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The United Arab Emirates’ Economic Diversification Essay



The economy of the UAE is largely dependent on oil as the major export. However, there are fears that this natural resource may be exhausted and leave this region poorer. This essay presents some of the alternatives that should be considered by this region. Agriculture, tourism, banking, education, and alternative sources of energy are some of the ways of safeguarding the future of the economy of this region. These options should be explored before it is too late to manage the looming problems of an oil shortage.


The UAE is a significant region in the world economy due to the role it plays in determining the price of oil and its products. This region is rich in oil deposits that enable it to supply more than 7% of the world’s fossil fuel (Emerson 2011). The economy of the UAE is at risk if it does not explore economic alternatives and stopover depending on oil.

Economic Alternatives

First, it is important to explain that modern technology has helped people to practice food production even in regions that have insufficient rainfall. Agriculture is the backbone of most economies because it ensures people have adequate food for their families (Walsh 2008). There is no need of having a lot of money when it cannot buy healthy food. Therefore, this region should consider investing in modern agricultural practices that involve the use of genetically modified products and greenhouses to ensure it has enough food for its citizens and export to other regions.

It is necessary to explain that sustainable agricultural practices attract other investments and improve infrastructure and this means that nations will not import food products. Also, this activity does not require a lot of capital or machinery because it can be done on small scale levels (Almezaini 2011). Countries that produce food for export will enjoy their returns when these factors become a reality. Therefore, it will be wise to invest in agriculture and ensure this activity is diversified to safeguard the economic future of this region. For instance, Egypt, the Netherlands, and Denmark have used modern mechanization to improve their food production. Therefore, the UAE can start cultivating corn, flowers, and vegetables to diversify its economy.

Secondly, this region has a rich history that can attract tourists. Tourism is a major income earner in countries like Switzerland, the Netherlands, South Africa, and Kenya. UAE has different cultures even though the Islamic religion is dominant in most communities. This means that cultural diversity can boost its tourism industry and ensure local and foreigners pay to enjoy various cultural presentations (Ramesh 2012). Even though westernization is eroding most of the Islamic culture there is no way this practice will die. Some Islamic communities are staunch traditionalists and will not trade their customs for western cultures.

This means that if this region addresses the importance and uniqueness of its cultures it can generate a lot of income and this will reduce its dependency on oil (Bazoobandi 2012). Therefore, this is a resource that has not been exploited and there is the need to start thinking about it before the available oil deposits are depleted. Culture is a renewable natural resource that must be protected at all costs (Library of Congress 2011). The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding is an example of how this aspect can boost the economy of this region. Also, Dubai is a developed country and should develop effective strategies for marketing its tourist attraction sites.

Most people in this region have not realized the importance of commercial activities. Banking institutions play a few roles in developing this region because people do not know the importance of investing their hard-earned money in productive activities (Walker 2009). It is necessary to explain that Islamic banking institutions are increasing in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Mumbai; therefore, people are embracing modern commercial practices like buying shares, saving, and investing in profitable business activities. They have started losing interest in oil-related activities and soon these financial institutions will become very busy. Moreover, this region should encourage its women to start participating in nation-building by allowing them to participate in community organizations that support entrepreneurship programs (Insight Guides 2013). It will be easy to diversify its economy when they get educated on how they can use their savings. However, cultural practices that bar women from trading activities are serious threats to this issue because they limit their participation in public affairs.

Oil is a big income earner in this region and this means that most people rely directly or indirectly on this activity. However, it is very shocking that most of the income generated from this activity is not used properly. People have not developed the culture of saving and this means that they cannot account for what they do with their money. Most people assume that they will continue drilling oil forever and thus they are not worried about what will happen if this resource is depleted (Ahmednasir 2013). Therefore, there is the need to educate people on the importance of saving for the future because one day there will be no money to be spent if this resource is diminished. There is a need for religious and civil groups to educate the people on the importance of saving their money in banks or investing in viable projects.

Moreover, learning institutions offer revenue to countries if they are upgraded to international standards. America has many international learning institutions that generate a significant amount of income from local and international students. Therefore, this region should consider expanding and equipping most of its learning institutions to ensure they meet international standards (Rehman 2011). Today, most international students in America come from this region and this means that there is a need to address the issues that make them fly to other countries to seek education. It is necessary to explain that these students take a lot of money from this region (Steve 2013). Murdoch University, Abu Dhabi University, United Arab Emirates University, and Al Ain University should be equipped to international standards to ensure they attract foreign students.

The world is developing and requiring a lot of energy for various purposes and this means that countries should focus on producing this factor of production (Morrison 2009). The hot climate in this region is a good environment to generate solar energy that may be inevitable in the future as nations try to conserve the environment. This region is lucky to have natural gas that supports oil in providing energy to its citizens and for export. Therefore, it can start focusing on producing energy through other sources that are cheap, affordable, and environment friendly. This will ensure that its economy remains functional when oil deposits are exhausted. Besides, it should expand the installation of its nuclear power plant to ensure the facility produces adequate energy.

Lastly, the government of the United Arab Emirates has started initiatives that will ensure its citizens get meaningful employment in the public and private sectors. Williams Group has taken the lead in Emiratisation and other companies are urged to follow suit. This company ensures Emiratis are recruited in various openings available in Dubai. Some other initiatives and groups are working hard to ensure Emiratisation succeeds through offering education, research, and financial assistance. They include the Abu Dhabi Tawteen Council and Emirates Institute of Banking and Financial Studies.


It is necessary to explain that this has made this region to be a key player in determining international politics and other important issues that affect development. However, it is time for it to start thinking of alternatives because oil deposits are natural nonrenewable resources. This region has enough alternatives that will boost its economy even when the oil deposits are depleted.


Ahmednasir, W. (2013). The Future of Oil Exploration: Depleted Oil Deposits and Danger. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Almezaini, K. (2011). The UAE and Foreign Policy: Foreign Aid, Identities and Interests (Culture and Civilization in the Middle East). London: Routledge.

Bazoobandi, S. (2012). Political Economy of the Gulf Sovereign Wealth Funds: A Case Study of Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. London: Routledge.

Emerson, R. (2011). The Intrigues Surrounding Oil Production in the UAE. New York: Wiley.

Insight Guides. (2013). Oman and the UAE (Insight Guide Oman and the UAE). New York: Langenscheidt Publishers.

Library of Congress. (2011). United Arab Emirates (UAE): Federal Research Study and Country Profile. Florida: Progressive Management Publishers.

Morrison, B. (2009). Diversifying the Economy of the Middle East to Regulate Inflation. New Jersey: Jossey-Bass.

Ramesh, M. (2012). Impact of Dubai Tourism on UAE Economy and the Neighboring Gulf States. Istanbul: LAP Lambert Academic Publishing.

Rehman, A. (2011). Dubai Company: Global Strategies for Doing Business in the Gulf States. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Steve, R. (2013). A Comparison of Two Economies UAE and Australia. Munich: GRIN Verlag.

Walker, J. (2009). Lonely Planet Oman UAE and Arabian Peninsula (Multi Country Guide). Melbourne: Lonely Planet Publishers.

Walsh, J. (2008). UAE- Culture Smart! The Essential Guide to Customs and Culture London: Kuperard.

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