Welcome to the UAE | Monocle

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Success takes graft and good ideas. But let’s face it: sometimes, it’s also about being in the right place at the right time. That’s how this UAE special, our first dedicated country issue of our business-minded magazine, got off the ground. A series of conversations with readers, business owners and eventually even a government agency or two (which have underwritten the advertorial chapter of this issue) has led to us turning our editorial spotlight on the Gulf – and, specifically, a country about which, for better or for worse, most people have firm opinions. 

Over the following pages, you’ll meet entrepreneurs who have built castles in the sand, sowed seeds in less-than-fertile ground and transformed this once-quiet part of the world into a centre of innovation for everything from solutions for warming cities and agriculture to fine design. Our journalists uncovered some surprising stories: technology companies trying to help us forge stronger human connections or offer access to better education; inspiring HQs for companies taking recycling seriously and mobility start-ups beginning the journey towards sustainability from within car-centric cities. 

There’s an irony here, of course. The UAE’s oil wealth makes it a somewhat unlikely centre for eco-conscious enterprises, yet still they come. What fresh ideas about urbanism and living well can a place that’s regularly warmer than 40c in summer offer? Plenty. It’s happening for many reasons. Whether it’s the tax breaks or the timing, better regulations or the country’s relative safety, there’s something unique stirring in the UAE that we hope we have captured. Wherever you turn, there’s an upwelling of optimism about the future of aviation, AI, architecture and more (and that’s just the As) and a sense that the future in the UAE is here for the taking. The making too: from plane parts and artificial islands to fire-fighting robots, there’s a future-focused manufacturing boom under way. So wherever you find yourself in your entrepreneurial journey and however the sands have shifted in your industry, we hope that you will find inspiring stories, lively lessons and some benchmarks to help you on your way. Remember: right place, right time. Shall we show you around? 

The Monocle UAE special

project editors: Christopher Lord, Josh Fehnert
creative director: Richard Spencer Powell
production director: Jacqueline Deacon
chief sub editor: Lewis Huxley
photo director: Matthew Beaman
photo editor: Alex Milnes

associate editors
Ed Stocker
Carlota Rebelo
Jack Simpson

Mustafa Alrawi
Nicola Chilton
Natalia Maiboroda

creative solutions and partnerships
Niall Flynn
Steve Pill

sub editors
Lewis Huxley 
Yo Zushi
Steve Pill 
Sonia Zhuravlyova

project photographers
Dan Wilton
Anna Nielsen
Roderick Aichinger 
Andrea DiCenzo

Monica Lillis

special thanks
Saqr Binghalib
Shatha AlHajji
Hind Taha
Marwa Al Shaibani
Artificial Intelligence Office, UAE
Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy

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