UAE - The Incredible Rise of Dubai

Arno Froese

Sixty years ago, Dubai was little more than a village. Pearling and fishing propped up the economy and around 25,000 called it home. To put that into perspective, more people attend Sunderland’s football matches on a typical Saturday afternoon.

The city’s airport was just a single runway on a salt flat. Alongside it was the only place to stay in the entire emirate, the Airlines Hotel.

Fast forward to the present and Dubai is a gleaming metropolis with more than three million residents, 190 skyscrapers taller than 150 meters, 100,000 hotel rooms—and even an indoor ski slope.

Its airport, meanwhile, now handles nearly 90 million travelers a year, including 89 million from abroad, making it the busiest in the world in terms of international traffic.

With oil money rolling in (black gold was discovered off Dubai in 1966), the city’s construction boom really took off. Between 1968 and 1975 Dubai’s population grew by over 300 percent and further airport development in the 1970s culminated in the construction of a second runway. With tight rest restrictions on flying over Russian airspace, the likes of Air India, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines arrived in the 1980s, attracted to the convenience of Dubai as a stopping point for journeys by Europe and Asia. Annual passenger numbers pushed through the three million mark for the first time in 1981; by the end of the decade they had risen to 4.56m.

In addition to stopover traffic, the numbers were further bolstered by the invention of Dubai the winter sun destination. In 1988 there were just 48 hotels with 4,764 rooms in the city. Resources were poured into building hundreds more, as well as theme parks, vast shopping malls, family-friendly tourist attractions—not to mention the first grass golf course in the Middle East. The United Arab Emirates as a whole welcomed only 630,000 overseas holidaymakers in 1990. By 2010 that rose to 7.4m (last year the figure was more than 16m)., 29 April 2019

Arno's commentary

The country United Arab Emirates (UAE) has grown so fast that, of the almost 10 million population, only 11.6% are Emirati (native); the rest are immigrants, legal and illegal. The official religion is Islam, with 76% of the population being Muslims, followed by Christians at 9%. Life expectancy is an astonishing 78.7 years. As with all successful countries, they have a trade surplus: exports stand at $308.5 billion, while imports are $229.2 billion.

There are multiple reasons for the super-success of the UAE; in particular, oil and location.

But there is more: Arabs in general, and Muslims in particular, claim Abraham as their father. Relating to this, we read in Genesis 25:6: “But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country.”

Furthermore, we know that Abraham’s firstborn son was Ishmael, born to Hagar the Egyptian. There we read a promise: “Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation” (Genesis 21:18).

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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