What is the Gulf Tiger

Gulf Tiger, or Arab Gulf Tiger, is a nickname for Dubai, a city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which is a country in the Middle East.

Breaking Down Gulf Tiger

Gulf Tiger, or Dubai, has one of the fastest-growing economies in the Middle East, hence its nickname. The city, which is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula, is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the region. It has the largest population and second-largest land area of the seven emirates in the UAE. It is also one of the top tourist destinations in the Middle East and home to the region’s busiest international airport.

Dubai staked its claim as a tiger economy, a nickname traditionally used for booming economies in Southeast Asia, following several years of double-digit economic growth from the mid-1990s onwards. In 2018, Dubai had a GDP of $108.38 billion. While oil exports formed the initial foundation for its economy, over the decades, Dubai has diversified into other areas of economic activity such as real estate, construction, trade and financial services. Oil now makes up 8.3 percent of Dubai’s government revenue.

Investment in the city’s infrastructure has transformed Dubai into a financial, information technology, and real estate hub, and the construction, finance, trade, tourism transport and aviation sectors continue to be the main drivers of Dubai’s economy.

The Gulf Tiger's Construction Boom

Dubai’s building boom in the first decade of the 2000s led to the construction of some of the world’s biggest buildings and most ambitious construction projects. This included the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, and the Palm Islands, three artificial islands on the coast of Dubai.

Dubai also developed the bustling Jebel Ali Port, the world's largest man-made harbor and the biggest port in the Middle East.

However, Dubai was severely affected by the economic downturn in the aftermath of the 2008 global credit crisis, which caused several major construction projects in the city to come to a halt. Construction on the Dubai waterfront, slated to be the world’s largest waterfront, stalled in 2009.

In addition to construction, Dubai’s investments in reducing its economic dependence on oil and developing renewable energy resources have fueled the city’s continued growth. In January 2017, government officials in Dubai announced a plan that would significantly increase its dependence on renewable energy in the next few decades, with a goal of producing 44 percent of Dubai’s energy from renewable sources by 2050. This plan includes an investment of $163 billion, which would include expansion of the city’s infrastructure.