The country has gone to great lengths to ensure that routine activities can continue, albeit with some public health restrictions
Draconian measures to contain the Covid pandemic have wreaked havoc on the global economy. The abrupt and almost instantaneous slowdown had some of the worst effects on world markets on record. Economic growth has plummeted by 20% in a matter of months. Global poverty projections have increased by 700 million people.
In 2021, more than 100 countries continued to impose lockdown measures in an attempt to quell further waves of the virus. In the context of this drastic model, one country implemented a very different strategy.
From the onset of the crisis, the UAE government made it clear its intention to mitigate as much as possible any disruption caused by public health measures. Authorities have widely resorted to curfews rather than rushing towards complete closures. When public facilities such as schools were closed by government decree, they were limited and supervised within a specific time frame which helped maintain continuity at the social and economic levels. Perhaps more importantly, the government has strengthened its hospital administration policies to provide maximum care for all coronavirus patients and expand capacity to ensure these vital facilities can continue to function.
In general, the UAE has gone to great lengths to ensure that routine activities continue, albeit with some public health restrictions. When it comes to international travel, for example, Dubai, one of the largest international shopping and tourist centers, has a testing system in place to help keep its airports open. Although flights were completely suspended for brief periods, this system remains the base of operations for UAE travel today.
Now, with the focus on post-pandemic recovery, the Emirates are experiencing some of the fastest economic rebounds in the world.
Already in June, international observers noted that the UAE was rising steadily to regain its losses from the 2020 crisis. The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Regional Economic Outlook (REO) reported a month earlier that the increase oil prices and the country’s early vaccine rollout (Dubai started its vaccination program in early December 2020) would greatly contribute to its rebound.
At the end of July, the government was already implementing strategies to diversify the economy and extend the effects of the recovery to different sectors. The Dubai Land Department reported, for example, that the emirate’s real estate market totaled 6,388 deals worth MAD 14.79 billion in the span of four weeks, which is the highest value. high real estate sales since 2014. According to a more recent IMF report, the non-oil economy of the United Arab Emirates is set to grow 3% by the end of 2021. To maintain this momentum, the federal governments and locals continue to provide fiscal support to businesses and other parts of the economy. In total, the UAE authorities have already spent some 400 billion dirhams to support the economic recovery. The UAE Central Bank’s targeted economic support program, with a budget of 50 billion dirhams for a zero-cost lending initiative, has been extended until June 2022. This will ensure a constant flow of liquidity in the markets for next year and will stimulate both consumers and businesses. owner’s confidence.
The UAE’s rebound has also caught the attention of foreign capital. Interestingly, it is the non-oil industries such as real estate, tourism, and the IT sector that hold some of the greatest promise for investors. The Middle East chief analyst at investment firm Aberdeen Standard recently told Trade Arabia that the attractiveness of the UAE economy for inventors will be a major driver of the country’s continued growth. . “Investors can expect key sectors to move in a positive direction over the coming months. They will welcome this rebound in the economy after the GDP contraction of 4.8% in 2020. “
While the economic and social circumstances of countries differ considerably from those of the UAE, the model implemented by policymakers in Dubai is an example in many ways for the rest of the world.
By aiming for maximum resilience and minimum restriction, the UAE has ensured the least damage to its private and public sectors from health measures. Liberating its industries, maintaining constant and ongoing public support, and taking steps to diversify the economy and attract investment have all paid off, both in getting the country through the worst times of the world. pandemic and paving the way for recovery.
Mohammad Fawaz is the director of the Gulf Policy Research Group