Abu Dhabi, one of six small Sheikhdoms in the Arabian Gulf's Union of Arab Emirates, is thriving on revenue from its oil industry.
SV & GV Traffic through Abu Dhabi streets (3 shots)
MV PULL OUT immigrant labourers queueing at registry (3 shots)
SV Officer controls queue
SV & CU INT. Ditto checking papers (6 shots)
GV PULL BACK Immigrant shanty-town
SV & GV Workers on site (8 shots)
GV PULL BACK Major construction site (in downtown area)
CU ZOOM BACK Sheikh Zaid cutting tape & entering building
GV Big industrial plant (chemical) (3 shots)
GV New road in desert
SV Dredging work in progress in harbour (3 shots)
Initials SGM/1128 SGM/1243
This coverage, filmed for the BBC by Terry King, shows the immigrant work-force and some of the vast construction projects employing it.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Abu Dhabi, one of six small Sheikhdoms in the Arabian Gulf's Union of Arab Emirates, is thriving on revenue from its oil industry. This year (1972) oil is likely to make the Emirate 200 million pounds richer....ten years ago the annual revenue from oil was only 700 thousand pounds. Sheikh Zaid, Ruler of Abu Dhabi, has been using this unique income to build up a new society and broadening economy, virtually from scratch. Abu Dhabi is frequently described as a vast building site. Its labour-force works 24 hours a day to keep pace with Sheikh Zaid's commercial, industrial, and residential programmes, and is boosted by a growing army of immigrant workers from Iran Pakistan and India in particular.
SYNOPSIS: Abu Dhabi...one of six small Sheikhdoms in the Arabian Gulf's Union of Arab Emirates...where annual revenue from oil production alone is likely to exceed 200 million pounds this year. Abu Dhabi's ruler, Sheikh Zaid, has been using this vast income to build up a new society and ever-broadening economy. Abu Dhabi has been referred to as a vast building site, and has been glad to make use of an immigrant labour force to realise its programmes.
The prospect of cashing-in on Abu Dhabi's boom has attracted the immigrant workers who've been flooding in from Iran, Pakistan, and India in particular. The police force has been given the task of registering the aliens. Many immigrants have no papers, and even when they do, face a detailed interrogation. More than 50,000 immigrant workers are already registered, but as the "gates" are soon to olese they're facing a race against time to get on the list, and someone's payroll.
This shanty-town houses the immigrants. Many workers are earning up to ten times their previous incomes, and have been allowed to sent money out of Abu Dhabi to bring their families to them.
Until recently the workers were arriving by the boatload looking for work. Now, outnumbering the native Abu Dhabians, they're a problem to the government...but once they're in, there's quick money. To ensure the Abu Dhabian's position, Sheikh Zaid has made them natural partners in the country's and city's growth. Each national is given a piece of commercial, industrial, or residential land. Any foreigner investing in a business or offices must take on an Abu Dhabian as partner. Even then, after eight years the land and buildings revert to the owner....the Abu Dhabian. It's the immigrant work-force, however, that's building the city....not only for overseas investors, but for the 30 government departments which have sprung up since 1966. Sheikh Zaid is called on frequently to open new buildings.
Oil has transformed Sheikh Zaid's desert country, and he's now speeding ahead with developments which have taken some countries, and societies, generations to realise. A plan to provide better links with the outside world has included 10 million pounds-worth of new roads.
Once, cargo was dumped on the beach at Abu Dhabi, but today a new seven million pound harbour, built by American and German interests, is being protected by a ten million pound breakwater built by the British, Dutch, French, and Germans, Constant dredging operations provide easy access for the large new vessels of the world's merchant navies.