Why mobility is key for UAE growth?

Dubai is the best example of how an open economy can encourage mobility.

The UAE has always been an open economy allowing the flow of people from all levels of society from all over the world.

Dubai is the best example of how an open economy can encourage mobility and thrive while at the same time positively benefit people, experts said at a panel discussion on the importance of global labour mobility.

Marco Gantenbein, director at Henley & Partners Middle East, said global mobility of people is key to rapid and sustainable economic development. "As we look towards 2018, there are many projected and unforeseen threats to our global mobility."

"Sitting on the crossroads of trade and mobility, Dubai is indeed the best example of how an open economy can thrive and at the same time positively benefit people," said Gantenbein.

The session saw an active exchange of insights and viewpoints, providing the audience with a holistic view of mobility and how it is extremely important to the collective future of individuals and societies. Panelists focused their discussions around the increasing threats to global mobility and its imperative role in all aspects affecting people, businesses, communities and economies collectively.

Recent world events show that restrictions on the global mobility are affecting different layers of economic sustainability including innovation, creativity, talent acquisition and financial dynamism, speakers said.

"While global mobility and free movement of labour, have enriched nations overall, they have had a rather unequal impact across society. Traditionally, in developed economies, the more skilled and higher educated groups have disproportionally benefited from free movement of labour, while the mid to low-level income segments have shouldered more of the negative externalities," said Samir Sweida-Metwally, senior analyst at Emerging Markets Intelligence and Research.

Alaa Odeh, senior associate at Globesight, said one key factor that has become apparent from the current global landscape is that mobility and migration are a major human development issue that goes hand in hand with globalisation of innovation, technology and youth engagement. "Mobility is also important from the view of driving sustainable development goals. People from emerging economies bring their innovative ideas that address social challenges in their countries to more developed economies. They further develop these ideas, as well as build upon existing innovations and technologies in their new home."

Nasif Kayed, CEO and founder of Arab Culturalist, said there is no economy in the world that embraces the model of mobility and excellence as uniquely as the UAE. "The UAE has always been an open economy allowing the flow of people from all levels of society from all over the world, as it is evident with expats constituting over 85 per cent of the population. Dubai provides residents with security and opportunity to enhance the quality of their lives and livelihoods, while maintaining its heritage and cultural values. The emirate's globalised approach of providing people the best of both worlds has distinctly set it apart."

Samer K. Taher, managing director of Meirc Training and Consulting, said authorities and governments should stop giving undue consideration to factors related to country of birth, and "treat us as global citizens by taking into account our contributions and the value we bring in as international professionals".

He said investing in an alternative residence or citizenship is now emerging as a key trend and mostly importantly, it is considered as an investment and portfolio diversification strategy for individuals throughout the world. Having an alternative residence or citizenship not only enhances these individuals' access to the global markets but also enables them to take advantage of the opportunities and in turn contribute to the wider global growth and economic development.

- issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com

By Issac John

Associate Business Editor of Khaleej Times, is a well-connected Indian journalist and an economic and financial commentator. He has been in the UAE's mainstream journalism for 35 years, including 23 years with Khaleej Times. A post-graduate in English and graduate in economics, he has won over two dozen awards. Acclaimed for his authentic and insightful analysis of global and regional businesses and economic trends, he is respected for his astute understanding of the local business scene.

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