Middle East turns to property to boost economy

middle east, dubai

Middle-East states including the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are launching ambitious property projects and other initiatives to rejuvenate the Gulf economy, reducing its reliance on oil while attracting foreign capital and talent from China and elsewhere.

The Gulf Cooperation Council, a group of six states comprising Saudi, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar, grew 5.9 per cent in 2021 as an economy, driven by a surge in oil sales and energy prices. The economy shrank by almost 5 per cent in 2020 as the pandemic crashed oil prices to near US$40 a barrel, according to the World Bank.

“Money can’t buy you love, but it can buy you international talent,” said Kashif Ansari, co-founder and CEO at Juwai IQI, which operates a portal with US$4 trillion of property listings. “Investing billions of dollars in hi-tech projects and new lifestyle destinations can succeed at attracting talent.”

“Some Chinese professionals are using Dubai as a home base during the pandemic,” said Ansari, former country head of Albatha in the UAE. “They can obtain a one-year remote working visa and wait out 2022 on the beachfront. From Dubai, they can easily spend weekends in Europe or visit the US. A whole range of travel and lifestyle options are possible that just aren’t available to someone residing in China under various quarantine rules.”

Read more: South China Morning Post

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