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Tue 5 Jan 2010 10:56 AM

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Burj Khalifa shows UAE economy is robust - Dubai ruler

Sheikh Mohammed says leaders, private sector 'capable of surmounting difficulties'.

Burj Khalifa shows UAE economy is robust - Dubai ruler
SUPER SHOW: Burj Khalifa lit up by fireworks. (ITP Images)

Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has said the launching of Burj Khalifa was proof that "UAE is a strong country thanks to its leadership, people, economy and infrastructure".

He said the completion of the world's tallest tower, which topped out at 828 metres and was opened in spectacular fashion at a fireworks ceremony on Monday night, showed that the country was "robust" and able to "confront any challenge".

Sheikh Mohammed added: "Is there a financial crisis? The answer is yes, there is a global crisis that we did not create but we could not avoid since it was imposed on us.

"We are part of this world and we cannot shield ourselves and our economy from (the impact of) the crisis that caused more damages to the world's economic superpowers than it did to us," he said in comments published by news agency WAM on Tuesday.

Sheikh Mohammed noted that huge projects were still being developed in the UAE, particularly in Abu Dhabi.

"This is yet another proof that our national economy is robust and that our leadership, institutions and private sector are capable of surmounting difficulties and confronting challenges with resolution, fearlessness and confidence," he said.

"We are able to confront any challenge or crisis, regardless of their magnitude...True leaders prove themselves by the way the deal with crises.

"Thanks to Allah the Almighty, we have the will power, the wise leadership, the strong belief in Allah the Almighty, the faith in our people's capabilities and the patience when the things get hard."

He added: "Let's see which of the world's economies will rise again and shake off the dust first. Let's wait and see."

Dubai renamed the 200-storey building, previously known as the Burj Dubai, in honour of the ruler of Abu Dhabi.

Anonymous 9 years ago

I watched the Burj Khalifa "event" last night on tv. Was I proud? Yes, but at the same time I was shaking my head asking myself "If Dubai can build such an iconic building, why can't they make the simple decisions (I believe they are 'simple') needed to reassure investors that Dubai is a safe place to invest their hard earned money?" Is there a world economic crisis....yes. Is this the reason Dubai is in the state it is in....well, not entirely. Dubai needs to take responsibility for its own mistakes, mistakes it has yet to correct and new mistakes it continues to make. For example... 1. Residency Visas for Property Owners....has this issue been resolved....no. If the UAE as a country solves this issue it would go a long way to instill confidence back into the real estate market. It would not solve all the problems but it is a step in the right direction. 2. Mortgages....are there many options for mortgages...no. Why has it taken more than 1 year to sort out the Tamweel & Amlak situation? There is no logical reason for this delay but when will these companies merge and start loaning money again? Buyers need mortgage options...not everyone is a cash buyer. 3. Affordable mortgages....why are interest rates for mortgages in the range of 8% to 10% when a U.S. mortage can be had for 5% to 6%. It makes no sense unless the UAE is not really interested in reviving the real estate market. By "revive" I do not mean we should bring back the days of crazy speculation but Dubai is an amazing city where families from all over the world live. Why not give these families the opportunity to buy a villa or flat where they can really create a "home" for themselves. I love Dubai. I met my wife here. We have been here for more than 10 years and I don't plan on leaving for a very long time. We have a great quality of life that no other city could offer. But I too am frustrated at what I see as bad decision making that just does not make sense. Congratulations on the opening of the Burj Khalifa. Everyone has had their big evening of fun but now it is time to get back to work to solve the issues specific to Dubai.

Evelyn 9 years ago

It was indeed a spectacular show which I am used to seeing in Dubai. I too feel proud about the many achievement of Dubai. We have lived here for over 20 years and we have witnessed achievements and some unwise decisions. Dubai is very robust city and for sure it will rise again and hope unresolve issues pertaining to investors and residents alike will be addressed to restore confidence.

Billy 9 years ago

Anonymous - absolutely spot on. Not a single word to add. I just hope the powers that be are also reading these words and take note of how they can really show the world how great Dubai is.

Omar 9 years ago

It's obvious that you are in real estate. It's your problem. No one forced anyone to deal in real estate. Of course, it was a bubble that was bound to burst. God gave us brains!How would a house in the desert worth than a house in California!No way!!!!!!It was bound to happen and whoever got himself into greed real estate is paying the price. Other businesses in Dubai are robust although heavily affected. I was badly severely affected by this crisis but fighting for self existence. As you said, no other place could offer us 50% of what Dubai is. so we say: Tahnk you Dubai. We are lucky and proud of being here!

Peter Vine 9 years ago

As I read the international press on the opening of Burj Khalifa one thought comes to mind....no actually two! They are 'begrudgery' and 'bias'. Today's Times newspaper in Uk runs a full page article that is so one sided that it does not do justice to the newspaper's record. Where is the praise for a building that is NOT just the world's tallest but also probably the most visually stunning? This is truly an epic achievement by all concerned. There is no need to wrap it up in all the negativity of sensationalist journalism. This building is so beautiful and so impressive...so eye catching, appealing, stunning....and such a huge engineering feat! PLEASE could the international press for once address what they see before them instead of trying to create a counterpoint to the obvious story. No need for hyperbole. No need for sycophantic praise. No need for exaggeration. BUT there is a need to tell this as it is....it is a truly massive achievement that has created a wonderful building and created new technologies to solve the many problems that were faced. Well done Emaar and all those involved.

Anonymous 9 years ago

Omar, if you re-read my comments you will not find any mention of the bubble pricing or how anyone has been hurt if they purchased real estate at the height of the bubble. That is not the focus of my comments so I am not sure why you have gone off on your tangent? No, I am not in the real estate business and yes, I agree that it makes no sense that a townhouse in Uptown Mirdif (for example) is priced at 3 or 4 times what a similar townhouse could be bought for in Orlando or many other major markets in the U.S. But put aside the bubble and the past and let's focus on the future and the basics of: 1. Residence Visas 2. Mortgage Options 3. Affordable/Fair Mortgage Interest Rates I believe if these 3 issues are sorted then Dubai becomes a very attractive place to invest in a home if you live & work here, or if you are a retiree who wants a winter place to escape the harsh winters from Europe & the UK, and countless others potential property buyers. There is a trickle down impact if more people move to Dubai....people buy cars, car insurance, food at Spinneys, Carrefour, etc. they go to shopping malls to restaurants, cinemas, etc. An economist could probably be more detailed than I but you do not need an MBA from Harvard to realize that assisting real estate buyers is a good thing. My final point....to say that "It's your problem" regarding your opinion of the real estate situation. It is actually everyone's problem, whether you bought real estate or not. All of my friends and colleagues, many of whom did not buy real estate, have all cut back on their spending. Again, the trickle down impact has impacted everyone, not just those involved in the real estate market.

Shakespear 9 years ago

I do have some to add... On residency visa for property owners - you have to realize that this decision can only be from a federal level and not at a state level. Imagine this situation - the poorest state in the US decides it wants to boost its economy and starts offering residency for property owners. You would have a massive influx of people into the state and consequently into the country. Personally i agree with their policy of not granting residency for property owners (and no i am not an emirati national) Amlak & Tamweel - agreed this needs to be resolved, but the deeper issue facing dubai is one of liquidity and without liquidity the ability to lend is non-existent. Affordable mortgages - this is dictated by supply/demand dynamics and there currently is a shortage on supply. That being said, i do agree on the need to take responsibility for mistakes

Omar 9 years ago

Peter, I have been monitoring the global media and all what i can say is that once again, the United States of America proved to be the real leader of this world. No wonder why CNN is BY FAR, the world's news leader. Their coverage was nothing less than perfect and professional (do not tell me that CNN is in a state of denial??!!!) British media are facing what the Lebanese media have been for some time. It's a trend to be a journalist and it's easy to write and talk but commenting like CNN is soemthing totally different!!!!! In Lebanon, everybody wants to be a journalist and the result complete anarchy instead of democracy. In the UK, young men who are 25 years old are reporting on front pages?!i am talking about leading newspapers such as FT. How the hell could a 25-year old person report professionally whith adequate background without knowing the language and culture of the country he is reporting from??!!! I know top British journalists working for Dow Jones, Reuters, etc,... and they harshly mocked several journlaists who write about Dubai. So, Dubai and UAE do not care much. They are here to stay and they are giving lessons to the entire world what work is all about. To Anonymous, real estate as a whole is not a necessity!In Germany, 70% of Germans do not own their houses yet, they are great and successful!I do not have an MBA from Harvard but i can figure out. This reminds me of 3 VPs of a leading investment bank who have MBAs from HBS. They came to me wiping and crying for losing in their properties they bought in 2007. They were laid off and returned to England penniless! Well, i regret that people with MBA from top schools fell in the trap. Greed has no limits. and The mortgage rate is something debatable. It's high because there is a demand. The market dictates the rate and nothing else!residency visas is something again debatable!I know 2 friends in Tokyo who were born in Tokyo from Japanese mothers, foreign fathers. They do not know any place other than Japan and their fathers left away a long time back. Yet, they renew their residencies every 3 years!!!!!Does this mean Japan is not a good place to work. NOO, it's the world's 2nd largest economy!but it has its own system. It might sound odd but??nothing is perfect. Having said that, i strongly believe that the demographic inbalance is absolutely the biggest challenge facing UAE!!So, yes, it could be more appealing to have long term visas!But, it's not a must. USA does not issue long term visas so easily!!!!!!Yet, it's the dream of everyone on eartth! There are many in UAE who do not feel confortable to see themselves a minority. I do not believe UAE should grant visas left and right. They must be careful to preserve their identity. Would you allowany one to come and live in UK so freely. NOO> Otherwise, you would become a minority!Would you allow that. 2 years ago, the Heathrow - London highway was blocked by British chaps who felt the threat of other Europeans invading England!So, i, an Arab American, am against granting visas left and right to foreigners in UAE. The other challenge UAE is facing i stransparency. The recent steps of Shikh Mohammed help in this regard but still more is needed!In brief, UAE is great and has put itself on the GLOBAL map. Burj Khalifa is symbolic. Well done UAE. Proud and happy to be here!

Mo 9 years ago

Lets not forget that Dubai promised residency visas, Investors don't care about local law or federal law. Do not expect real end user property investors to return for a very very long time.

Eddie 9 years ago

Dear Omar, I don't blame you for your comments as everyone is entitled to an opinion and the dignity of expressing it. I do however blame AB for publishing such utter twaddle. AB, being the bastion of UAE business press, you have a duty and obligation to your readers who seek a balanced view.