December 31, 2016
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Year in review: UAE top stories of 2016

For the UAE, 2016 has been an interesting year so far. Last year’s forecast talked about growth, but were we able to achieve this in the UAE?

Despite everything that has happened around the globe, the UAE has maintained its steady growth. Its projects are in development as the country prepares for Expo 2020 while the country’s open economy and consistent innovation are bearing fruit. So before the year closes, let’s look at some of the highlights that made 2016 a year to remember for the citizens of the UAE.

1. The Rise and Fall of Rental Rates in Dubai

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Dubai Marina

Rental rates in some of the residential communities in Dubai dropped earlier this year. Rental rates for one-bedroom apartments went down 14.3% while apartments in Discovery Gardens, Dubai Marina, and Palm Jumeirah reached a more affordable rate compared to the high lease prices last July 2015.

2. Hyperloop

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Hyperloop One concept

The UAE is set to improve its transport system with the proposed Hyperloop, a high-speed transport system that carries passengers and goods in capsules through a pipeline. The government is looking at possible routes for this new transport system, with Dubai being the priority stop. One of the routes considered is a connecting track between Dubai and Abu Dhabi to cut the one-hour journey between the two cities to just 12 minutes. Plans are in place to have the first Hyperloop operating by 2021.

3. International Tax Compliance Measures

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Dubai Bank

With the UAE being a hub of private banks catering to elite clients, the government is taking a more active approach to catching tax evaders. Local banks are starting to inform their customers about the next international tax compliance measures. Starting January 2017, the government will start requiring financial institutions and banks to collect information from customers regarding their tax status.

4. Plans to Build a Tower Higher Than the Burj Khalifa

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Dubai Creek Tower concept

Emaar Properties is set to go beyond limits as it plans to build the Dubai Creek Tower, a new Dubai tower that will rise higher than the Burj Khalifa, considered the tallest man-made structure in the world. Spanish-Swiss architect Santiago Calatrava says they hope the construction of the Dubai Creek Tower will represent the UAE as a nation like how the Eiffel Tower represents France. Emaar Properties is also planning to build a mega-retail district along with the Dubai Creek tower as preparation for the Dubai Expo 2020. They did not disclose the exact height of the tower, but they said the tower will have a hotel with an observation deck, restaurants, interior gardens, and function rooms.

5. UAE Turns 45

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45th National Day Lightshow

Citizens celebrated the 45th year of the UAE, pulling all the stops to make the celebration as memorable as they could. The National Day was a weekend of fun-filled activities – from international folk bands concerts to workshops and performances. Apart from the country’s establishment, citizens are also celebrating the country’s transcendence to being a SMART country where technology and digitization became the core of every business segment.

As 2016 ends, we look back at the achievements and events that transpired in the UAE without any regrets. Here’s to another year of growth for everyone!