UAE Infrastructural Development and Impact on the Economy: The Home-Coming of Dubai 2020

The transport sector plays an important contribution to any given economy. The more advanced the transport infrastructure the more likely the economy will grow and vice versa. Recent studies have continued to indicate an increasing correlation between economic opportunities and mobility of people, goods, and information. When transport systems are efficient, the multiplier effect in terms of increased economic and social opportunities, better accessibility to markets, employment, and additional investments are recorded. The reverse is also true in that deficiency in the transport system in terms of capacity or reliability is associated with an economic cost such as missed opportunities and lower quality of life.

At micro levels transportation is related to production, consumer, and producer costs. Transportation at macro levels is associated with the level of employment and income and studies in developed economies estimate the transport and logistics to include movement of goods costs account between 6% and 25% of the GDP[1]. Dubai will be hosting the World Expo 2020, a first the Middle East, Africa, and the South Asia region. This six-month event puts immense importance on infrastructure development of the host city. It is estimated that Shanghai, China that hosted Expo 2010 invested about $40 billion on its development that necessitated 6 additional metro lines, roads, tunnels, bridges, and bolt rail. A similar impact is expected in Dubai 2020 - a homecoming of its traditional and longtime trading partners. 190 countries have confirmed their participation in Expo 2020 Dubai[2] and with a population of around 3.2 billion and a collective GDP of around 6.5 trillion dollars, for a successful establishment of Expo 2020 $8 billion worth infrastructure required for the thousands of tourists expected at the Expo 2020.

The exhibitors are expected to energize business, hospitality, real estate, recreation increasing hotel business, transportations, communication, catering facilities among other sectors. Transport infrastructure provides the core of the success of the Expo where more flights into Dubai will lead to more tourism, an efficient ground transportation network will result to more retail business and an expectant boom to the economy. The Dubai Chamber of Commerce predicts that Dubai’s GDP will grow by 10.5 % almost twice the growth in 2018[3]. Dubai 2020 will be a major shot in the arm for Dubai’s economy with an expected multiplier and ripple effect in and around the Emirate. Enter Sharjah: In anticipation of the overflow from Dubai 2020 and expected residual benefits of infrastructural development, The Sharjah government has approved several infrastructural projects, for example, the University City Road public realm enhancement project.

This project along the will see the development of a world-class public realm covering approximately 52,000 square meters that are expected to encourage outdoor activity and a healthy lifestyle[4]. Some of the highlights of the project include pedestrian paths, bicycle tracks, public parking, and dedicated parking areas for the people of determination and sustainable vegetation. The project will also create a more inviting business climate for local businesses to thrive as an overflow of the thousands of visitors expected from Dubai 2020[5]. [1] Paul Rodrigue and Dr. Theo Notteboom https://transportgeography.org [2] The Expo 2020 is an opportunity for countries from every corner of the planet to showcase their ideas, innovations and culture to millions of visitors and every participating nation. [3] Adapted article in https://www.adat.ae/5-areas-dubai-expo-2020-impact and https://gulfnews.com/uae/190-countries-confirm-participation-in-expo-2020 [4] Public realm is a Municipal Development Plan (MDP) defined as the space around, between and within buildings that are publicly accessible, including streets, squares, parks and open spaces. [5] Sharjah Urban Planning Council https://supc.shj.ae/initiatives

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