Dubai on a surge of economic development under the leadership of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

“Most people talk; we do things. They plan; we achieve. They hesitate; we move ahead. We are living proof that when human beings have the courage and commitment to transform a dream into reality, there is nothing that can stop them”, no one else but Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum could come up with such profundity of thought with pragmatism.

Thirty years ago the UAE was one of the least developed countries of the world. Today, it has achieved an income level comparable to that of the industrialized nations. Travellers flying into Dubai often look down and marvel at the man-made islands with the luxury villas. These outlandish creations came to symbolise the Emirate’s economic boom in the mid-2000s and the crisis that followed in 2009, when it needed help to pay its debts, many related to property development. But once on the ground, travellers see signs of a more sustainable prosperity. The airport is bustling as more international travellers use it than any other. Dubai has bounced back from the crisis which saw its economy contract by around 2.5% in 2009. It is expected to grow by around 5% this year, as it did last year.

Dubai long ago used up most of its oil reserves, so the government has for years tried to diversify the economy. While skyscrapers and palaces grabbed headlines, this less glamorous work has slowly paid off. Dubai is now a regional hub in several areas. There are several reasons behind this but one of the most promising one and the real cause of this economic growth is the leadership qualities and vision of H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

In the current scenario of Economic growth and sustainable development in Dubai, EIU forecasts that real GDP growth in the UAE will rebound in 2018, averaging 3.2% per year between 2018 and 2020. This represents an increase from the 2.0% real GDP growth forecast for the UAE in 2017. Real GDP growth in the UAE is forecast to outperform the world economy each year between 2018 and 2020.

Despite this, a number of economic headwinds remain. These range from diminishing global economic growth prospects to relatively large Government and Government Related Entity (“GRE”) debt, which according to the EIU currently accounts for approximately one third of the UAE’s GDP. On a more positive note, OPEC agreed to its first oil production cut in 8 years in November 2016. This should push oil prices up towards and ultimately beyond the EIU’s estimated fiscal break-even oil price of US $60 per barrel for Abu Dhabi, the main contributor to the UAE federal budget. Data from Oxford Economics forecasts that Dubai’s population will increase from 2.6 million in 2017 to 2.9 million in 2021.

This all has become applicable only because of the conducive environment for things to happen in the right and positive direction. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid’s initiatives are not limited to few particular things but can be seen in all the fields including education, health, housing, charity, entrepreneurship and many others. When it comes to education His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched a program to provide a free educational platform for 50 million students around the Arab world. Through this initiative, scientists, researchers and professionals across the Arab world are welcome to contribute to Mohammed bin Rashid Arabic eLearning Project by translating 5,000 videos – 1,000 of video editing- and 11 million words of math and science material into Arabic in one year to be available online to students for free.

A five-year health strategy has been launched to streamline the health sector in Dubai. The strategy, aiming to revamp the health sector, features four main approaches, six objectives, 15 programmes and 93 initiatives, to achieve the leap required over the next five years. The four approaches include health and lifestyle, excellence in providing service, smart health care, and governance.

He also launched UAE Strategy for the future encompasses several areas. It includes, the future of capital and the youth; the future of technology and smart software; the future of sustainability, environment, and climate change; the future of infrastructure and transportation; the future of healthcare; the future of education; the future of sustainable development; the future of happiness .

All this becomes applicable due to the conducive environment that allowes things to happen in the right and positive direction. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid’s initiatives are not limited to few particular things but can be seen in all the fields including education, health, housing, charity, entrepreneurship and many others. When it comes to education, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched a program to provide a free educational platform for 50 million students around the Arab world. Through this initiative, scientists, researchers and professionals across the Arab world are welcome to contribute to Mohammed bin Rashid Arabic eLearning Project by translating 5,000 videos – 1,000 of video editing- and 11 million words of math and science material into Arabic in one year to be available online to students for free.

Positivity; the future of energy; the future of the economy and commercial security; the future of financial resources; the future of the government and government services; the future of international relations and politics; the future of food and water security; and the future of electronic security.  The strategy also looks out to the world – it has outlines in it about making the UAE a global destination for sustainability and the future.

Over the last three decades Dubai has managed to become one of the global hubs for travel and tourism. Today, Dubai developed to one of the top destinations for global travellers and has become a centre of attraction for leisure and business visitors offering guests with a multifaceted destination combining beaches, desert, luxury hotels, shopping, entertainment and a thriving business centre. The city is in a unique situation where in a city with a population base of only 2.3 million receives seven times as many tourists annually. Going forward, Dubai will still keep adding hotel supply to its existing portfolio. Over the next two years the supply of hotel rooms and hotel apartments will reach 134,000 by the end of 2018 and further current forecast figures indicate that 69 new hotels will be added in the period between 2017 and 2020.

Happiness on its way to public

This is indeed the most unique and beautiful initiative by sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid. The UAE is keen on promoting happiness. It appointed a Minister of State for Happiness and launched the National Programme for Happiness and Positivity. On 7 March 2016, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, reviewed and presented  National Programme for Happiness and Positivity.

Aim 2017 at a glance

The Annual Investment Meeting is a unique event and the only one in existence whose core focus is foreign direct investment (FDI) in growing markets. Over the span of three days, an array of activities are staged including a Thought Leadership Conference, Global Leaders Debate, International Exhibition, Capacity Building Workshops, Country Presentations, Investors’ Hub, Gala Dinner and Investment Awards, Networking Features, AIM Startup Innovation Showcase and Pitch Competition. AIM 2017, one of the most exclusive investment gatherings in the world, was attended by prominent political, economic, and academic figures as well as businessmen and investors from a vast array of sectors. It served as a unique platform to meet, network, exchange experiences, explore business opportunities and sign cooperation agreements. It is indeed another initiative by the great ruler of Dubai.

It was noted that Dubai attracted AED 25.5 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows in 2016 and succeeded in maintaining its position among the top 10 global cities in attracting foreign investment, ranking seventh worldwide. Dubai has also succeeded in attracting 247 new investment projects, which contributed to reaffirming its position as a preferred international investment destination, and stood third behind London and Singapore in new investment initiatives in 2016, as per the latest Dubai FDI Monitor report released by the Dubai Investment Development Agency (Dubai FDI), an agency of Dubai Economy, and FT (Financial Times) FDI Markets data.

According to the ambitious economic policies adopted by the UAE and expressed by the 2021 vision of the UAE to build a competitive economy based on knowledge and innovation, the UAE has become a regional and global center for investment and business, as well as a source of huge investment flows to a large number of countries in the world.

Knocking at the door of AIM 2018 Dubai

The eighth edition of the Annual Investment Meeting will be held on 9 – 11 April 2018 at the Dubai World Trade Centre. The theme is ‘Linking Developed and Emerging Markets through FDI: Partnerships for Inclusive Growth & Sustainable Development’.

The actual need is a bold vision and the courage to face up to the future rather than to strive to protect the status quo. At the 2017 World Government Summit, a journalist asked Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, about the steps the UAE could take to revive an old agreement to create an Arab Common Market. Sheikh Mohammed replied that those days had been bypassed and that nowadays the country sought trade and business with the world at large.

The UAE has what it takes to become the world’s future capital, these words by Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum depicts the whole scenario itself.

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About Amna Malik 53 Articles
Author is the President, Center of Pakistan and International Relations (COPAIR) and Editor-in-Chief of ‘Mélange int’l Magazine’ and ‘ The Asian Telegraph’.