IRENA - Masdar City (UAE) - exemplars of innovation into emerging markets

Nnamdi O. Madichie

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This paper aims to highlight efforts of an emerging market economy, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), in complementing the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) initiative. This is a growing phenomenon that has brought about a major shift in the international business landscape with emerging markets at the center. Design/methodology/approach: The exploratory nature of the paper prompted the need to draw upon media reports and other official documents in a bid to stimulate academic interest in Masdar City - the world's first zero-carbon city in Abu Dhabi (capital of the UAE) as a business case illustration.

Findings: Masdar City remains arguably the world's acclaimed first zero-carbon, zero-waste city fully powered by renewable energy and poised to attract leading international expertise, academics, commerce, and residents. It also sets a standard for other emerging market players to emulate in this resurgent wave in the "internationalisation of innovation into emerging markets".

Social implications: The aspiration to live within ecological limits and still improve the quality of people's lives is undoubtedly the cornerstone for sustainable development. Be that as it may, developments at Masdar City would require further monitoring and of course academic and policy research into how it feeds into (as well as feeds off) the international support enjoyed by this emerging market.

Originality/value: By highlighting the efforts made in the UAE, in addition to securing headquarter status for IRENA and the rapid development of Masdar City, it looks quite obvious that the time for reflection is nigh and to learn lessons from the successful communities and emulate the ideas and innovations of these communities by the backward and not so successful nations and regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-47
Number of pages14
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Renewable energy
  • Innovation
  • United Arab Emirates


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