CEO of Citi - Middle East division spoke to LSE graduates about Dubai's increasing "global attractiveness to investors, corporations and talent."
Globalisation, urbanisation and digitisation are the key trends shaping the future of Dubai as it develops into a global city, according to Atiq ur Rehman, CEO Citi - Middle East division.
Speaking to an audience of over 100 graduating Executive MBA students and alumni at London Business School's 'Spring Celebration Event', Mr. Rehman discussed the international appeal of Dubai that is fuelling its competitiveness as a global city.
His keynote address on 'Dubai - a global city' was delivered on the eve of Morgan Stanley Capital International Inc's. (MSCI) announcement that the United Arab Emirates has been promoted to emerging market status, a move Mr. Rehman believes will bring significant benefits to Dubai.
"Emerging markets (EM) will continue to dominate in growth, with EM contribution to world GDP set to grow to 70 per cent by 2030, up from 50 per cent currently," said Mr. Rehman. "The rise of EM-based multinationals is also part of the globalisation that is driving competitiveness in growth cities. Dubai will become a microcosm of key trends that the world's most competitive cities already have in common."
The UAE's elevation from frontier to emerging market status recognises the country's strategy to diversify its economy and become a regional hub for global business and tourism.
"Dubai's stable, efficient and pro-business environment, aviation connectivity across more than 200 cities and proximity to the world's largest sovereign wealth funds are just some of the considerations that are increasing the city's global attractiveness to investors, corporations and talent," said Mr. Rehman.
"Significant investment into infrastructure is making Dubai an enjoyable place to live - it has provided the social eco-system for expat families. This is especially important for attracting talent. We find that it's easy to get talent in, and much harder to get talent out."
The audience, which included senior representatives from Dubai-based Consulates, heard about the benefits of Dubai's strategic location which gives it access to 50 per cent of the world's population within five hours.
With its global aviation connectivity, friendly time zone, world-class infrastructure and services, combined with a diverse population and talent pool, Mr Rehman believes "there is no rival in the Middle East to Dubai's position as a global city."
Adding further analysis into Dubai's growth and development was Andrew Scott, Professor of Economics and Deputy Dean at London Business School, who provided commentary and insights throughout the hour-long discussion.
"Today we are seeing something very significant - the re-wiring of the global economy through the growth of big cities," said Professor Scott. "But cities are fragile, they grow by sucking in resources and they can quickly spin out of control.
"Dubai presents a very unique opportunity that needs to be harnessed, developed and invested in."