Tuesday, February 24, 2009

More on the UAE

As my readers know, I traveled to Abu Dhabi and Dubai two weeks ago. I was invited by the CFA Institute to address investors at the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (the world's largest sovereign wealth fund), Mubadala, and Hawkamah. Perhaps I am now more aware of events in that part of the world because of this trip. Maybe this is why I have noticed quite a bit of news about the United Arab Emirates since I returned home. For example, immediately following my return, Dubai made news by denying an Israeli athlete a visa to compete in a major tennis tournament. Soon after it made news again when it received a $10 billion bailout from the UAE central government. Dubai, which just a year ago was one of the world's greatest financial success stories, now seems plagued by poor decisions and economic turmoil.

Yet one of the best articles I have read in recent weeks was one written by Zvika Krieger in the Wall Street Journal. The title of his commentary says it all: "There's No Reason to Gloat Over Dubai's Fall." Mr. Krieger argues that the UAE is not perfect, but it is moving in the right direction. I agree. His op-ed inspired me to write a letter to the editor in support of his view.