43rd NATIONAL DAY: United Arab Emirates: A Modern Age Wonder

Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) celebrates its 43rd National Day on December 2, 2014. The UAE remarkable multi-sector development is a modern-age wonder. Indeed, the nation has come a long way since its inception. Diversification of economy promoted massive industrialization in the country due to which oil share to GDP has been gradually on the decrease.

Health care system is the best in the GCC, MENA and of course world. The UAE government has achieved commendable progress in the healthcare sector, making substantial efforts to provide modern medical facilities to Emiratis and expatriates alike. Healthcare is one of the foremost sectors where hundreds of hospitals and thousands of polyclinics have been established all over the Emirate. It has now become convenient for middle- and low-income class to avail the best of medical facilities. Specialist Hospitals in metro cities possess technologically advanced healthcare facilities and world’s best qualified doctors.

In UAE the writ of the state and effective judicial system are upheld with high reverence. Governments across the world should learn due lessons from these high-standards of governance. Even the West acknowledges that the security and safety across UAE are par excellence. Expatriates truly feel privileged to have been able to work, live and raise a family in a safe and stable environment throughout the UAE. They are happy to note the economic, social and technological developments of the UAE. It has become the ideal choice to work and plan a career among the Arab youth.

UAE’s banking system is stable and resilient. Compared internationally, the Emirate banking industry is highly sophisticated offering state-of-the art products and services in both consumer and corporate sectors. UAE banks are world’s most-capitalized and offer fully automated and secured banking platforms. Its prudent regulatory system has saved it from any kind of credit crisis in the country even in the ongoing global economic and financial crises. The robust Emirate banks have played a key role to support and enhance the UAE s economic growth consistently since its inception 1971.

Islamic banking/finance has come a long way and has established its credibility among the international financial community. The World Bank and IMF consider “Shariah-based banking” a viable substitute to the conventional Western banking system. UAE and especially its financial hub has become the epicenter of Islamic economy (Islamic banking/finance). UAE definitely has the capacity to spearhead the growth of Islamic banking across the world in the days to come.

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UAE has knowledge based economy which is expanding phenomenally. It has been rated as first in “Doing of Business” by the World Bank latest report. Its strong economy, growing liquidity, and buoyant purchasing power has huge potential for inter-GCC trade through establishment of regional economic zones and free trade agreements.

Thanks to the visionary policies of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Emirati women are now highly educated and dynamic. They are fulfilling their duties toward socio-economic development of the Emirate. Their participation in the elections and induction in FNC is a constructive step enabling them to put-in their share for the Emirate’s socio-economic development. They are the pride of its corporate, governance, banking, finance, insurance, nursing, teaching, public relations and the last but not the least, security (armed forces).

Right from the beginning, the UAE institutionalized the holy spirits of tolerance, peace, respect for other, inter-faith harmony and above all protection of “Human Rights” for the Emiratis and expatriates on equal basis. There is no discrimination of any kind in its society, civility, law, politics and governance. Due to which now UAE has more than 200 nationalities living and working side-by-side in the country. Expatriates are grateful to Emirate from all walks of life, for their warm appreciation and acceptability of the expatriates.

UAE has already initiated many diversified reforms as well as policies for the further enhancing of its national capacity building, better governance, people friendly mechanism and the last but not the least, restructuring of labour market and laws. Implementation of “online e-Government” has introduced the concept of accountability, performance orientation and conflict resolution in all the related departments and ministries in the country. It has already improved the efficiency of all the government functionaries and benefited to the trio of government ministries, local employers, and expatriate workers in the country.

Thanks again to the visionary policies of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan in education sector due to which now Emiratis are highly educated, innovated and vigorous. Its education system at nurseries, primary schools, colleges (technical & arts) and universities is a unique balance of teaching modern social and physical sciences, medical, and professional courses. Nowhere in the Muslim world can one find such an education development and supportive environment in such a short span of time.

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UAE has also unmatched infrastructural development in the GCC, MENA and even in the world. The ongoing large-scale development of airports and railway, the expansion of telecommunication and logistics, the construction of industrial cities along with the launch of so many sports, medical, and financial cities will further increase its world ranking as one of the top industrialized countries in near future.

UAE is one of the most connected countries in the world. Its mobile market is already the most competitive in the GCC and MENA. Mobile phone penetration is very high almost two subscriptions per individual and the emerging broadband market offer exponential growth for the Emirate telecoms industry in the coming days.

Most recently, the cabinet of UAE has approved “UAE ICT Strategy 2021”. It would increase broadband 15 times. It is one of the main pillars of its knowledge based economy. It has multiplier effects on socio-economic growth as well as national income of the UAE in the days to come. It would speed-up education ratios among the common people. It would promote connectivity which is crucial for rapid economic growth and massive industrialization. It would increase social awareness, sense of duties and responsibilities. It is a counterproductive development strategy which would definitely pay its dividends in the days to come. It is estimated that in near future, the IT spending will multiply and the IT sector will positively support the Emirate’s growth.

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UAE is the leading player in the green technologies. Its strategic vision of renewable energy production has achieved great success throughout the world. Renewable energy gears the pace of development. It guarantees the survival of humanity on this planet. It protects the dreams of socio-economic prosperity, stability and sustainability. It provides essential inputs of industrial productivity, generation of employment, reduction of poverty and above all promotes qualitative life and renewable/alternative energy is a value-addition.

UAE has been supplying energy for the development of global economy for over five decades. The United Arab Emirates has the 10 percent of the world’s oil reserves and 3.3 percent of the world’s gas reserves which are depleting with the passage of time. Its renewables icon, Masdar leads the GCC, MENA and the world. Masdar City (solar energy project) is a key element of the “Abu Dhabi 2030 Plan” and the government of Abu Dhabi’s strategic policy framework. Shams-1 is the first full scale renewable energy plant in the Abu Dhabi and largest CSP plant in the world. It will generate 100 MW covering an area of 2.5 km, with plans to increase capacity to 2000 MW in the future. Hydrogen Power Abu Dhabi (HPAD) is a 60:40 joint venture between Masdar and BP to construct the world’s first commercial scale hydrogen fuelled power plant, utilising fossil fuel feed stock and CCS).

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According to latest World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report (September, 2014), Emirate has tremendously excel in different categories in the world. It jumps 7 ranks in the latest Global Competitiveness Report 2014-2015 issued by the World Economic Forum. It is the 12th most competitive nation globally ahead of developed economies such as Canada, Denmark and South Korea. Overall, the UAE improved its performance in 78 indicators out of 114.

Under the leadership of The President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, UAE macro-economy is constantly evolving due to which security and stability indicators are among the best in the world. The UAE ranks first for the absence of inflation and the absence organized crime globally, quality of roads on the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) for 2014-2015. It ranks second for the effectiveness of government spending, the government procumbent of advanced technology and the indicators of “impact of taxes on investment and lack of trade barriers globally. Emirate stands third in terms of absence of government bureaucracy, citizens’ confidence in the government and leadership, best infrastructure in the world, quality of ports, efficiency of customs procedures and the last but not the least, attracting professional talent in the country.

The United Arab Emirates overall performance in the latest edition of Global Competitiveness Report (2014-15) reflects the concerted and comprehensive national competitiveness strategy and its alignment with the economic and social objectives for the ultimate well-being and prosperity of the UAE.

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UAE macro-economy is strong, stable and sustainable. Its rigorous commercial diplomacy has successfully increased its exports in all the continents of the world. It is a connecting destination between the east and west. It is diversified and dynamic. It banking system is resilient and progressive. Its Islamic economy/finance is healthy and productive. Its industrial sector is robust and achieved high standard of productivity. Its SME sector is upbeat and progressive. Its travel & tourism industry has comparative advantage and increase its contribution to GDP with every passing day.

Its political system is matured in shape of active role of Federal National Council (FNC) and holding of elections on regular basis which delivers the bounties of high economic growth to its people at large. It resolves towards terrorism is strong and valuable. Its conflict resolution drive is highly commendable. Its political commitment towards protection of human rights is crystal clear and above any discrimination and bigotry.

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UAE, the land of opportunity for expatriates, icon of happiness and qualitative life to Arab youth, knowledge-based economy and the last but not the least, land of peace, harmony and tolerance will definitely achieve high standards of innovation in 2015.

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