2020 delves into the various projects that seek to propel the emirate into the digital age and the 4th industrial revolution. Programmes such as the Dubai 2021 Plan, the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2030, the Autonomous Transportation Strategy, and many others, will be seeking to use the momentum garnered by Expo 2020 to fuel future growth and innovation in these areas.
With a record-breaking $10.5 billion in FDI in 2018, Dubai continues to cement its position as a hub for various industries, including financial services, retail, and transport & logistics.
“While Dubai’s open economy means it remains at risk of negative external events, an increased budget, improved oil prices and higher levels of FDI have combined to produce a positive outlook in the lead-up to Expo 2020,” said Michael Benson-Colpi, OBG’s Chairman.
Dubai’s economy had been facing some challenging times in recent years following geopolitical tensions in the region, the 2007-08 global financial crisis and a prolonged decline in oil prices from late 2014 are together exerting downwards pressure on the emirate’s economic expansion. However, stable oil prices and the economic stimulus of Expo 2020 have eased this strain in 2019, and business sentiment has improved accordingly.
With the long-anticipated Expo 2020 set to take place beginning on October 20 of that year, attention is already turning to the question of how the emirate will sustain its current economic momentum over the medium term.
Retail, one of the core sectors of the economy is expanding and is expected to benefit from Expo 2020. Optimism surrounding the influx of new supply is tempered by slower economic growth brought on by lower oil prices. In this context, sector stakeholders are looking to Dubai Expo 2020 to provide a welcome boost to the sector.
“Growth has slowed from double digits in last decade to high single digits. We expect to maintain this growth rate supported by greater tourist inflows following Expo 2020,” said Christophe Nicaise, CEO of Seddiqi Holdings.