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A date to remember: 27.11.2013 – The Dubai Expo 2020 is confirmed

Expo-2020

By John Bailey, financial planner at Acuma Independent Financial Advice.

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November 27, 2013 9:20 by



It is maybe not so ironic that within a few days of the nation’s 42nd celebration of independence, Dubai should confirm what a meteoric rise to prominence it has seen by being enviably selected as the host of Expo 2020.

After all the waiting, hype and media attention, the efforts over the past two years have paid off for Dubai. Indeed, in a recent survey of 65,000 people in the region, 99 per cent were in favour of Dubai getting the rights to host the event.  Here, we look at what lies ahead.

A well-documented $8.4 billion infrastructure spend in the region is required to bring the emirate up to the standards required to host the event, which includes a plethora of new structures and services, ranging from a new world trade centre to enhanced roads, airports and Metro networks.  While this has been on the radar for some time, it will now be accelerated, as projects begin across the region and the shape of the landscape will change literally as quickly as the sand it’s built on. Not only does this ensure the best possible story for sustained economic growth in the region, but also leaves the legacy of better parks, shopping centres, road and transport links for generations to come.

We will also see massive competition from both global and local resourcing companies to put in place the 277,000 jobs needed to start the massive project and surrounding infrastructure.  In turn, recruiters and head hunters from all over the world will start casting an eye on the region, as top jobs and associated salaries hit the construction, hospitality and financial sectors. This massive surge of employment is estimated to increase salaries in some sectors by as much as 25 per cent over the coming years, with an increase in associated ‘expat’ living packages.  Alongside this, the entrepreneurial spirit of the region will continue to grow, as people see increased opportunities attached to the expo.

The year 2013 has already seen a 13 per cent increase in small and medium sized enterprises, and this will increase further over the next seven years, which, in turn, will feed more money into the local economy.

The successful bid has also come at a much-needed time for the housing sector, which has been subject to speculation of another bubble, similar to that of the financial crisis.  There has been much publicity lately over housing prices as the Expo 2020 bid was factored into the market, with prices soaring by more than 20 per cent and rents by 40 per cent, which has led to the implementation of cooling measures to settle the market.  While there will be some short-term fluctuations over the coming months, it will provide a strong impetus on sustained growth over the next seven years, with property prices and rents likely to increase on a more sustained and stable basis than what we have seen recently, which will settle the nerves of both investors and residents that are fearing exorbitant rent increases.

While previous expos have left mixed legacies in terms of longevity, for me, Dubai is fully deserving of its newest achievement and will provide a fitting event to be remembered by, giving something back to those that live here.  It is also a timely reminder of not only how far Dubai has come, but also what can be achieved in such a short amount of time.



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