Dubai’s Megasuccessful Megaprojects Set the Standard

By  Cyndee Miller, senior editor, PM Network

PMI® Global Congress 2014 — EMEA kicked off in Dubai, where nearly 1,000 attendees got an insider’s look at how project management helped turn a pearl-diving village into a world-class city.
“Dubai has a reputation for megaprojects, not only large, but iconic — incredible feats of engineering,” said Mark A. Langley, president and CEO of PMI, at the opening session of congress. “Not only the best and biggest projects, but the best project and program management to ensure success.”
When it comes to project performance, he said, PMI Pulse of the Profession® data reveals the Middle East does much better than the rest of the world.
And Dubai stands front and center. The transformation of what was once a vast desert into a world-class city has been “staggering,” said His Excellency Matter Al Tayer from Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority.
He outlined five economic building blocks:
  • High stability and security
  • An open and diverse economy
  • A central geographic location with a multicultural population of more than 200 nationalities
  • Environmental sustainability
  • High-quality infrastructure
While oil fueled early growth, Dubai has a grand vision — and from grand visions come grand projects.
Take Dubai World Central, a next-generation aerotropolis ultimately capable of handling 200 million passengers by 2016, said His Excellency Khalifa Al Zaffin of Dubai Aviation City Corp.
And while the project is designed primarily to house commercial and residential districts, its competitive advantage lies in Dubai’s strategic location. “One-third of the world’s population is within a four-hour flight — mainly from the Middle East, North Africa and Southeast Asia regions that together have US$3.6 trillion GDP,” Mr. Al Zaffin said.
Dubai is leveraging that strategic location to carve out its place as a major global player. A new Silk Road is emerging, with 55 percent of the Middle East trade now with India and China, said Dr. Nasser Saidi of Nasser Saidi & Associates and former chief economist at the Dubai International Financial Centre.
Part of the Dubai’s success lies squarely with securing project and program buy-in at the highest levels. In the case of snaring hosting duties for World Expo 2020, local, municipal and federal government were all involved.
“In other expos, it was always the mayor of the city particularly who was responsible,” Dr. Saidi said. “Here, responsibility is right at the top, which leads to better coordination, strategic planning and getting things done.”
Along with World Expo 2020, two other platforms are driving Dubai’s future growth, said keynote speaker Mr. Hassan Al Hashemi of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry:
  • A booming Islamic economy with opportunities in everything from halal fashion to tourism to support the 2.2 billion Muslim consumers expected by 2030
  • Emerging markets, especially Africa, with Dubai serving as a vital gateway to the burgeoning market
Dubai’s evolution is nothing short of amazing. And it will only continue with World Expo 2020, an engine for change powered by innovation and supported by expertise in project and program management.
Where do you look for inspiration?

The views expressed within the PMI Voices on Project Management blog are contributed from external sources and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of PMI.

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