Business news has been dominated in the past week by Dubai and its shock standstill on debt repayments. While there is a general acceptance by wiser heads that bond investors have themselves to blame in failing in their due diligence, it is equally true that Dubai has shot itself in both feet by mishandling the communications around this.
An interesting article by Kristian Ulrichsen in today’s Daily Telegraph explains the familial and tribal complexities that underlie commerce in the UAE, which in turn explains why Dubai struggles to be as transparent as the world demands (sadly this isn’t available online for some reason). However, as Richard Fletcher states in the same paper, the emirate can no longer have its cake and eat it – Dubai can’t become the international financial centre it aspires to be until it learns to communicate effectively. It isn’t that Dubai can’t afford decent PR advice – it already retains some of the most expensive PR firms on the planet. However, advice only helps if it is heard, and this is where Dubai’s next breakthrough is needed.