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MENACORP backs Dubai World Expo 2020 bid

Successful proposal would boost UAE’s global visibility, draw more investors to local financial sector

One of the UAE’s leading brokerage houses, MENACORP, held a special event at the headquarters of the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) today to demonstrate its support for Dubai’s bid to host the World Expo 2020.

Dubai is currently leading Izmir, Turkey; Yekaterinburg, Russia; and São Paulo, Brazil, in the candidacy for hosting the expo. Should Dubai win, it will become the first Middle East city to accommodate the event in its 160-year history. A successful bid will energise various sectors, ranging from construction to hospitality, during its projected six-month duration.

“The expo is one of the most important global functions, impacting all industries. It has always helped cities to develop and boost their economy. This will help the whole of the UAE to develop further and get more interest in terms of investment,” says Nabil Al Rantisi, managing director of brokerage at MENACORP.

While the economic impact may ripple beyond the UAE, Rantisi admits that it is hard to put a cash figure on how much the event would be worth to the emirate – but opportunities will exist for companies across the region.

“Regional companies will get business in Dubai, because help is needed for infrastructure. Companies from other Gulf countries will obviously bid for contracts,” he adds.

Expo success a boon for Dubai’s real estate

One of the closely monitored trends in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi is soaring real estate prices. However, Rantisi believes that a more mature market is no cause for alarm in the run-up to the mega event.

“Ahead of the expo, more people will buy real estate properties. So, they will need more financing from banks. Those sectors will certainly be more profitable. The real estate market is maturing at the moment – it went down quite a lot, so a rebound was always going to happen. Thankfully, Dubai recovered faster than some other places,” he says.

“People are being more selective about what they’re buying and are not just buying left, right and centre. You can also see the rate of return on real estate going back to global standards, closer to four or five per cent,” he continues.

There appears to be widespread confidence that Dubai is willing and able to host the upcoming expo, and just two days ago, the UK prime minister, David Cameron, voiced his support for the emirate to win the bid. In an open letter, he writes: “Dubai is a great business capital and its success rightly inspires people to see the potential of the region and to believe they can change their own countries for the better with vision, conviction and hard work.”