Dubai is one of the Middle East countries which have proved to be successful after they successfully managed their economy after the 2009 crisis. The backbone for the development of Dubai was the huge foreign investments which helped the infrastructure to grow significantly. These development were also well supported by clear government policies which had been formulated. Due to its vast growth and development, Dubai has become a dessert gem of the Middle East region because of the various products like tourism which the country offers through a number of its seven-star luxury hotels spread out throughout the city and accessed through well-developed infrastructure.
The economic growth rate of Dubai grew significantly fast, and because of its vast oil reserves, its economic development grew rapidly over the years. In fact, it is estimated that Dubai has one of the highest GDP in the world. I, therefore, find the case of Dubai as an interesting case because, despite its rapid growth and infrastructural development, it is still experiencing challenges which are in most cases perceived to be solved through economic growth. The challenges which Dubai currently face include environmental problems, increasing productivity, and socio-economic problems. I am inclined to choose these particular problems because there is a perception that the growth of Dubai has been excellent and did not face challenges. I, therefore, seek to provide insight into the problems that could derail the growth of Dubai.
The skylines of Dubai is one of the most sparkling sites in the Middle East but looking down on the ground one realizes the very many environmental issues that have resulted from the rapid growth achieved in Dubai. Growth has been some intense to the extent that people have forgotten about the adverse effects that their actions have had on the environment. According to Alderman (2010), it is alleged that tourists had swum amid raw sewage in Dubai's the Persian Gulf. There are also allayed concerns about the well-being of construction workers who live in shanties which are tucked away from the city. The concern arises from the deteriorating living conditions in which they live in.
The rapid growth witnessed in Dubai has brought problems including sewage treatment operations that have not meet the demands that have come with the rapid development. Dubai's single waste treatment plant handled 480,000 cubic meters of wastewater on a daily basis. This is nearly twice the capacity that the plant should properly handle. Due to the enormous strain put on this treatment plant, many drivers that carried the load would dispose of the load down the drains which lead to the Jumeirah suburb. Demonstrably, the huge population has resulted in a strain in the waste management system, and as a result, the same waste products have been let to infiltrate back to the environment even before they are treated because of the huge strain which is put on treatment plants
According to (Allen, 2009), construction workers lived in filthy environments with poorly constructed latrines and raw smell of sewages scattered in some places. Roads leading to those residential areas were littered with garbage and waterlogs. Initially, the conditions were blamed on nearby sewage plants, but the reality of the matter indicate that the migrant workers lived in poor environmental conditions. All these incidences happened despite the strict contractual guidelines which are in place with sub-developers to safeguard the rights of migrant workers by providing good living conditions and working conditions. This is just, but a small illustration of the underlying environmental problem witnessed in Dubai.
The simple basics involved in waste treatment and providing fresh water is also becoming a menace. The city has a huge population, and as a result, there is a huge demand for water. To solve the high demand for water, plants have been set up to purify seawater to feed taps and fountains is said to be increasing the salinity levels. Bino and Al-Hamaiedeh (2010) affirms the adverse effects recorded as a result of using desalinated water. Their findings reveal that reusing desalinated water affects the properties of soil as well as the biological qualities of some vegetable crops. This is just but proof that desalinated water can as well pose severe health hazards to human beings.
According to a recent study by the World Wide Fund for Nature in Dubai, the city desalinates an equivalent of four billion bottles of water per day. The desalinated water is meant to supplement the estimated four-day supply of water in the city which is equally low as compared to the huge demand from water from the vast population. Consequently, the gulf's salinity levels have risen to approximately 47,000 parts per million. This is a high proportion when compared to 32,000 parts per million which were recorded 30 years earlier. The result of the increased Gulf salinity has posed a serious threat to the local fauna and the marine life.
Dubai takes pride in the infrastructural developments that it has witnessed over the years. Most notable is the vast development of road infrastructure. As far as transportation is concerned, road transport remains the most popular means of transport in Dubai. It can be attributed to the ease and convenience which motor transport offers. Perhaps, the huge investment in infrastructure can give a forecast of the crucial role that road transport plays in the city. Despite the development of other means of transport, motor transport remains to be the most popular and preferred means of transportation. The huge petroleum and gas reserves is one factor which has influenced the high usage of road transport in Dubai
The rapid development has called for swift means of transportation. Motor vehicles still provide the most convenient mode of transportation in the city. According to Hawkins et al. (2013), light-duty vehicles account for approximately 10 % of global energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The global society is also dependent on road transport. Development trends also indicate that substantial growth will be noted in road traffic over the coming years. It is also projected that car ownership will grow from 700 million to 2 billion over the period extending to the year 2050. These changes depict anticipated increase in demand for gasoline and diesel leading to concerns as well as implications for climate change, urban air quality, and overall environmental effects.
Major industries like aluminum smelting and steel production have mushroomed, and all these projects demand large sources of energy. In fact, the power grid has been put into much stress to serve the energy demands of these industries. Other energy solutions like coal are not viable because of transportation and supply challenges. Solar power and wind power are far between and thus cannot be used to provide sufficient energy to run this projects. Natural gas from Qatar which is consistently limited in supply has forced the city to turn to the use of petroleum and gas. The reservoirs are steadily diminishing, and as a result, much pressure is exerted on the environment.
As a consequence of the diminishing fuel sources, Dubai is turning to nuclear power as a major new source of energy. There are plans to build four plants by 2017, and it is further projected that the plants will provide 23 percent of the city's power by the year 2020. As a matter of fact, the country has signed agreements with Washington which restricts its nuclear ambition for the mere purpose of energy production and not enriching or reprocessing uranium. However, from an environmental point of view, nuclear power does not make a lot of sense because it is not renewable and uranium supplies are projected to run out in 40 t0 50 years the same time as oil.
Frechette (2011) holds the view that nuclear energy gives high greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions which are potentially as high those of natural gas. Nuclear power also poses a danger to human beings who are the most vulnerable to the problems caused by waste products from nuclear plants. Nuclear reactors need much water for its cooling. Ideally, water for nuclear reactors is obtained from the ocean and later drained back to the sea. Consequently, aquatic temperatures rise impacting marine animals. Going by this, it is evident that nuclear is going to present more of a challenge than availing solutions for the huge energy demands in Dubai.
Boosting productivity is the next big challenge for Dubai. In the past, the city focused more on increasing the total amount of capital and labor by hiring more experts, building skyscrapers, and developing infrastructure rather than finding means of improving productivity. Most notably, growth has been realized as a result of making proper use of the resources and infrastructure. Studies from the Dubai Economic Council indicate that the total factor productivity has grown slowly since the founding of the United Arabs Emirates. Rather, Dubai's growth has been realized from swapping oil for more stuff. As a result, the productivity level of Dubai has grown slowly as compared to the other Gulf States.
Resources are reducing significantly over the years, and that translates to the fact that there will be reduced inputs in the future. The reduced inputs could result in the reduction of outputs and income growth. To retain the desired outputs, it is imperative to generate higher productivity. Nour (2013) notes that one of the major challenge currently facing Dubai is the high incidence of unskilled foreign workers that have led to a severe structural imbalance in the labor market in the Gulf. From the findings of the research, many workers currently working in Dubai are under-skilled because of lack of adequate training in their home countries or merely because they engage in activities which they lack training on.
Dubai has a huge population which is mainly made up of youths. Despite the region's huge population of youths, most employers still find it had to find young people with the skills they need. Such results have been noted from the poor education setup in Dubai. Shapiro (2006) indicate that an increase in urban population with college-educated residents resulted in an increase in employment. The findings of the research, however, contrasts the common perception that human capital increases productivity in urban areas. The findings of this study clearly compare to the current situation in Dubai. The city has a huge population but records low productivity because the state has in past scenarios swapped oil for stuff.
In the past, Dubai could easily trade oil for labor, but the trend is changing because if the reducing sources of oil. The result of the direct exchange of oil for stuff led to the reduction of local productivity levels. The country moved away from a knowledge-based economic structure. Furthermore, the state has given emphasis to importing skills rather than growing their potential. Emphasis has not been given to promoting innovation and entrepreneurship skills, and as a result, the productivity level of the country has plummeted. However, oil sources are beginning to dwindle rekindling the need to increase the productivity of the country through innovation and training. The recorded low productivity could be attributed to skill shortages among the population making the growth and success in the public and private sectors to be less likely.
Another reason that has led to the low-performance index in productivity is the low or negative growth of total factor productivity (TFP). TFP is termed as the efficiency with which factors of production are employed to generate the desired growth. So far it has been hard for Dubai to maintain a positive TFP growth because o...
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