one of the United Arab Emirates

Behind the excess, there's an equally audacious initiative to transform Dubai from yet one more oil-dependent state into a world capital of media and commerce. Using its short-lived oil wealth, the emirate has built "free zones," areas earmarked for economic liberalization, technological innovation, and political transparency. Among these, three sprawling industrial parks stand out. The first, Internet City, is a bid to make Dubai the Arab world's IT hub. Next is the International Financial Center, a Stock Market headquarters meant to match Hong Kong's, London's, and New York's, and to trump the region's 13 other exchanges. And there is Media City, home to Al Arabiya, which aspires to replace Cairo as the Middle East's media (MSM) capital while broadcasting the emirate's vision of openness across the area.

they have ...the $7.5 million worth of precious metal piled up around you: five flat bars of chrome-bright palladium; two large plastic jars full of powdery platinum sponge; 160 fat, tarnished loaves of silver; and - on a single shelf, laid out one next to the other like babies in a maternity ward - 58 slender, radiant bricks of 99.9 percent pure gold, about 400 troy ounces each and altogether worth more than $6.5 million. These assets represent nearly half of the EGold system's physical reserves, and there are, arguably, sound business reasons for storing them in this part of the world. Dubai, sometimes called the Switzerland of the Middle East, offers the financial sophistication of a major commercial hub, the low overhead of a mostly immigrant labor pool, and the high security of a politely authoritarian mini-monarchy. But the truth is, the gold is here because Allah commanded it. Or at any rate, because the passionate believers behind E Dinar - the network's Muslim-friendly frontend - believe He did. When Douglas Jackson and the e-dinar principals began the negotiations that culminated in e-dinar's September 2000 launch, Jackson was told up front that a proper Islamic currency requires a proper Islamic country as its base. Obligingly, he moved some of the company's existing assets from Scotia Bank in Canada to Dubai's Transguard repository (the rest remains with J P Morgan Chase in London) and even rewrote his governance contract to give e-dinar a limited veto over bullion transfers out of the vault. In return, e-dinar agreed, in effect, to help market the e-gold system to the world's 1.1 billion Muslims. (DigiCash)

Edited:    |       |    Search Twitter for discussion