It has been able to achieve this through its visionary leadership that has been able to think outside the box, come up with appropriate development strategies, articulate and follow them through accordingly, which has transformed Dubai into one of the most beautiful cities in the world in terms of infrastructural development, within less than four decades.
It is by the way referred to as the “city of superlatives” in reference to its many infrastructural structures that are either the best or the biggest in the whole world today. Predictably, this has attracted international investors from all over the world to come and invest in Dubai and the UAE in general. (Note: this little digression is particularly addressed to Nigerian rulers).
What particularly explains how Nigerians troop to Dubai is the frequency of the daily flights that operate from various Nigerian airports to Dubai. Emirates Airline alone maintains two flights a day between Lagos and Dubai. This is apart from the other airlines that operate on the same route, and also those who operate from Kano and Abuja to the same destination frequently. Interestingly enough, Nigeria does not have a standard national carrier at all, let alone think of competing on these highly lucrative routes.
Nigerians make extremely bulky orders of almost whatever one can reasonably think of. After all, Nigeria is the largest single consumer market in the whole of Africa. I am sure, should Nigeria change for the better, where all the stuff it imports are manufactured or at least assembled in Nigeria, the vast majority of suppliers in Dubai would have to close down and leave, because the tiny UAE population, which is still within the range of one million, cannot absorb that huge quantity of merchandise. In this case, the government, which basically depends on such small scale and medium enterprises, would have to suffer terribly indeed.
Nigerian rich elite also patronize Dubai’s world class real estate sector, where they purchase properties for various purposes. Likewise, Dubai and the UAE in general is one of the most preferred destinations for academic pursuits for their children, as well as being where they would prefer for medical, tourism, leisure and indeed sundry purposes, all of which involve huge spending of course.
Perhaps the most stunning point in Nigerians' role in sustaining Dubai’s economy, is the frequent movements of bulky shipments of raw US Dollars or Euros that take place almost on a daily basis from particularly Lagos and Kano airports to Dubai. In a yet obscure collaboration, there seemingly exists some kind of arrangement between some Nigerian major foreign currency exchange operators particularly in Lagos and Kano on one hand, and their counterparts in Dubai on the other, where such Nigerians source for huge amounts of that hard currencies (definitely from the CBN and other Nigerian banks), pack it neatly in boxes and ship it under the custody of someone to their Dubai counterparts, who obviously trade in it and share the profit between them.
What is particularly surprising is how such trips take place almost daily under the watch of not only Nigerian officials at the airports (who are probably compromised of course), but with the full knowledge of the Dubai government officials, who actually facilitate it. Incidentally, there are people whose only job is shuttling between Nigeria and Dubai to deliver such consignments, and they are well paid for it. And these questionable hard currency movements happen only from Nigeria to Dubai.
In any case, regardless of its legality or otherwise, it is obvious that the Dubai financial sector that provides life to the economy is substantially dependent on such hard currencies that flow from Nigeria, without which the local supply of the currencies may not be able to meet the demand, which would of course create imbalance and affect the economy as a whole.
Mohammad Qaddam Sidq Isa writes from UAE. For more of his articles visit www.qaddamsidq.blogspot.com