But over the past few weeks, the emirate has taken important steps to rectify these problems. Dubai World announced on 20 May that it is close to reaching an agreement with its creditors on $25bn-worth of debt, and Dubai Holding has also begun restructuring its liabilities. The news will quell concerns over the prospect of major debt defaults, and go some way to restore confidence in the emirate’s battered economy.
But equally as significant was the decree issued on 6 May authorising Emirates Credit Information Company (Emcredit) to collect credit information in Dubai. The lack of credit reporting has long been a problem in the UAE, with stories of expatriates ringing up huge debts only to abandon them by leaving the country commonly heard.
The wave of redundancies that accompanied the financial crisis made matters worse. Borrowers have fled in their thousands, leaving banks to book millions of dollars of provisions. An officially sanctioned credit bureau should ensure this never happens again.
With the lessons of the financial crisis now learnt, Dubai in time should be able to shed its reputation of being a place where those with bad credit rating can still access financing.