This week, international analysts watched closely as Abu Dhabi launched a $10 billion bond in three tranches: $3 billion over 5 years; $4 billion over 10 years; and $3 billion over 30 years. The sale was oversubscribed three times with $30 billion offered for investment in Abu Dhabi.
Given continued strategic and political instability across the wider Middle East region and the slow pace of recovery in oil prices on world markets, the strong demand for exposure to Abu Dhabi was widely seen as the latest indicator of the role the UAE continues to play as a model of stability and economic development that other countries in the region increasingly seek to emulate. Indeed, by coincidence, and with the kind of diplomatic gaffe that has come to be associated with Britain’s Foreign Secretary, this week also saw Boris Johnson telling a political audience in Manchester, UK that Sirte in Libya had the potential to become “the next Dubai” – but then added: “once they clear the dead bodies away.”
However, tasteless Mr Johnson’s ill-chosen words may have been, they illustrate how both Dubai and Abu Dhabi are now seen as models of achievement that the international community admires for what good government, sound economic management and stability can achieve in a region too often dismissed as merely the source of international turbulence and extremism.