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Dubai Sheiks Absent from World Economic Forum

When world leaders and corporate executives gather in Davos for the 40th annual World Economic Forum, Dubai will be suspiciously absent.

Despite being one of the most important events in the global economic calendar, the ruler of Dubai has declined to attend the World Economic Forum this year.

United Arab Emirates Prime Minister and ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, will not be attending the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

According to local Gulf media, Sheikh Mohammed’s absence is an attempt to avoid unwanted attention as Dubai’s economic situation looks increasingly bleak.

Lucy Jay-Kennedy, press officer at the World Economic Forum, confirmed to The Media Line that Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum would not be attending.

The World Economic Forum annual meeting in the Swiss town of Davos is expected to gather some 2500 leaders from business, government and civil society for a six day meeting in which previous topics have ranged from fixing the global economy to the power of music.

As a tiny nation without significant natural resources, Dubai was once widely regarded as the region’s success story having achieved staggering economic growth, which left many of its gas and oil rich neighbors such as Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, in the shadow.

But following Dubai’s financial crisis, much covered by international media, the emirate is now struggling with multi billion dollar debts and accusations of a lack of transparency. Dubai is currently in discussion with several regional and international banks regarding strategies to repay $22 billion in loans.

According to Egyptian bank EFG-Hermes, Dubai’s government companies, established to drive the country’s economic diversification, have rung up an estimated debt of $150 billion. Among them are Dubai Holding, the government’s main investment arm, and Dubai World, which was instrumental in the emirate’s real estate boom.