The ruler of Dubai insisted Saturday his Gulf emirate had recovered from the worst of the fallout from the global economic crisis and also defended the grandiose vision of the city state.
"We have overcome the crisis with the least amount of losses," Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed al-Maktoum, who is also prime minister of theUnited Arab Emirates, told Dubai's first e-press conference.
"For us in the United Arab Emirates, I can safely say that we have succeeded in containing the risks of the global financial crisis in record time," said Mohammad.
Mohammad put the recovery down to "the additional liquidity that the Abu Dhabi government pumped into the Emirates' banks" and the bond issuance of $20 billion.
However, he acknowledged that economic growth in the UAE would probably fall to around three percent in 2009, down from 7.4 percent last year. But he ruled out introducing income tax.
On the world crisis, he said: "I think the panic phase is over now, especially after the intervention of governments in many major countries to regulate financial and banking sectors, and the allocation of large sums of money to revitalize their economies."
The Dubai “bubble”
As for Dubai itself, Mohammad shrugged off comments that “the bubble" had burst on its dazzlingly rapid development.
"I keep hearing the expression of 'the bubble' for the past couple of decades. In my opinion, this bubble is found only in the minds of those who often keep repeating it and do not know its meaning," he said.
The 59-year-old ruler also brushed aside a spate of negative articles in the international media.
"The stereotypes are being brought up. It seems that any successful Arab model in economic development invites such negative treatment in the international media," he said.
The architect of Dubai's emergence on the world stage as a regional business, IT and leisure hub defended the emirate’s achievements.
"We are not growing in order to be a model for its highest building in the world, best airport, and most luxurious hotel, and the largest seaport and man-made islands," he said.
"The Dubai model is beyond that... Dubai is an Arab city with scarce natural resources but with a clear vision of comprehensive development and social needs," he said.
It has "succeeded through investments in human resources, its unique geographical location and trade expertise."