When the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were created in 1971, the federal government paid little attention to industry. Apart from hydrocarbons (oil and gas) whose exploitation mainly took place in Abu Dhabi, the seven emirates lacked other natural resources. Other factors contributed to the subordination of industrial development. The UAE had a very small population and therefore no manpower to work in the factories. The domestic market was also limited. The oil revenues generated a rentier-state mentality among the local population. Meanwhile, a minority of Emiratis and Arabs already living in the UAE engaged in business, called for the foresight of the federal government and the government of Abu Dhabi’s support in the matter of industrial autonomy rather than dependence. The two decades that followed independence showed the leading role of Dubai in the industrialisation of the UAE. Beyond the strategic choice of diversifying economic activities, the emirate, and namely the Maktoum family, modernised the spirit of moving on for survival. Security was not conceived as the support of local production to satisfy domestic needs, but rather as the ability to generate enough wealth to support a growing and forward-looking population. To a certain extent, the Japanese model influenced Dubai and the UAE more than the old industrialised European or North-American countries.
- economic growth
- United Arab Emirates