A vision behind UAE’s transformation into World Attraction

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Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai is a leader of par excellence whose vision has transformed Dubai into world most attractive investment destination as well as global business hub. Sheikh Mohammed is known for being a truly inspirational man. After all, he’s helped guide Dubai from a dusty city into the bustling modern metropolis of today. Sheikh Mohammed is known for being a man of the people, and can be seen in the videos speaking about how tough parts of his upbringing turned him into the man he is today, and how he wants only the best for the Emirates.

Millions of people travel to UAE to reap the fruits of his visionary leadership in the form of booming economic and trade opportunities. Sheikh Mohammad remains always busy in innovating unique ideas to make UAE more and more attractive for the world; this is why, UAE has obtained a status of business hub in the world. According to analysts, he is busy in creating new concepts and techniques to change the world perspective towards UAE.

Recently, he launched a new ministry with the title of Ministry of Possibilities in UAE which would operate without a minister, and will ‘address pressing national portfolios and build future government systems’ according to a Tweet by Sheikh Mohammed.

The ‘unconventional ministry’ will be staffed by cabinet ministers. It will be responsible for working on national programs across four departments: The Department of Anticipatory Services, Department of  Behavioral Rewards, Department of UAE Talent and Department of Government Procurement.The ministry will build an e-platform to facilitate government purchases, shortening the process from 60 days to 6 minutes and discover talents in UAE children. It is something unique idea to have a ministry without minister.

Since his accession in 2006, after the death of his brother Sheikh Maktoum, he has undertaken reforms in the UAE’s government, starting with the UAE Federal Government Strategy in April 2007. In 2010 he launched the UAE vision 2021 with the aim of making the UAE ‘one of the best countries in the world’ by 2021. He is a real leader behind the growth of Dubai into a global city, as well as the launch of a number of major enterprises including Emirates Airline, DP World, and the Jumeirah Group.

Many of these are held by Dubai Holding, a company with multi-diversified businesses and investments. Sheikh Mohammed has overseen the development of numerous projects in Dubai including the creation of a technology park and a free economic zone, Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, the Dubai International Finance Centre, the Palm Islands and the Burj Al Arab hotel. He also drove the construction of Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.

An equestrian, he is the founder of the Maktoum family-owned Godolphin racing stable and the owner of Darley, a thoroughbred breeding operation with operations in six countries. In 2012, he rode the horse Madji Du Pont 160 km to take the FEI World Endurance Championship.

He is a recognised poet in his native Arabic. He has a special relationship with Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is the Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and is seen as the de facto leader of the UAE.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al- Maktoum is credited with helping to force Dubai’s rapid expansion. The economic depression has hit Dubai extremely hard, due to its dependence on tourism and building which has led to many newspaper reports of construction slowing and in some cases stopping altogether. In an effort to combat the recession, Dubai has announced various tax cutting measures to incentivise businesses in the region. Dubai has also been in the news for its attitudes towards adultery, which are seen as harsh in the Western world, with some cases forcing the intervention of other governments on behalf of their citizens.

In 2016, the Government of Abu Dhabi announced a long-term plan for the transformation of the emirate’s economy, including a reduced reliance on the oil sector as a source of economic activity over time and a greater focus on knowledge-based industries in the future.

Entitled ‘Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030’, it identifies the following as the Government’s immediate economic priorities; building an open, efficient, effective and globally integrated business environment adopting a disciplined fiscal policy that is responsive to economic cycles, establishing a resilient monetary and financial market environment with manageable levels of inflation, driving significant improvement in the efficiency of the labour market, developing a sufficient and resilient infrastructure capable of supporting anticipated economic growth, developing a highly skilled, highly productive work force, enabling financial markets to become the key financiers of economic sectors and projects.

The UAE will have achieved Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, Environment Vision 2 0 3 0 ( A b u Dhabi), Plan Abu Dhabi 2030, A b u D h a b i Transportation Mobility Management Strategy, Surface Transport Master P l a n ( A b u Dhabi), Dubai Autonomous Transportation Strategy, Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030, D u b a i 3 D Printing Strategy and UN’s 2030 Agenda.

Based on the principles laid out in the Government’s Policy Agenda published in August 2007, the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 is a roadmap for the Emirate’s economic progress.

Seeking to ensure the continued success of the Emirate’s development, the Government of Abu Dhabi has set guidelines and priorities for the Emirate’s socio-economic progress in its Policy Agenda.

Taking these guidelines as its parameters, the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 has been developed by the Government, in consultation with the private sector, as a 22- year strategy to achieve these aims, and to ensure that all stakeholders in the economy are moving in concert, with a clear view of the long-term goals.

The Abu Dhabi Policy Agenda 2007/2008 defines the priorities for public policy in the Emirate. These priorities have been set to achieve what the Government of Abu Dhabi sees as its primary goals: a safe and secure society and a dynamic, open economy. The Government has identified nine pillars that will form the architecture of the Emirate’s social, political and economic future:

The Government wished to see the creation of higher-value employment opportunities, especially for Nationals, and maximising participation of women in the workforce. To encourage investment and entrepreneurial activity, the Government plans to contribute to enhancing the business environment through further legislative reform and by ensuring that all economic policy is formulated with reference to rigorous data sources and statistical information. Enhancing the economy and business climate will also help to integrate Abu Dhabi further into the global economy by attracting foreign as well as local investment, and by facilitating During the 21st century, UAE has to implement policies that move away from globalization and toward localization to conserve their energy resources, provide local jobs to citizens of the UAE instead of foreign citizens, and maintain their local decision-making authority export of capital through targeted investments with international partners. Despite the international turmoil over the cost of oil, UAE is already considered to be the Hong Kong of the Middle East. When the world’s oil supply runs out and/or it’s no longer needed, UAE would survive in a new oil-free world. Commercial activity in the UAE region would simply grow instead of withering because it was a major trading center centuries before oil was known to even exist. The emirate’s trade access with Iran is similar to Hong Kong’s trade with China due to Iran being ostracized by the majority of the Western world. During the 21st century, UAE has to implement policies that move away from globalization and toward localization to conserve their energy resources, provide local jobs to citizens of the United Arab Emirates instead of foreign citizens, and maintain their local decision-making authority. Zoning policies would be adjusted by Dubai’s municipal government to promote resource conservation and eliminate sprawl. The last remaining oil deposits in the United Arab Emirates will run out at the end of 2029. Even when there is no more oil in the UAE, their federal government will make 90% of the income that they earned in 2013 by virtue of milking the tourism industry to the fullest. As of February 2006, Dubai (along with the rest of the United Arab Emirates) only has a reserve supply of 44 billion barrels of crude petroleum.

If used properly and in conjunction with alternate fuels, the reserve fuels that will keep economy activity afloat in Dubai will last until the end of the 21st century. Maintaining an oil-based economy will continue to relegate women into being second-class citizens with no prospect for employment or social advancement. The development of a broader manufacturing industry may create more jobs for women, enhancing the role that women play in Dubai’s male-dominated society in addition to the rest of the United Arab Emirates.

Under his visionary leadership, the emirate has not only defied a global economic crisis, but emerged from it bigger, better, stronger, smarter and happier. In December 2006, he said, the UAE is the embodiment of confronting difficulties, overcoming obstacles and conquering the impossible. It is also the case that the achievements of Sheikh Mohammed and the mark he has made cannot be contained by just the past 10 years.

During the 1970s, Sheikh Mohammed was both head of the Dubai Defence Force and Minister of Defence. He was instrumental in the creation of Emirates airline in 1985 and, as Crown Prince, launched the landmark Burj Al Arab hotel in 1999 and instigated the construction of the Palm Jumeirah in 2001. Those last three are now potent symbols of Dubai as a world city, as is the Burj Khalifa which, in the first four years of his rule, rose from a concrete stump to become the tallest building in the world. Concrete, steel and glass are certainly some measure of his achievements.

In 2010, the UAE Government launched the UAE Vision 2021, which sets the key themes for the Social and economic development of the UAE and calls for a shift to a diversified and knowledge-based economy. This program will be supervised by The Ministry of Cabinet Affairs. This program is multidimensional and aims to provide the Emirati nationals with the highest possible standards of welfare. The needs and aspirations of Emiratis are at the core of the development process as set by the UAE Vision 2021, Sheikh Mohammed said. On the day following the launch of this program, the Crown Prince tweeted in English: Today we set our goals for the govt. of Dubai in 2021, as we march confidently towards the future & new horizons, adding In a first of its kind initiative, the government aims to compete with the private sector in terms of the caliber of service it provides. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

In 2015 Dubai transported population on a modern metro network, and welcomes its millions of visitors through the world’s busiest international airport and on to an unrivalled collection of luxury hotels. The city became a home and a haven for hundreds of thousands in a part of the world that is increasingly uncertain and unstable; it offers prosperity, security and tolerance as much around it slips towards chaos. Enterprise in all areas is encouraged and rewarded. As a result, since 2006, the emirate’s population has grown from 1.4 million to nearly 2.5 million.

This is not the result of a simple economic calculation of the benefits from growth to the country’s economy. Sheikh Mohammed has always understood why prosperity is so important.

In his 2013 book, Flashes of Thought, he wrote: our region is home to more than 200 million young people. We have the opportunity to inspire them with hope and to direct their energies towards improving their lives and the lives of those around them. If we fail, we will abandon them to emptiness, unemployment and the malicious ideologies of terrorism.

This understanding of the bigger picture is a hallmark of Sheikh Mohammed, both as Ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister of the UAE. He has a clear understanding of the responsibilities and duties of leadership. A true leader does not derive power from his position, he wrote in Flashes of Thought, but from his ethics, from people’s love for him, and from his knowledge, education and excellence in his field of work.

It is a philosophy of leadership that runs through the DNA of his first 10 years as Ruler. He is a visible presence both at home and abroad, from the winners’ enclosure at Britain’s Royal Ascot horse racing festival (one of his great passions) to answering questions live for listeners on local radio, to his Twitter feed that now tops 5.3 million followers.

Social media is an example of his embrace of the modern world. He speaks frequently of his vision to make Dubai the Arab world’s first Smart City, where every aspect of life is interconnected in a way that improves life for all, from traffic lights controlled by a single control centre, to a host of services from booking a taxi or paying a utility bill from the screen of a smartphone.

It is also at the core of Vision 2021, unveiled a year ago by Sheikh Mohammed as Prime Minister. In six years, the golden jubilee of the UAE Vision 2021 establishes an agenda of national priorities that include world-class health and education and a knowledge-based economy expressed in a spectacular space mission that will make the UAE the first Arab country to send a probe to Mars. All of this involves risk to some degree. In 2009, the global economic downturn produced an economic crisis that some international observers doubted Dubai could survive.

That it weathered the storm is another defining chapter of Sheikh Mohammed’s leadership, expressed in two more quotes from Flashes of Thought: To take risk and fail is not a failure. Real failure is to fear taking any risk, and An easy life does not make men, nor does it build nations. Challenges make m e n , and it is these men who build nations.

It is the nature o f S h e i k h Mohammed’s achievements t h a t t o understand them it is as important to look forward as to look back on the past 10 years. Two years ago, the country celebrated as Dubai won the right to host Expo 2020, an international event which Sheikh Mohammed promises will astonish the world.

By then, the Business Bay Canal will have been completed, connecting Dubai Creek to Jumeirah with a new park featuring a lagoon and man-made beach. This year three new theme parks will open – Legoland, the Hollywood-themed Motiongate and Bollywood Parks. If all of this can be distilled to a single word for Sheikh Mohammed’s vision, it would be happiness. As he puts it: Good governance is about nothing more or less than creating happiness. It really is that simple.

Now Sheikh Mohammed has outlined 50- year charter for Dubai; the pledge was made a day after Sheikh Mohammed shared his 8-point mantra of governance. A Dubai Silk Road that connects the East and West and the North and South are among the nine visions laid out by him. Our region has historically been one of civilisation and trade and this role must be restored, he said in the ‘Fifty-Year Charter’.

The document is a pledge and promise regarding improving the quality of life, develop the community of Dubai, and ensure the future of generations to come. This is a Charter that represents our pledge and promise towards enhancing the life of people in Dubai in 2019. A new charter shall be launched on January 4 every year. The charter will be released on January 4 each year to announce exceptional projects in Dubai. We have divided this document into nine articles in order to facilitate implementation, follow up and accountability.

50-year Charter contains nine articles that aim to develop the quality of life and guarantee a better future for generations. the document will be named the Fifty-Year Charter, after his 50th anniversary of starting his first mission in serving his homeland and people. On January 4, 2019, we announced our commitment (the ruling family, government and working teams) to the vision stated in this document, which will not replace strategic plans the government is developing or implementing, said Shaikh Mohammad.

This document contains part of our vision for the future of Dubai and the life that we want to offer to everyone living on this land, he added. Shaikh Mohammad underscored that on January 4 every year, the Fifty-Year-Charter would be renewed with exceptional projects and programmes in Dubai. We expect that everyone will work based on this document and based on the eight principles, which we already announced to ensure the sustainability of UAE’s well fare and prosperity, he said.

It is Dubai’s destiny to be a hub between the east and west, north and south and a top destination for the world. We have the largest international airport in the world connecting us to more than 200 cities. During the coming 10 years, more than a billion passengers will travel through our airport. We also run some 80 ports around the world, each of which is connected to tens of cities. Our next step is to build our own silk road in cooperation with brothers and friends. Our region has always been known for its civilisation and trade, and we have to restore that role. We will work to develop an international system to support our ambitions.

Over the course of the coming period, we are going to develop a geographical and economic map for Dubai, to turn it into integrated and specialised free economic zones. Each geographical-economic sector in the city will have its own board, which runs, promotes, and competes with similar sectors. Each geographic sector will also have its own investment and economic goals, which we will follow up on their implementation in sheer transparency. Each economic sector will also have a governor who will fulfil the goals for which the sector has been set up.

Writer is the Editor ‘Mélange int’l Magazine’, and daily The Asian Telegraph

arshans21@yahoo.com.

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