United Arab Emirates. According to
countryaah, the Dubai debt crisis became acute
at the end of November when the Emirate government announced
that it wanted to renegotiate the loans the state-owned
company Dubai World had taken to primarily finance luxury
projects in the real estate industry. This involved most of
Dubai's total debt burden of USD 80 billion. The crisis
caused stock markets around the world to collapse as lenders
saw their investments threatened, but the most vulnerable
were hundreds of thousands of guest workers from India,
Pakistan and Bangladesh who in many cases lost their jobs
and were forced to travel home heavily indebted.
The United Arab Emirates central bank had decided in
February to lend US $ 10 billion to Dubai to help the
emirate cope with the escalating debt crisis, but that had
not helped. In December, the emirate Abu Dhabi lent as much.
The United States was reported to have agreed on May 22 to
supply fuel and equipment worth US $ 41 billion to the
United Arab Emirates nuclear energy industry. The country
was reported in May to have withdrawn from plans to join the
currency union that the Gulf States Cooperation Council
(GCC) planned. The background was assumed to be
dissatisfaction with the organization's plans to place the
Union central bank in Saudi Arabia.
Following an agreement between the country's government
and the UN Children's Fund UNICEF, the government began to
pay damages to about 900 former camel jockeys during the
summer. Many of the boys had been kept isolated on camel
farms, where they were put on starvation diets to become as
light as possible and forced to ride despite risking
breaking arms or legs. Since 2002, it has been prohibited to
use children under the age of 15 as camel jockeys.
The Arabian Peninsula's first metro line opened in
September in the city of Dubai. The trains, which were
driverless, went under ground in the city center and above
ground outside the city.