the fight against the pandemic at the service of a global ambition

In April 1994 she was invited to the 10th Congress of the Association of Arab Cities in Dubai. The highlight of these days was the inauguration of Mamzar Park, a municipal garden on the northern outskirts of the city. Pride of city officials, derided by many guests: “a shameless waste of water and money”… No one seemed to see the intention of luring companies from developed countries to these arid lands.

In 1971 I had witnessed the end of a civil war in Yemen pitting the Imamate and the Republic; 1981 in Arabia to expand oil assets to the borders of the Nefud; and in 1990 from Bahrain to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. In my opinion, Dubai’s belief in the future deserves respect.

→ANALYSIS. The United Arab Emirates, the state on the Gulf

The pandemic has presented the UAE with an opportunity for a new challenge. Back in April 2020, I was impressed by the effectiveness of its threat response. The Emirates are the most open country on earth: Not only are 9 out of 10 residents foreigners, the economy is also based on this openness, be it in terms of goods, finance or tourism. The closure was therefore radical but brief: four weeks of confinement was enough to stem the tide, with international border controls supplemented by controls between the emirates themselves.

→ REPORT. Dubai, a crossroads in the desert

The efficient healthcare system, the availability of testing and protective tools contrasted with the disorganization that had gripped Europe. The authorities had learned the lesson from the SARS epidemic in 2003 or that of MERS-Covid in 2013; and they had the ability to control the population thanks to the implementation for several years of theeGovernment based on artificial intelligence.

From resilience to “vision”

The economy has certainly suffered from the effects of the global crisis as the departure of many foreigners has been reduced to unemployment by the collapse in tourism and the economy. But as I saw in early April, the country held out.

Better still, she took this opportunity to continue her march toward the “vision” embodied by her leaders. The Dubai 2020 World Expo will be maintained, although now in 2021 it coincides with the 50th anniversary of the federation: it will gain even more splendor, symbolizing the alliance between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, its two pillars.

→ RECIT. Abu Dhabi and Dubai, innovation in the middle of the desert

The pandemic itself provided an opportunity to demonstrate the will to power and the ability to lead: the Emirates have supported the World Food Program by delivering medical equipment to more than a hundred poor countries, while the most powerful nations have turned themselves in: humanitarian aid, which are consistent with the sOverall strategy demonstrated by executives. Increasingly, this strategy involves the merging of public and private interests, a mix that ensures financial resources as well as economic success and geopolitical progress.

A balance game between the two planetary giants

Typical of these hybrid structures is the “42 Group” founded in 2018 under the aegis of Sheikh Tahnoun, younger brother of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, MBZ: Its capital is partly held by Mubadala, the Public Fund for Abu Dhabi Investment. The company, which specializes in new security and artificial intelligence technologies, has just caused a stir by starting production of Sinopharm’s Chinese anti-Covid-19 vaccine in the Emirates. With a target of 75 to 100 million cans per year, it is of course a question of competing with the large Western suppliers, particularly with the countries of the South.

→ REPORT. Abu Dhabi, beyond the black gold

The alliance with a Chinese industrialist comes after further agreements with Huawei and Alibaba Cloudsrepresents a strategic decision. But at the same time, “G 42” was the first Emirati company to open an office in Israel, and the American company Silver Lake, one of the world leaders in the field of new technologies, has just 800 million dollars to its capital contributed .

In a world where the rivalry between the two American and Chinese giants is intensifying, Emirati leaders are ushering in a new phase aimed at making the Emirates a center of balance that extends well beyond the confines of its regional context.

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