Watch part two
Its huge construction and expansion plans became a symbol of boom times. Now could the emirate of Dubai become a symbol of a worldwide recession?
Dubai captured the world's fancy through its real estate projects – the world's tallest building, lavish man-made islands and celebrity sports events. Out of the 2.2 million people who live there, the vast majority – 1.8 million – are expatriates.
When oil was above $100 a barrel last summer, it looked as if the region was insulated from the economic storm gathering over much of the rest of the world. But now many fear that Dubai will be turning into a cityscape of half-finished buildings.
The United Arab Emirates issued a $10 billion bailout to Dubai over the weekend, but investors question whether this is just the beginning.
Stories abound about white collar workers, recently let go from their jobs, fleeing the country and leaving their cars in the airport parking lot. As for the army of imported labourers who built Dubai, they are stuck when they are laid off, because their contractors still hold their passports.
On Monday Riz speaks with a panel of experts to explore the prospects for Dubai and the region as a whole. Nasser bin Ghaith is an expert in international economics from the UAE.
Christopher Davidson teaches international affairs at the University of Durham (UK) and is the author of Dubai: The vulnerability of success. And Tarik Yousef is the dean of the Dubai school of government.
This episode of the Riz Khan show aired from Monday, February 23, 2009.