Order From Ashes

Dubai Ports World and a New Form of Imperialism

December 9, 2019

A new report out today from TCF report examines Gulf expansionism through a case study of the Emirates-based company Dubai Ports World (DP World). This multinational is one of the world’s leading global port operators and logistics giants—and a source of power for the United Arab Emirates. 

A close look at its operations in the Horn of Africa reveals the ways that a government can exert control through a modern state-chartered company. A closer look at the operations of DP World also casts light on a key driver of disastrous state fragmentation in the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea. 

DP World functions like a modern-day version of the British East India Company, serving as both a foreign policy tool and a profit engine. The analysis in Advani’s report, and our discussion with him here, help explain how governments exert political power outside the confines of traditional statecraft.

Participants include:

  • Rohan Advani, researcher
  • Michael Wahid Hanna, senior fellow, The Century Foundation
  • Thanassis Cambanis, senior fellow, The Century Foundation