When the crisis of credibility and debt was unfolding in Dubai and the region, I had commented that this crisis has one benefit that it will make the UAE think like a nation and not as individual city states. Irrespective of the rumors of assets deals between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the bottom line was, in my eyes, that an adherence to a one Nation concept was all the more important to all parties. Since September of this year this has been the message of one people and one nation. It was in this light that the announcement today of Abu Dhabi's $10 billion support for Dubai has been made. Yes it leaves one wondering why all this drama if the end the Sukuk maturing today was going to be paid in the first place. I have all along said the public relations side of this episode leaves a great to be desired and I am sure all parties have learned from it.
I now have to smugly look at my friends in Moody's and other rating agencies and wonder where their argument that support from government to commercial entities is 'questionable' stands? In the parlance of the real world will they admit they jumped the gun and became over cautious, will they step forward and correct what has been done wrong in the downgrades and the review notifications? I suspect not, because rating analysts hate to admit they are wrong.
For Dubai indeed this is a bitter lesson learned, in terms of its relations with debt holders, the media and indeed the manner in which crisis is handled. However, I always say if the end has been satisfactory then all said and done it works to the better of all. Yes there will be questions over access to new credit lines, and there will be the rumor mill wanting to know the background of the 'deal' between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Frankly, as someone who has lived here for three decades and followed all this carefully, I believe that the good of the country has been restored. Yes Dubai needs now to do a proper public relations exercise, not those glitzy statements of the past, and get some serious repair work underway. While the debt has been paid today, the damage still needs to be repaired and this is where the hard work must go.
While the credibility of UAE has been restored, there will be a number of doubters out there, and these will need to be talked to, engaged in discussions and a manner of governance brought back to the forefront that will bring confidence and support for all that is being done from hereon. I do believe that all parties who care for this country, both UAE Nationals and seasoned expatriates should now speak out and talk of measures that will be needed to restore confidence in the system. Today an important brick has been laid, more work has to be done from here on.