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UAE out-spends China to win influence


The world’s 32nd largest economy by GDP – the UAE --spends more per year on lobbying and propaganda than the 2nd largest – China

Between the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, the Emirates Investment Authority, Mubadala, and the Investment Corporation of Dubai; the UAE’s Sovereign Wealth Funds control well over $1 trillion. That is roughly equivalent to the total assets of the China Investment Fund, the world’s largest SWF; meaning the UAE has the capability of mobilising the same amount of capital as a country 140 times its size. If you thought that they were just spending this money on gaudy buildings and Lamborghinis, you would be mistaken.


The Emirates is strategically deploying these resources to expand its regional and global influence far beyond its geographical size; they are steadily building an arsenal of ‘soft power’ that cannot be ignored. For example, through DP World, the Emirates’ multinational logistics company, the UAE owns and operates a network of 78 marine and inland terminals in 40 countries across six continents, making the UAE a key actor in global supply chains and trade, as well as in maritime security.


Politically, the UAE has learned very quickly that its substantial capital can buy disproportionate influence, and they have accelerated their investments in this activity dramatically in recent years. According to a new report by the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, the UAE paid over $64 million to at least 25 different lobbyist organisations between 2020 and 2021 – that is almost $90,000 per day; this include