Why has the UAE’s approach to women’s empowerment proved so successful?

I have always felt it an honour and privilege to be part of a nation that is so committed to gender equality. The UAE is ranked as a leading country in gender equality in the region due to the fundamental belief that women and men are equal in society. As a mother living in the Emirate, I couldn’t think of a better place to raise my two daughters.

Unfortunately, not all women and girls worldwide can say the same. Some countries are significantly behind in their progress to help empower women and encourage gender equality. This is why annual events such as International Women’s Day are so important. Women have always been encouraged to aim high in this country, but how? What exactly does our nation do right, and what elements could be replicated to ensure gender equality elsewhere?

How the UAE embraces equality: 


From the start of life, our nation prioritises access to education for girls and boys. Thanks to this, young women in the UAE actually tend to outperform their male counterparts when it comes to education. For example, more women than men complete secondary education in the Emirates. On top of this, 77% of Emirati women enrol in further education and makeup 70% of our university graduates. This is amazing to see and reflects how far women have come. For instance, in 1975, literacy rates for women in the UAE were 31%. This figure is 95.8% today, exemplifying how well our nation and its women have advanced. It also demonstrates that women can achieve anything when given the opportunity. It would be wonderful if this was recognised on a global scale.


A significant number of women-owned businesses can be found in the UAE. This is likely down to the number of initiatives in our nation to support, empower and encourage women to reach their aspirations. These include She Wins Arabia, a collaboration between the International Financial Corporation from the World Bank and Abu Dhabi Global Market. This initiative works directly with women-led start-ups and businesses to help fine-tune their pitches and business plans in order to attract investors. Another is the She’s Next initiative, which supports local female entrepreneurs. This programme provides small and medium businesses with tools and practical insights such as networking, mentoring, and funding opportunities. Thanks to initiatives such as these, in 2021, 25,000 Emirati women entrepreneurs owned 50,000 businesses valued at AED 60 billion. Speaking from personal experience, as the founder of women-led start-up Prypto, I’ve found that the UAE is the perfect environment for success, and the growing number of initiatives provided to women in business can only further that.


Although the UAE is blessed with a population of people who believe that men and women are equal partners, gender equality is also enshrined within the Constitution of the UAE, which guarantees equal rights for both men and women. This includes providing women access to education, social and healthcare benefits, the right to hold government offices, practice any profession of their choice and inherit property. This means that, far from a temporary focus, equality will remain an indefinite tenet of our national story.


What does the future look like for equality in the UAE?

For many years, the UAE has been at the forefront of gender equality in the MENA region, and this looks set to continue. Through its many initiatives, forward-thinking leaders and equal opportunities, I feel satisfied knowing I will raise my two daughters in a place so committed to upholding women’s rights.

Despite this, I can’t help but feel saddened that there are several countries that still have a long way to go on their journey to gender equality. This International Women’s Day, take a moment to consider the women in your life and all that they have achieved. Then ask yourself: would they be able to fulfil their true potential if they had been born in a less progressive country?

I hope to see positive change globally in the future, but until then, we must collectively ensure that women are empowered and supported at every possible opportunity.

What do rising property prices mean for the UAE’s real estate sector?

My whole life, I’ve been surrounded by the real estate sector. Coming from a family of successful property developers, it has been a massive presence in my life ever since I can remember. It’s hardly surprising, therefore, that I took on my role at DAMAC and later launched my own proptech venture.

And I’m in good company, too; real estate is one of the UAE’s leading industries. It makes up around 5.5% of the UAE’s overall GDP and is a fast-paced and varied industry in which to work.

The current state of real estate

The UAE is an attractive location for buyers and investors alike. Its relatively young real estate sector makes it excellent value compared to other international cities. In fact, market research carried out by global real estate consultants Knight Frank found that Dubai is set to be the lead city in the world for residential property price growth. It’s not by a close margin, either. Dubai is expected to see a total increase of 13.5% in 2023, ahead of cities like Miami and Dublin, which are predicted to grow by just 5%. It seems our market is definitely getting something right.

Buyers here have access to some of the most luxurious and high-end properties, but there is much more to gain for investors. Unlike other countries, the UAE doesn’t enforce personal income tax or capital gains tax which is a great incentive and attracts more high-net-worth individuals to the nation.

What’s more, the UAE’s social and political stability ensures security for any investments. This, combined with our growing economy and the sheer volume of properties available, will feed into a healthy return on investment (ROI) for investors in our property market. In short, now is a good time to think about making that property purchase.

A record-breaking industry

In 2022, Dubai alone saw record-breaking figures in the real estate sector thanks to increased prices, transactions and a successful post-pandemic recovery. The emirate witnessed US$72.2 billion in real estate sales, a 61% year-on-year increase. Its booming year for uber-luxury property saw a total of 219 homes sold at a value of US$10 million throughout 2022 –  another record we can be proud of in Dubai!

What’s in store for this year?

The UAE’s population is growing due to our nation, and more specifically Dubai, being among the most desirable locations to live in worldwide. A growing population means increased demand for property which will naturally lead to more sales across the nation.

Prices within the sector continue to rise, and while not record-breaking like in 2022, Dubai has already seen a 5% rise in property prices this year. Real estate values, however, are predicted to increase more slowly in our nation’s capital during 2023. There are numerous reasons for this, such as the rising interest rates anticipated later this year, which could dissuade some buyers from seeking out mortgages. But for me, the year is still young, the market is still growing, and I think there is plenty of potential to make a successful investment.

So, what does it mean?

The year ahead looks promising for those of us involved in real estate. Attention and interest from high-net-worth individuals mean that luxury properties will continue to command hefty price tags throughout 2023. The UAE’s stable economy and excellent infrastructure are drawing in more and more millionaires looking for high-end, luxury living in a safe and stable country. And, thanks to our unique real estate options and growing market, it seems to me they’re spoilt for choice.

As real estate prices continue to rise, now’s a good time to make that property investment. And if you’ve already put your money into our real estate market, you can be assured demand will continue to grow as Dubai’s population is set to almost double by 2040. In short, this means it’s wise to stick around if you really want to get the most from your investment.

While no one can ever be certain what the future holds, all indications suggest that the UAE’s property market will remain resilient, attract investors and continue to play a key role in the wider economy. I, for one, am looking forward to what the rest of this year will bring.

Dubai’s new real estate law to attract foreign capital

Source: Arab News

DUBAI: The new law on incentivizing property investment funds will lead to a boost in foreign capital, according to Amira Sajwani, general manager of sales and development at DAMAC Group.

Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum enacted a new law on July 19 to promote the growth of real estate investment funds in Dubai.

As part of efforts to position the emirate as a global destination for investment in real estate, the law grants certain privileges to real estate investment funds, reported Emirates Media Agency, also known as WAM.

The law grants certain privileges to real estate investment funds.

There is also a dedicated committee created by the new law that identifies which areas and properties the funds may invest in.

Investopedia defines a real estate fund as a type of mutual fund that primarily invests in securities offered by public real estate companies.

On the other hand, a real estate investment trust invests directly in income-producing real estate and is traded like a stock.

Among those covered by the law are all real estate investment funds licensed and regulated by government authorities, private development zones and free zones, such as Dubai International Financial Center, WAM stated.

Also, investors will be entitled to benefits that will help them invest in the emirate’s real estate market.

So how will the new law benefit the country and real estate investors?

Husni Al-Bayari, D&B Properties chairman and founder, said the new law would encourage investors and real estate funds to enter the market while increasing transparency and governance.

Moreover, it will contribute to regulating Dubai’s private development and free zones, Al-Bayari said.

As a result, high-net-worth individuals are flocking to Dubai, and this legislation will open up new areas for personal and professional relocation, Al-Bayari commented.

The register is open to applicants with real estate assets of 180 million dirhams ($49 million) or more, WAM said.

DAMAC’s Sajwani said that “creating a register for property investment funds gives the added value of transparency which is always good to attract more foreign entities to invest here.”

As she pointed out, the new law follows a slew of recent economic and social reforms that have increased Dubai’s appeal.

There is also a dedicated committee created by the new law that identifies which areas and properties the funds may invest in, WAM stated.

Alexey Galtsev, founder and CEO of Realiste, a personal artificial intelligence firm on real estate investing, said removing liquidity and asset management risks should help real estate investment trusts attract 15 percent more investments and support liquidity and market growth.

Dubai Land Department, the real estate registrar, will also appoint an expert to appraise properties owned by the funds, WAM added.

With real estate as one of Dubai’s focus sectors, the move comes as the city ramps up efforts to attract foreign investors.

Galtsev also said the law supports significant funds in Dubai real estate and opens the UAE market to large investment capital infusions.

Al-Bayari concluded that the UAE has recently been recognized as the preferred place for millionaires to migrate. This initiative will further elevate Dubai to the top of the affluent investor’s list.

With Europe facing recession, is it time for investors to expand their UAE property portfolios?

Source: Cityscape 

There’s no denying that it’s been a challenging few years for economies around the world. 

While few if any international markets have managed to escape the negative effects of Covid-19, Europe has faced more challenges than most. The combination of ever-escalating energy prices and the war in Ukraine has served to severely hamper the continent’s post-pandemic recovery. 


The upshot is that both institutions and individuals active within the global financial market are bracing themselves for stormy weather. In comments made during a New York conference last month, Jane Fraser, Chief Executive of Citigroup, said the region was more likely to slip into recession than the United States, pointing out that rising energy bills are preventing companies in some industries from remaining competitive. 

“Because of the cost of electricity and the cost of energy, some are shutting down operations,” Fraser noted. “So, Europe definitely felt more likely to be heading into recession than you see in the US.” 

That’s not to say that European markets are the only ones preparing for difficult times. Jamie Dimon, Chairman and Chief Executive of JPMorgan & Chase Co, compared the challenges facing the US economy to a “hurricane”. Jon Waldron, Chief Operating Officer of Goldman Sachs, meanwhile, described the current economic period as one of the most challenging he has ever faced. 

Speaking to CNN Business during May’s World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, my father, Hussain Sajwani, explained that high inflation, high interest rates and the war in Ukraine were dissuading real estate developers – especially those located in Europe – from buying assets. 

But should property companies based here in the UAE be concerned? Well, judging by the market’s recent performance – not to mention the latest economic analysis and forecasts – I don’t think they should. 


Growth in our nation’s GDP rose to 3.8% last year, according to the UAE Central Bank. Encouragingly, non-oil growth increased to 5.3% during the same period. Thanks in no small part to our leaders’ exemplary handling of the Covid-19 crisis, and the ongoing relaxation of measures that were implemented at the height of the pandemic, it appears that our country’s economy has been unshackled. As a result, the UAE Central Bank recently revised its projections upwards, forecasting overall real GDP growth of around 5.4% during the current year. 

So, if the UAE’s economy is gaining momentum just as other regions are feeling the pinch, does that mean international property investors should be turning their attention towards the emirates? 

The recent performance of our nation’s real estate market certainly seems to suggest it’s in rude health. The first quarter of 2022 was the busiest ever for Dubai’s property sector. During this period, almost 8,000 off-plan sales worth approximately $4 billion were recorded, representing a year-on-year uptick of 117.7%. More than 9,500 ready home sales were also registered during the first three months of the year, representing a year-on-year rise of 56% and a total value of around $6.8 billion. 

It’s also worth noting that the property sector is looking equally rosy in neighbouring Abu Dhabi. The emirate recorded more than 3,300 transactions worth in excess of $3 billion in Q1 2022, and is expected to deliver in the region of 7,000 residential units during the course of this year. 


Of course, you’d be forgiven for thinking that record sales would result in record price rises but, encouragingly for prospective investors, that hasn’t necessarily been the case. VPI Residential Capital Values, a valuation-based price index, showed that Dubai’s residential prices saw quarterly growth rates reduce from 5.1% in Q4 2021 to 3.6% in Q1 2022, meaning price rises are actually slowing despite unprecedented activity. 

We should also bear in mind that this situation is being helped by a host of UAE government measures designed to entice investors – not least the recent visa-related changes, which have made life easier for expats looking to put down roots (check out my previous blog for my thoughts on this topic). In fact, according to figures released by real estate brokerage Union Square House (USH), the number of Dubai residents and visitors registering their interest in buying local real estate tripled following the government’s announcement of its new visa rules. 

In summary, here in the UAE, we are witnessing a real estate sector in which price rises are remaining stable despite unprecedented demand – an ideal climate for domestic and international investors alike. 

So, should international investors expand their UAE property portfolios in preparation for choppy waters in Europe and other markets? When it comes to real estate, there’s no such thing as a sure thing. However, few would deny that our property market is looking more attractive than most right now.