If MBA students were presented with the task of coming up with a management framework to handle the expansion that Dubai is now enjoying they would probably try to switch to an easier subject. That option is not available to the alpha-grade officials now in charge of the $50 billion or so of new mega projects now underway.
Increasingly the unofficial CEO of Dubai Inc, Crown Prince General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has split his management into two first division teams.
There are the projects under the control of Dubai Holding CEO Mohammed Al Gergawi. His projects on the drawing board or under construction include: Dubailand, Dubai Healthcare City, Dubai Outsourcing Zone and the International Media Production Zone.
Mr. Gergawi’s existing projects are: Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai Humanitarian City, Dubai e-Hosting, Dubai Knowledge Village and the Arab Radio Network.
Then there are the projects that fall under Dubai Ports Authority chief Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem. He looks after the three Palm islands, The World islands project, Dubai Maritime City, the Nakheel real estate company, Dubai Metals and Commodities Centre and the Jebel Ali Free Zone.
The main mega projects not covered by these two top Dubai officials are: the Dubai International Airport terminal three, which comes under Civil Aviation President Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum; and Emaar Properties – developer of the tallest building in the world, the Burj Dubai and the biggest shopping mall, which is under the chairmanship of Dubai Economic Department Director General Mohammed Ali Alabbar.
Meanwhile, the new Dubai International Financial Centre comes directly under the chairmanship of the Dubai Crown Prince General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
This brief sketch of responsibilities within Dubai Inc. is a useful guide for business opportunities. Clearly the implementation of so many mega projects at one time creates huge opportunities for new business, both for existing and new entrants to the market.
However, it is crucial to appreciate that Dubai Inc. is an astonishing example of a Government-led public-private sector partnership. In the years to come MBA students from around the world will come to Dubai to examine how it was done.
Understanding this structure and the men behind it will be one part of the answer. Then an examination of the history of Dubai, and the previous policies of its rulers will help to explain how Dubai came to this position.
But what will be most interesting of all will be to see where Dubai Inc. gets to in the future, and to watch the vision of Sheikh Mohammed turning into a reality. By 2010 Dubai will be an ultra-modern trading, tourism, finance and services hub for the Middle East and a much larger city.