India’s Modi puts his country’s faith in technology for ‘inclusive growth’

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gives a speech at the World Government Summit in Dubai on Sunday. (AP)
Updated 12 February 2018

India’s Modi puts his country’s faith in technology for ‘inclusive growth’

DUBAI: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched an eloquent advocacy of the power of technology to reduce poverty and bring about “inclusive growth for everyone” at the World Government Summit in Dubai.

Modi, who had previously addressed thousands of his compatriots at the Dubai Opera, told the summit that 21st century technology was essential for his country to face its big challenges: Poverty, unemployment, housing, education and natural disasters.

“Technology, from the Stone Age to the industrial revolution to the digital revolution, has fundamentally altered the condition of man for the better. It is a source of disruptive change, empowering men and women, minimizing government and maximizing governance,” he said.

But he warned that governments have a responsibility to see that technology is not used for negative ends.

“It is the job of governments to ensure that the power of technology is used for the good of the common man. Technology has got to be a constructive, positive force. Man sometimes fashions technology into destructive and violent areas, like when cyberspace is used for the spread of extremism.”

In a speech preceded by traditional Indian dancing and studded with references in Sanskrit, the ancient Indian language, Modi said: “Sometimes it seems like man is making the cardinal mistake of using technology to come into conflict with nature. Man has to coexist with nature, as India has done with yoga.”

It was his second visit to the UAE since he became prime minister in 2014. He said the UAE was a “home from home” for 3.3 million Indian workers.

“The vision of Dubai is backed by technology, innovation and enterprise, but it is not confined to the laboratories. It is applied in the real world, in Masdar (Abu Dhabi’s sustainable city) and the Future Accelerator in Dubai.”

He added: “In establishing ministries of happiness and the future, the UAE has recognized the idea of maximizing human happiness.”

Modi highlighted India’s achievements in biometric profiling, linking identities to financial details and mobile phone numbers, which he said was leading to the creation of a “cashless society” in his country, and also the commitment to solar energy use and Internet-based “long distance” education.

Dubai real estate market recovery to be seen as of 2022: S&P

Updated 34 min 37 sec ago

Dubai real estate market recovery to be seen as of 2022: S&P

  • The outlook on property was part of a challenging assessment of the credit-worthiness of the emirate
  • S&P was generally comfortable with the credit ratings of the emirate’s banking system

DUBAI: S&P Global, the ratings agency, painted a grim picture for the real estate sector in Dubai, with a meaningful recovery in property prices expected only after 2022.
At a presentation to journalists in the Dubai International Financial Center, S&P analyst Sapna Jagtiani said that under the firm’s “base case scenario,” the Dubai real estate market would fall by between 5 and 10 percent this year, roughly the same as the fall in 2018, which would bring property prices to the levels seen at the bottom of the last cycle in 2010, in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.
“On the real estate side we continue to have a very grim view of the market. While we expect prices to broadly stabilize in 2020, we don’t see a meaningful recovery in 2021. Relative to the previous recovery cycle, we believe it will take longer time for prices to display a meaningful recovery,” she said.
S&P’s verdict adds to several recent pessimistic assessments of the Dubai real estate market. Jagtiani said that conditions in the other big UAE property market, in Abu Dhabi, were not as negative, because “Abu Dhabi never did ramp up as much in 2014 and 2015 as Dubai.” S&P does not rate developers in the capital.
She added that a “stress scenario” could arise if government and royal family related developers — such as Emaar Properties, Meraas, Dubai Properties and Nakheel — which have attractive land banks and economies of scale, continue to launch new developments.
“In such a scenario, we think residential real estate prices could decline by 10-15 percent in 2019 and a further 5-10 percent in 2020. In this case, we expect no upside for Dubai residential real estate prices in 2021, as we expect it will take a while for the market to absorb oversupply,” she said.
S&P recently downgraded Damac, one of the biggest Dubai-based developers, to BB- rating, on weak market prospects.
However, Jagtiani said that, despite the “significant oversupply” from existing projects, several factors should held stabilize the market: Few, if any, major product launches; improved affordability and “bargain hunting” by bulk buyers; and a resurgence of Asian, especially Chinese, investor interest in the market.
Jagtiani also said that government measures such as new ownership and visa regulations and reduction in government fees could help prevent prices falling more sharply, as well as “increased economic activity related to Dubai Expo 2020, which is expected to attract about 25 million visitors to the emirate.”
The outlook on property was part of a challenging assessment of the credit-worthiness of the emirate. “In our view, credit conditions deteriorated in Dubai in 2018, reducing the government’s ability to provide extraordinary financial support to its government related entities (GREs) if needed,” S&P said in a report. “The negative outlook on Dubai Electricity and Water
Authority (DEWA) partly reflects our concern that a real estate downturn beyond our base case could out increased pressure on government finances,” the report said.
It pointed out that about 70 percent of government revenues come from non-tax sources, including land transfer and mortgage registration fees, as well as charges for housing and municipality liabilities, as well as dividends from real estate developers it controls, like Emaar and Nakheel.
S&P was generally comfortable with the credit ratings of the emirate’s banking system, which has an estimated 20 percent exposure to real estate. “Banks in the UAE tend to generally display a good level of profitability and capitalization, giving them a good margin to absorb a moderate increase in risks,” the report said.