2004-07-10

Dubai

Wired recently posted a fascinating article about Dubai and its quest to become the "media capital" of the Middle East:
Dubai - sandboarder
Unlike neighboring Saudi Arabia, Dubai has never treated its oil as an eternal proposition; oil supplies are expected to last only two more decades, a short-term bankroll to build a better nation. So Dubai has branched out, working to diversify its economy with shipping, tourism, and finance. It's making headway: Last year, only 17 percent of Dubai's gross domestic product came from oil revenue, behind services, transportation, tourism, and hospitality. In comparison, the petroleum sector accounts for 45 percent of Saudi Arabia's GDP.

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Dubai - sandboarder
"In the 30 years since the UAE was founded, Dubai's population has gone from 30,000 to 1 million. Yet only 18 percent of residents are UAE citizens. The rest come from around the world: wage laborers from Asia and the Indian subcontinent; hotel staff from India and Pakistan, the Philippines, and eastern Europe. At the top of the expat heap are handsomely compensated European executives."

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"Perhaps Dubai's most daring free-zone enterprise is Media City, which aims to challenge Cairo as the media capital of the Arab world... Media City offers something neither Cairo nor the rest of the Arab-speaking world can: more freedom of speech. By promising not to censor broadcasts or meddle with programming, Dubai has drawn hundreds of operations to Media City, like international giants CNN and Reuters and what's now become its flagship media group - MBC, the Middle East Broadcasting Company."

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