We are starting to see more tender projects in every field, especially in construction and materials. When the recession happened, people started to do more refurbishment, and it is amazing how that segment has developed. We managed to find work, despite the fact that the competition is fierce. During the boom, we saw many new construction companies from abroad start up, but most of them have not survived in this tough market. However, the companies that were originally in Dubai are persevering. Some smaller companies did stay in the Emirate, but the volume of work has definitely decreased over the last three years. Dubai is getting back on track, and we are very proud to have a leader like HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. He worked very hard, took on all the pressure, and did not blame or point fingers. Instead, he made a comeback, and he led us to the positive situation we are in today; many of Dubai’s financial problems are dealt with, and everything is under control. We have gained credibility in the international market, and more global companies want to come back to Dubai. We have already begun to see many people return. Originally, Dubai was based on trade and services, and we are starting to build a financial hub. We have never been based on development or the buying and selling of apartments. In 2011, 150,000 new residents moved to Dubai.
KHALDOUN R. TABARI
The focus is now on the infrastructure demand in the Arab world, driven by the huge growth in population. What that growth means is the need for more housing, water, power, and sewage lines, and this is the core specialty of the integrated engineering services that Drake and Scull offers. We are seeing tremendous growth in this part of the world and also in Asia and North Africa, which is why we are now expanding into India, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Algeria, and Djibouti. There are substantial opportunities for our services in these areas and especially in the water and power sectors. These prospects are here and they are here to stay. It’s not about a trend—it is about a position. There are plenty of projects that we are executing at the moment across our entire business streams in the MENA region, so the business model of Drake and Scull follows a pattern. We try to meet all demands in the construction industry from end to end while maintaining the highest level of quality and international standards.
Abu Dhabi is building nuclear energy, and we are technical advisors for that program. We were the first company hired, almost three years ago. Dubai is talking about building a possible nuclear facility, and if that materializes, we would have an interest in that. To me, renewable energy is the future in this region, despite the traditional wealth of oil and gas reserves. In the longer term, especially with the oil and gas crisis, these commodities are being seen as more useful if exported, so governments are looking for means to generate renewable power. It’s not only economic—there are also environmental concerns in the long term, and I really applaud the UAE for being a pioneer in that respect. Masdar City is a good example of that. Such initiates, creating a new lifestyle without generating carbon, are an important consideration for GCC countries. I believe that there will be more renewable energy in the industrial sector here, such as in the poly-silicon industry. In Qatar, we are involved in a project to make a polysilicon facility. We believe that renewable energy opens new markets, especially in the support industries to create manufacturing facilities.
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