By His Excellency Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Chambers
Over the past few decades, globalisation has transformed economies and made our world more interconnected than ever before. Here, His Excellency Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Chambers, reflects on the state of globalisation in 2023 and explores the role of Dubai as a global gateway for trade.
For a time, globalization felt like an unstoppable force. Fueled by advances in technology, and the increased mobility of goods and labour, our economies grew closer, and our societies became more connected.
However, geopolitical tensions, the pandemic, and persistent inflation are now making their mark on our global economic system. Their impact has been partly disguised by high prices in the energy sector, which caused international trade to remain resilient in 2022 and even rebound in the first quarter of 2023. But with stagnated economic growth emanating from developing countries and rifts between nations widening, the face of globalisation is changing. The result is a shift towards ‘deglobalisation’ and the formation of new regionalised economic blocs.
The impact of ‘nearshoring’ and ‘friend shoring’
In response to increased volatility in our global markets, nations have begun to look inward and prioritise bilateral trade agreements – most often with neighbouring or nearby countries which share the same political values and trade pacts. These practices, referred to as ‘friend shoring’ and ‘nearshoring’, have been on the rise since late 2022 thanks to global conflict, Brexit and international polarisation.
On the face of it, this trend could be seen as a step backwards. Aren’t we stronger as a global community? Shouldn’t we form ties with as many economies as possible? Nations which favour friend shoring would argue that it can add greater resilience to supply chains, increase economic opportunity, and lower risk. For example, ongoing tension between the US and China has prompted the US to relocate trade agreements and production to Mexico, offering the nation significant economic gains.
But given that global trade volumes are growing – though at a moderate pace – Dubai’s economy can continue to benefit from the new face of globalisation. It can do this by leveraging its location at the crossroads of Asia, Europe, and Africa as well as capitalising on the strong growth in foreign investments in the emirate.
Globalization has been one of the main factors that has turned Dubai into a global hub for trade and commerce, in just a few decades. Today, the emirate is set to further strengthen its global ties and is poised to double the size of its economy over the next 10 years.
Expanding Dubai’s global reach
Earlier this year, the Dubai Government launched the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33), which aims to double the size of the emirate’s economy by 2033 through 100 transformational projects.
These projects will launch Dubai’s plan for green and sustainable manufacturing, add 400 cities to Dubai’s foreign trade map, open economic corridors with Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia – and much more besides. These landmark projects will promote export growth and sustainable economic expansion in the emirate. They will also establish Dubai as one of the top three global cities of the world, one of the five leading logistic hubs and one of the top four global financial centers.
One way to ensure Dubai’s position as a worldwide gateway for business and trade is by pursuing continued global expansion.
In 2022, the Dubai Government launched ‘Dubai Global’, an initiative spearheaded by Dubai Chambers which aims to support the emirate’s economic diversification plan and competitiveness. The initiative will establish 50 integrated commercial representative offices in five continents during the next few years.
Supporting this goal, Dubai International Chamber, the global arm of Dubai Chambers, has opened new international offices in Asia, Latin America, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, bringing the total number of our offices worldwide to 27. Through this network, we are accelerating the D33 goal of bringing Dubai’s FDI to over AED650 billion and its foreign trade to AED25.6 trillion while strengthening bilateral trade and supporting the internationalisation of Dubai companies.
Dubai Chambers is also supporting the emirate’s economic ambitions by creating key opportunities for the business community to form global and regional ties. Next month, for example, Dubai Chambers will host the Dubai Business Forum. Key public and private stakeholders from across the globe will gather for a transformational two-day programme of networking and deal-making. The event is the perfect opportunity for Dubai business leaders to strengthen their ties with international organisations both near and far – supporting the emirate’s regional and global endeavours.
In the years to come, our global economy will continue to shift and restructure itself in response to market volatility. But by remaining agile and open to opportunities on all fronts, Dubai will continue to lead the world as a hub for innovation, international trade, and tech-driven enterprise.
To register for the Dubai Business Forum, head to dubaibusinessforum.com