Dubai tourists
Apart from the physical movement of goods and services, Dubai can shape itself to be a key player in the digital space too. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Dubai is well placed to be the world’s primary gateway for physical and digital trade, as well as be the Metaverse capital. And global trade routes will get rewritten and investments rejigged in a post-pandemic world.

Not only that, the UAE is positioned to sit at the gateway for all global trade between East and West, with China, India and the US being its top trading partners, said Kevin S. Parikh, Chairman and CEO of the consultancy Avasant. This will help the UAE double its GDP by 2031 and grow by three times its non-oil exports, Parikh added.

Four new trading blocs are likely to emerge as the concept of globalisation gives way to regionalisation in light of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict — a Western trading bloc, a Sino-Russian trade bloc, a South-South one, and a Middle East Gateway — with the last one becoming the hub that the other three will access. Parikh stressed on the likelihood of new currency unions emerging as global trade equations change and new trading hubs emerge.

“Argentina and Brazil are in talks to create a common currency, to reduce reliance on the US dollar, with plans to invite other countries in Latin America to cooperate,” Parikh said.

Digital boost to business

Introducing digital assets will help businesses unlock over 10 times their value, Parikh stressed, and will unlock $30 trillion worth of opportunities by 2030. Most of these gains will come from investments in the Metaverse, and Dubai’s investment in the sector will be critical to bridge connections and support trade in a regionalised world.

“New channels and platforms that produce, sell and consumer products and service in the digital space will be the driving factor for businesses in future. People will be able to share goods and services, experiences in Metaverse. The younger generation will probably do it earlier than us.”

Digital investment will also help bridge the gaping digital divide we have today. “Around three billion people still don’t have access to the internet today. We saw with Elon Musk’s Starlink how communication routes can be established within hours in an emergency, such as when the Russia-Ukraine war broke out.”