I’ve mentioned before that I am a big fan of Charlton Athletic football club and the past few weeks have been a real rollercoaster for us fans. For a while I thought my separate worlds of football and Arabic translation would be brought together as Dubai based Zabeel Investments made an “indicative offer” to buy the club. Following the take-over of Manchester City by the Arabic group ADUG, it’s no wonder fans’ thoughts turned to Fantasy Football transfers we could expect to see arrive at the Valley.
In the end the deal did not go through as Zabeel are looking to concentrate on investing in property and tourism nearer home. It all made me think about how, in this time of world economic gloom, oil rich Middle East companies look set to try to diversify.
In the United Arab Emirates alone, there is currently around £200 billion worth of active construction projects while the Dubai International Financial Centre aims to massively expand the financial sector with tax, rent and regulatory breaks. Meanwhile the Palm Islands are a massive real estate and tourism development – the largest land reclamation project in the world, increasing Dubai’s shoreline by 520 km. All of this has made the United Arab Emirates one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with some estimates putting GDP growth in 2006 at a staggering 35 percent.
The vast sums of money are not restricted to the Arab world as business opportunities are sought out around the world. So we see Barclays bank raising £7.3 billion from Middle East investors. Other famous names that have seen an influx of Arabic capital include P&O, Aston Martin and Madame Tussauds.
In these times of doom and gloom news stories, it’s no wonder that such growth, investment and let’s face it, plain cash, is catching people’s attention and many other companies have their eyes set on pulling in some of that investment.
All of which probably goes to explain why we have been inundated with Arabic translation and typesetting over the last few weeks!