Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan
Special Report on UAE’s 44rd National Day
United Arab Emirates (UAE) stands for all the possible things, goals, standards, and targets. It is the land of opportunity for expatriates and icon of happiness and qualitative life to Arab youth. It is also land of peace, harmony and tolerance. For UAE, sky is the limit.
Diversification of Economy/Production
Its macro-economy is knowledge-based which is now paying its dividends. The journey of sand to space agency (mission of Mars) has been completed within a shortest span of time. It is the most advanced country in terms of technological advancement in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
UAE has already achieved great strides in diversification of economy through massive industrialization, renewables, re-exports, Islamic economy and rapid growth of private sector. It is now an ideal hub of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs), businesses and Joint Ventures (JVs). Many regional and international research reports (IMF, WB, World Economic Forum, Moody etc.) and economic data verify the elements of stability and sustainability in its macro-economy despite emerging socio-economic meltdowns and geo-political risks in the region and around the globe. It is heaven for “doing business “in the world.
World Bank report 2016 (Ease of Doing Business)
UAE has been ranked first in Arab world for 3rd year in row in Ease of Doing Business: World Bank report 2016. The UAE came among the first five countries in the world regarding non-payment of taxes, which does not affect business, process of construction permits and electricity delivery.
The UAE was ranked first regionally in both dealing with the construction permits, the delivery of electricity, the protection of small investors and registering property and the non-payment of taxes, which does not affect business, processing construction permits and the enforcement of contracts.
Wise Leadership’s Strategic Vision
The UAE’s leadership attaches great importance to the energy sector through diversifying its resources. The country is on the right path to make the country one of the world’s best in the areas of energy policies, the best possible means for investment of energy resources, and focus on innovation in this sector. Moreover, according to Vision 2021, UAE aims to reduce its dependence on imported natural gas from 100 per cent today to 70 per cent by 2020-2021. It plans to invest Dh128bn to diversify energy sources.
Furthermore, according to UAE’s official figures the UAE has 5.8 per cent of the world’s oil reserves with hydrocarbon revenues accounting for 25 per cent of the country’s GDP and 20 per cent of total export revenues.
Despite, regional economic recession and global weak economic outcome, the UAE’s macro-economy is strong, stable and sustained. The UAE economy is expected to continue to grow steadily despite the decline in oil profits. According to UAE Economic Ministry (2015), “the UAE GDP increased more than 236-fold from Dh6.5 billion in 1971 to Dh 1,540 billion in 2014.” It recorded new overall economic growth levels in 2014-15 registering noticeable improvement in the non-oil sectors performance and showing a real growth of the GDP at 5.8 percent.
According to the UAE’s Economic Ministry (August, 2015), the GDP of the country is predicted to grow more than 3.5 percent to more than AED1.6 trillion during the current fiscal year compared with AED1.5 trillion in 2014. World Bank said earlier in its Mena Economic Indicator report (2015) that the UAE’s real GDP growth is forecast to slow from 4.7 per cent in 2014 to 3.1 per cent this year due to a decline in oil prices.
International Monetary Fund (2015)
The IMF said the UAE’s GDP grew 3.6 per cent while non-oil GDP registered a growth of 5.2 per cent in 2014-15. In terms of the UAE’s nominal GDP, IMF It’s expected to increase to $392.1 billion (Dh1.439 trillion) next year.
Frost & Sullivan (2015)
Moreover, according to global consulting firm Frost & Sullivan (April, 2015), the size of the UAE economy based on its GDP is estimated to grow from $416.44bn (Dh1.528 trillion) last year to $440.18bn (Dh1.615 trillion) this year, because of its economic diversification, increased public sector spending and huge foreign reserves.
Gross National Expenditure Allocation
The Gross National Expenditure allocation in the annual budget increased from only Dh201 million in 1971 to Dh49bn and Dh100bn in 2015 which clearly shows its great achievement in the spheres of socio-economic development.
UAE’s Economic Ministry (2015)
According to UAE’s Economic Ministry, national production has increased from Dh1.3 trillion in 2006 to Dh2.5 trillion in 2014. Production reached some Dh450bn in the manufacturing industries in 2014, up from Dh230 billion in 2006, and production in the construction sector reached Dh295bn in 2014, up from Dh155bn in 2006.
Manpower Statistics (2015)
The total manpower in the national labour market in 2014 reached 275,000 citizens, and UAE is aiming to take that number to 460,000 citizens by 2021. It shows UAE’s high commitments towards the rights of labours which enables unlimited workers to work throughout the UAE without any fear and under the umbrella of uniformed codes of labour rights.
UAE: Ideal Destination for Global Talent
The UAE in 2014-15 continued to attract great talent, leading the world as a preferred destination for talent and skills according to reports, with total compensation paid to employees in 2014-15 reaching Dh410 billion in all sectors, including Dh82 billion in the government sector.
UAE’s Economic Efficiency
UAE’s ability to maintain high grow rates in the past years despite global economic volatility shows its economic efficiency and proves that its diversification policy is successful as it relies more on non-oil sectors to weather global challenges. The share of the industrial sector in the GDP is growing and now stands between 10-14 percent. It is predicted that the size of industrial investments in the UAE would double in the next five years in tandem with the growth of the industrial sector share in the country’s GDP, which now stands between 10-14 per cent.
Rigorous Commercial Diplomacy
UAE has firm belief in commercial diplomacy due to which it has now more than 75 bilateral tax agreements and some 50 bilateral investment treaties with strategic partners around the world, as well as air transport agreements with 168 countries on different continents of the world, as well as being signatory to hundreds of other bilateral and multilateral agreements. It continues to lead the Middle Eastern countries as the region’s largest trading partner with the world’s top 10 global economies.
UAE has become a major player in international trade. It bolstered its position in global trade scene. The liberal trade policy of the UAE, advanced infrastructure, strategic location and legislative environment are all factors contributing to the continuous growth at external fronts.
Comparative Advantage of UAE’s Strategic Location
The UAE in 2015 also continued to capitalise on its strategic location and strong infrastructure in enhancing its import and export systems, as its exports inclusive of re-exports reached Dh376 billion, while its imports reached some Dh700 billion.
Massive Infrastructural Development
The infrastructure of its ports and airports, as well as of its shipping fleet, now facilitates trading links throughout the world. The UAE has now become an important player in the global economy and provides the regional headquarters for more than 25 per cent of the world’s largest 500 corporations.
Now, UAE is famous for its knowledge-based economy which has the best model in the world. It is a paradigm shift which has transformed its macro-economy to mitigate all the pitfalls of regional and world weak economic conditions for so many years.
Total foreign direct investment in the UAE was 105 billion dollars in 2013 of which a significant share went into knowledge-intensive manufacturing and services industries. It is predicted that improved knowledge creation and investor protection can facilitate the UAE’s evolution into a knowledge based economy.
Strategic Vision 2021
Moreover, Vision 2021 National Agenda also intends to develop a knowledge-based economy, built on innovation. There is great scope for development in the fields of manufacturing, information automation, tourism and transportation.
Year of Innovation (2015)
To speed-up the traditions of knowledge-based economy, the UAE government has designated 2015 the Year of Innovation, focusing on areas such as renewable energy, transportation and technology.
Dubai’s Smart City initiative (2014-15)
It was launched in 2014. Smart City projects include the installation of sensors throughout the city to better manage traffic flows, the development of a “smart electrical grid” that allows residents to sell surplus solar power to the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, and the installation of “smart meters” to foster more efficient use of electricity and water.
It focuses on making services more efficient across six sectors mentioned above.
Secrets of UAE’s Macro-Economy Sustainability
The Standard and Poor’s Agency (2015)
Even, the Standard and Poor’s Agency affirmed that the credit quality classification of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi was “AA+” level. It ruled out any effect of the current oil prices on the development projects that are being carried in the UAE and especially Abu Dhabi. Standard & Poor’s expects Dubai property market to decline 10-20% over the year, especially as many as 20,000 residential units expected to come on line this year alone.
Throughout 2015, its experienced good economic conditions particularly by the non-oil sectors, based on ascending levels of the General Index of Confidence in Business Climate, Consumers Trust Index and the National Family Conditions Observatory Index.
Current Account Surplus
The International Monitory Fund (IMF) estimated the average economic growth of the Emirates expects 3.2 percent in 2015, among the highest in the GCC/MENA. The IMF also expects current account surplus at 5.3 percent in 2015, due to the decline in the international oil prices.
Financial &Banking Industry (2014-15)
The official figures claim that financial sector has seen double-digit growth in 2014 of some 15 per cent, with contributions to GDP reaching Dh122bn. banking sector also continued its positive growth and expansion as the total number of banks active in the country reached 57 banks in addition to the presence of 122 representative offices of foreign banks and total assets of about Dh2.38 trillion at the beginning of 2015.
Banking industry remained strong and stable. According to the Central Bank of the UAE, the monetary supply (N3), in the broad scene was 1377.2 billion Dirhams, end of March 2015, reflecting a rise of 1.2 percent over end of February 2015 figures of 1361.3 billion Dirhams. The gross bank deposit totalled 1.3 percent end of March 2015, in comparison to February figures, hence reaching 1449.3 billion Dirhams. Meanwhile the total bank credit increased to 1410.2 billion Dirhams, end of March, at 1.2 percent compared to February. In local markets, and as per the data of the Abu Dhabi Securities & Commodities Authorities, the shares price index registered 4476.9 points, end of March, retreating by 2.3 percent compared to December 2014.
Strong & Stable Fiscal Indicators (2014-15)
UAE’s Economic Ministry says that consolidated (federal government, Abu Dhabi and Dubai) spending increased by 15 percent during 2005-2014. Ratings agency Fitch estimates that sovereign foreign assets rose to 181 percent of GDP at end-2014 compared with direct sovereign external debt of just 0.6 percent of GDP. Sovereign net foreign assets are forecast at 178 percent of GDP at end-2016 based on conservative assumptions for investment performance.
The UAE has already reached a tourism milestone: In 2014, Dubai International Airport claimed the title of the world’s busiest airport, with a total of 70.4 million passengers. The UAE announced in September a US$32 billion expansion project at Al Maktoum International Airport, the emirate’s other airport, to accommodate 200 million passengers annually.
The UAE has continued to launch a wide range of tourism projects and entertainment destinations with some 20 million tourists visiting the seven emirates according to statistics issued by the local tourist authorities.
It continues to consolidate the country’s status as one of the world’s most important travel destinations with the support of the transportation, aviation, marketing and exhibitions industries and bolstered by the UAE’s strong international relations and many international friendships.
The IMF expects an average inflation, on the general prices level, to about 2.1 percent compared to 2.3 percent in 2014-15 the lowest since its inception. It has actually saved common people from the inflationary pressure and created a comfort zone for living a decent life.
Contributory Role of Non-Oil Sector (2014-15)
Despite the plunge in oil prices, the UAE’s economy is able to maintain such steadfast growth rate because of its successful diversification policy that is increasingly reliant on non-oil sectors to propel expansion. The contribution of the non-oil sector to the national economy has now reached 68.6 per cent of the constant-price GDP.
The National Bureau of Statistics of Abu Dhabi showed average annual growth of the non-oil activities increased noticeably reaching 12.7 percent in comparison to 2.6 percent in the same quarter of 2013.
Most recent published data by the National Bureau of Statistics showed that the gross total of the foreign trade of non-oil goods, of the UAE was 524.8 Billion Dirhams, during the first half of 2014-15. The imports amounted to 64.8 percent exports of non-oil commodities amounted 12.1 percent and the re-exported stood at 23.1 percent.
Booming Real Estate Sector
The UAE has been named the second hottest market for global residential property investors ahead of Singapore, the United Kingdom and Hong Kong, according to Savills, a UK-based real estate advisor.
Based on its constant strong and sustainable socio-economic development, UAE will continue to achieve strong growth during 2015 as work continues on a large number of infrastructure projects, such as the expansion of national airports totaling Dh100 billion and building the Union Rail Network, a project worth Dh40 billion, in addition to roads and transport projects, new and improved tourist facilities, electronic infrastructure, real estate, and financial services. Moreover, the continuing rise in government spending and investment and the increase in government and private capital, which amounted to Dh353 billion in 2014, also indicate continued strong growth in 2015.
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) predicts that the UAE economy is expected to grow by roughly 3.6 per cent during the period from 2015 to 2019. It suggests that the growth of the UAE’s real GDP will increase up to 3.2 per cent during the period from 2015 to 2030 and approximately 3.1 per cent from 2015 to 2050. All these above mentioned reports/figures and data clearly show UAE’s rapid socio-economic development having sustained economic prosperity and prospects in the years to come.
Another latest published report of the International Finance (IIF) says that the UAE looks resilient to the slump in oil prices given a diversified economy, excellent infrastructure; a better regulated banking system, political stability, ample foreign assets, and a business/investment friendly policies and tolerant culture. It forecasts UAE’s GDP at 4.1 percent growth in the economy during the current fiscal year.
Source: Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority
The continued downfall in the oil prices has had a positive impact on the growth of many economic sectors in the UAE in 2014-15. It shows its resiliency even in difficult times.
Sectors Percentage (2014-15) Percentage (2013)
Transport & Storage 10 7.9
Wholesale & Retail 8 6.8
Construction 6.1 3.4
Source: UAE Economic Ministry (2015)
UAE has put in place all the necessary plans to take that contribution to as high as 80 per cent in 2021 through intensive investment in the industrial and tourism sectors, air and maritime transport, import and re-export, as well as supporting a range of projects and initiatives based on the knowledge economy.
By developing new sectors, such as the Islamic Economy, and investing in innovation, content development and other such activities, UAE’s aim is to build towards economic diversity in 2021 in order to strengthen the economic and financial stability of the UAE and fortify ourselves against the inherent fluctuations and instabilities of world markets.
Future Prospects of non-oil GDP
IMF predicts that UAE’s non-oil GDP is now to grow at 4.4 per cent this year and the IMF said it is likely to move up to 4.5 per cent in 2016. The non-oil economy is projected to expand by over 4 per cent per annum in the coming years on the back of Dubai’s strong core services sectors and Abu Dhabi’s diversification efforts.
Economics of Mega Projects
Mega projects have multiplier socio-economic effects. It generates so many jobs. It speeds up business and economic activity. It encourages private sector. It promotes construction sector. It gears up value-addition in the service sector.
Mega Projects Details
Dubai Solar Park It completed an AED120 million 13-megawatt photovoltaic power plant. The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, slated for completion in 2030, will deliver 3 gigawatts. It’s meant to help the UAE reach its goal of obtaining 24 percent of its energy from “clean” sources within the next six years.
Etihad National Railway Network Its cost is US$79 which will cover an estimated 1,200 kilometers (746 miles), connecting all seven emirates. Government-backed sponsor Etihad views the railway network, which is part of a larger international rail program funded by Gulf Cooperation Council member nations.
Blue-waters Islands It includes retail, entertainment and residential properties. It is designed to bolster the UAE’s tourism sector, is scheduled for completion in 2018. It will feature a US$270 million Ferris wheel called the Dubai Eye. Standing at 210 meters (689 feet), it will be the tallest wheel in the world.
Dubai Design District It covers about 21 million square feet (2 million square meters). It is also known as D3. It aims to establish the city as an international design and fashion destination. Expected to cost AED8 billion, the project will include retail space for small boutiques as well as prominent brands, artist workshops, luxury hotels and office space. Its first AED4 billion phase is scheduled to close in 2015.
The UAE’s First Nuclear Program It has begun a four-reactor construction program at the Barakah power plant in Abu Dhabi. Projects worth US$20 billion have begun on all four reactors, with the first slated to come online by 2017. When the program is finished in 2020, Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp. expects the reactors to supply 25 percent of the country’s electricity.
UAE and Different Global Rankings (2014-16)
A different global ranking has ranked first regionally and among the best globally in so many economic indicators which are given below as:-
1. Global Competitiveness Report of World Economic Forum (2015-2016)
The UAE has been ranked first globally in the “Quality of Roads Indicator”, according to the Global Competitiveness Report issued by the World Economic Forum, for the year 2015-2016. The Quality of Roads pillar features the quality of railroad, port and air transport infrastructure.
According to the World Trade Organization’s Report on International Trade Trends (April, 2015), the UAE retained its high ranking among the world’s top 16 exporter,
In imports, UAE ranked 19th and is the most important market for merchandise imports in MENA. The WTO report says UAE merchandise exports reached $ 359 billion, which is 1.9 percent of the total world exports. UAE imports increased by 4 percent and it accounted for 1.4 percent of the total world exports. Regionally, UAE accounts for 28 percent of the Middle East merchandise exports and 33 percent of imports during 2014.
According to the said report UAE has ranked 19th among global importers of services. The total value services imports to UAE is $ 72 billion, which constitutes 1.5 percent of the total global imports of services.
3. World Economic Forum (2015)
The UAE moved one position up in network readiness index (NRI) and leads the ladder in the Gulf rankings due to the government’s continued vision to drive the development of information and communication technology (ICT) decisively and to expand it to all segments of the economy and society.
4. Arab Investment and Export Credit Guarantee Corporation
The UAE ranked in first position among Arab and 22nd position globally in the Global Investment Indicator. The Arab Investment and Export Credit Guarantee Corporation confirmed that both the UAE and Egypt recorded improvements in their position in Global Indicators.
Its human values reflect its inbuilt virtue towards greater cause of humanity, brotherhood and regional peace. Its high level of tolerance and interfaith harmony is second to none in the region and around the globe. Its human rights protection provisions, laws, decrees and judicial system is exemplary. It values basic rights of freedom, association, fair-play and rule of the law.
4. Arab Women Foundation
According to the Arab Women Foundation recent published report (2015), the UAE has ranked number one in the Arab world on empowerment of Women. It expressed its appreciation to the UAE for pursuing polices of women empowerment. Women constitute 22 percent of the membership of the Federal National Council, which is the highest proportion of women participation in the Arab countries for the third year in a row.
The report added that with the number of women ministers increasing from two to four, the UAE steadily makes way towards more chances for women participation especially in areas such as judiciary and the diplomatic corps and the increasing number of women involved in business.
5. Global Competitiveness Report
The UAE ranked high on a global level in the key indicators of the Global Competitiveness Report (2014-15) and was ranked first in the world in terms of quality of roads, absence of organised crime, and lack of inflation. It was also ranked second globally in government procurement of advanced technology, the effectiveness of government spending, the infrastructure and quality of the aviation sector, and the lack of trade barriers.
The UAE also ranked third globally in citizens’ trust in the political leadership and the government, the lack of government bureaucracy, the quality of ports and efficiency of customs procedures, attracting technology through direct foreign investment, and attracting specialised talent in building a knowledge economy.
Economics of Human Values
The Human Development Report (2014-15) issued by the United Nations Development Programme, the average life expectancy of citizens in the UAE increased to 76.8 years as compared to 76.7 years in the 2013 report, while the average number of years of schooling for citizens has now reached 13.3 years, compared to 12 years in the last report. UAE’s leaders have already introduced so many meaningful policies for the welfare of its people due to which the basic necessities of life are easily available.
Happiness Index (2015)
Its people are happy and trust its government’s policies. UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) 2015 ranked UAE first among Arab Countries, and ranked in the 20th position internationally on the Happiness Index (2015). It is based on a group of main and sub-indicators related to the quality of health, the individual’s share of the GDP, social support and trust (extent of corruption decline among public institutions and the business sector), in addition to the individuals’ freedoms.
Concept of Qualitative Life
Concept of qualitative life has been institutionalized in the country. Schooling, clean drinking water, health and sanitation have been provided at the door steps of its people since inception. Policies are people’s friendly. Moreover, its bureaucracy is very cooperative. It can also be verified from the World Competitiveness yearbook (2014) which judged the UAE 1st globally in the field of government efficiency, the quality of government decisions, the absence of bureaucracy, and good management of public funds.
No Human Rights Violations
Not a single incident could be reported/surface in all the seven Emirates since 1971 on the issues of human right violations, gender discrimination, violence against the weaker segments/factions of the Emirati Society due to strategic vision of its successive leadership and generational development of human values among its people at large. Now UAE is the home of more than 200 different nationalities (faiths, beliefs, cultural identities, sects, factions etc.) working together. It has largest churches in the GCC and MENA. UN International Organization for Peace, Care and Relief for (2014-15) ranked UAE 1st globally in peaceful coexistence among nationalities, with people from over 200 countries.
Optimal Utility of UAE Anti-Discrimination Law No. 02 of 2015
Most recently His Highness President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan issued a new “Anti-Discrimination Law No. 02 of 2015”. It is indeed a way forward to curb hatred, discrimination, racism, incitement, and terrorism from the country. It promotes true human values. It is anti-conflict, division, and destruction. It promotes harmony peace and love. UAE has set an example in dealing with the racism.
i. True Reflection of Multiculturalism
It is the reflection of multiculturalism. It stands for globalization. It stands for togetherness. It has introduced a new social contract in the Emirates. The UAE has rightly taken measures and decisions in shape of No.02 of 2015, which is the safeguard against all negative factors that can lead to in-fighting and discrimination. Furthermore the law secures peaceful co-existence among the people in the country with their different religions, sects and ethnicities.
It aims to safeguard people regardless of their origin, beliefs or race, against acts that promote religious hate and intolerance. It promotes broad-mindedness and acceptance. It provides a sound foundation for the environment of tolerance.
iii. Consolidation of the Principles of Freedom & Tolerance
It also aims to consolidate the principles of freedom, tolerance and acceptance of others and respect for the views, ideas, beliefs and values of others, as adopted by the UAE since its inception. The UAE guarantees, protects and defends these principles by the force of law.
The purpose of said law is not the mere application of sanctions or sentences. It serves to establish a proper system/relation between members of society and install civil peace. The protection of societies and their rights is not a matter left to the wishes of the people.
UAE’s generous Humanitarian Assistance
UAE stands for its generous humanitarian assistance which is being delivered without any prejudice of religion, faith, belief, color, faction, and caste around the globe. From the deserts of Mali and Ethiopia to snowy fields of Bosnia and New Zealand, from ranchers of Australia to watery places of many Far-East countries, from mountainous areas of Pakistan and Nepal to barren plains of Africa UAE’s humanitarian assistance and development projects are everywhere indicating its firm belief in humanity, service, positivity and universalism.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development It ranked UAE first. UAE donated development aid in proportion to its gross national income, the UAE’s up to Dh18 billion, or 1.17 per cent of GNI.
Mohammed bin Rashid Charitable and Humanitarian Establishment It sent two 2,464 tonnes of in-kind assistance since the beginning of this year through 29 sea and air shipments to 18 sisterly and friendly countries, where the aid was distributed to the needy categories.
UAE Red Crescent (ERC) More than Dh300 million in charity and aid has been given so far by the Emirates Red Crescent. It carried out humanitarian, charitable, relief and development programmes worth Dh349.23m, with Dh300.75m of that going overseas. The ERC offered Dh11.9m to 4,327 families locally as well as Dh9m to 922 patients. It also offered Dh9.7m to 2,477 students. About 8,000 families with 40,000 members had benefited from the ERC’s humanitarian and development programmes, and more than 94,000 orphans were sponsored within and outside the UAE.
UAE’s Initiative for Orphans and Minors It has facilitated procedures enabling individuals and families to volunteer to help this section of the populace.
Source: Different Dailies of the UAE (2014-15)
UAE is now iconic country of infrastructural development, green buildings, eco-projects and the last but not the least, social development. It has been ranked first for its outstanding infrastructures, roads and buildings for so many years in so many regional and international reports/data/figures.
UAE is also famous for its sky-high buildings, world class aviation, free economic zones, hotel industry, religious heritage, seaports, and dynamic people.
Foreign Policy’s Objectives
Its foreign policy’s objectives are crystal clear. It promotes regional peace and global harmony. It encourages peaceful co-existence. It is dynamic and forwarding looking.
Diplomatic relations have been established with more than 190 countries throughout the world, compared to relations with only three countries when the UAE was first established in 1971.
Most recently H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister of the UAE has outlined his country’s foreign policy objectives are given below as:-
UAE considers Daesh and AI-Qaeda-affiliated groups a global risk against all states and communities. It has strong commitments to fight against all of them. UAE has deep concerns on the escalating tension and violence in the region resulting from the terrorist acts committed by elements deliberately aiming at destabilising the region and undermining its security Daesh, AI-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Ansar-Allah, and other groups, who exploit religion for political purposes. It assured strong commitment and support to regional and international efforts aiming at combating and eliminating extremism and terrorism through cooperation and coordination with regional and international partners.
ii. Yemen Crisis
UAE has great concerns about the deteriorating security situation and emerging security concerns happening in Yemen and regarded the restoration of full control of Bab AI-Mandab by the coalition forces and the Yemeni people by defeating the rebels, as another military success in securing this vital sea lane. According to him, it further marked the end of the control of the rebels and their supporters, while demonstrating their weakening presence in other strategic areas in Yemen.
He stressed the value of international community’s support and realization to restore the political process in Yemen in accordance with the agreed parameters, most importantly the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative and its implementation mechanism.
Foreign Minister reassured UAE’s continued support for the Arab coalition led by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia against Yemeni rebels and Houthis and its commitment to enhancing the capacity of the Yemeni people to restore stability. He showcased UAE’s massive humanitarian assistance campaigns for the needy people of Yemen.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed expressed his country’s deep concern regarding the ongoing tension and instability in Libya, which represents a major threat to security and stability in the region. To fight strongly against Daesh and other terrorist organisations and respond to trans-boundary threats, the UAE showed the appropriate measures to the world by lifting the ban imposed on the capabilities of the elected Libyan Government enabling.
UAE labels Syrian and Libyan crises serious producing shocking violence which has taken a heavy human and political toll. Almost daily, He talked about the immense sufferings of innocent people, especially women and children, in their mass exodus as they search for safe havens and safe livelihoods, and the heavy price paid by refugees who have lost their lives in tragic conditions.
UAE’s supports the efforts of the Iraqi government towards achieving peace and stability and ending sectarian practices, and stress in this context the importance of implementing reforms to ensure inclusiveness, fairness and equality for all segments and components of the Iraqi society.
UAE has total displeasure and rejection of Iran’s continued occupation of the UAE three islands Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa. It demanded restoration of the UAE full sovereignty over these islands. UAE stressed that all actions and measures carried out by the Iranian authorities are contrary to international law and all norms and common values. He renewed UAE’s call to the international community to urge Iran to respond to the sincere and peaceful calls of the UAE to reach a just settlement for this issue, either through serious direct negotiations between our two countries or by referring the issue to the International Court of Justice.
UAE shows its full solidarity with struggling Palestine’s people and warns of the feelings of injustice and frustration resulting from the continued Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and the flagrant human rights violations committed by the occupation forces provide extremist groups with an opportunity to exploit these serious humanitarian conditions and to spread their radical thinking and incite frustrated youth to implement their destructive agenda.
UAE appreciates the efforts of the Somali Federal Authorities and its Forces in countering AI-Shabaab Movement and its threats, and urged them to continue taking the necessary measures to restore peace and stability, and reiterated his country’s support for such efforts to achieve that objective.
Operation Restoring Hope
Whenever it is needed, UAE strikes hard to protect its sovereignty, national dignity and safeguards its pride. UAE always stands first to protect the lives and properties of people living in endangered zones in the region and beyond.
UAE’s resolve towards peace is above sky. Its global peace keeping missions have already won the hearts and souls of millions of struggling people around the world. Its forces led humanitarian programs successfully diminished the cures of poverty, disease, hunger and above all hopelessness.
UAE’s operation restoring hope is the ultimate hope for the Yemenis to get rid of Houthis who had tried to overthrow the legitimacy and occupied government of Yemen. Massive infiltration, conspiratorial sponsorship and proxy war badly damaged the integration of Yemen. UAE operation restoring hope destroyed the ill designs of Houthis and recaptured/regained support in Aden, Abyan, Lahij and Sana. Restoring hope is getting momentum and now the provinces one by one are being freed from the domination of Houthis and the Aden has become completely under the control of resistance and other cities like Lahij are on the way to freedom.
UAE’s military campaigns for restoring peace and greater harmony in the region during the Gulf War 1991, air strikes against ISIL, Libya, Syria and now Yemen all speak its ”human face” and “good intention”. The ongoing Fund raising scheme “We Care Yemen” is the prime example of its genuine concerns towards weaker factions of the society, the common people. UAE joined coalition forces against rebels, infiltrators, conspirators and enemies to protect sovereignty and ensured the return of the legitimate democratically elected government.
UAE-Pakistan Bilateral Relations
UAE and Pakistan have still cordial bilateral relations despite some recent uneasiness. Bilateral relations between the two countries are meaningful and productive. UAE is still fully engaged in Pakistan for diversified but integrated development projects.
UAE has had been a major donor as well as supporter of all kinds of assistance to Pakistan in many diversified sectors i.e. social development (education, health, cleaning drinking water, sanitation, infrastructure, housing etc.), economic development (grants, soft loans, development packages to lessen the energy deficit, budgetary deficit and hosting of many investment road-shows and Friends of Pakistan Donor Conferences in Abu Dhabi & Dubai), infrastructural development (the UAE-PAP is the prime example), political support (always appreciate the government of Pakistan front-line role in the war against terrorism, stand with the people of Pakistan in case of any external aggression etc.). UAE Humanitarian assistance has been contributing good results in far flung areas of Pakistan.
i. UAE Project to Assist Pakistan (UAEPAP)
Most recently, under UAE Project to Assist Pakistan (UAEPAP) Cadet College Wana inaugurated in Pakistan’s South Waziristan has been completed. It is the largest educational projects in the South Waziristan region at a cost of US$5.4 million. It is completed in implementation of the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to provide humanitarian and developmental aid to Pakistan as well as support and enhance its educational sector.
ii. Dubai Cares
During 2015, the Dubai Cares launched ‘Teachers Without Frontiers’ (TWF) a major nationwide programme for Pakistan where the teachers would be imparted training on most sophisticated lines for poor needy students in downtrodden areas.
The Dubai Care was initiated by the Ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sheikh Muhammad bin Rashid Al-Maktoom in 2007 and has spread to over 38 countries where education and relevant facilities are provided to the neglected segment of society. Dubai Cares worked to improve access of girls to quality primary education by supporting schools and communities in five selected districts of South Punjab and Sindh provinces, they said. The programme was being implemented in partnership with local organizations that have previously demonstrated a strong track record in gender equity and girls’ education. They reminded that Dubai Cares began the implementation of this programme in the wake of the floods that devastated Pakistan in July 2010. As part of this programme, Dubai Cares has reached 70,000 children in 4 districts of South Punjab/Upper Sindh.
It targeted 3,000 children in affected districts of Punjab & Sindh (minimum 20 schools) with essential basic school and educational materials to enable quality learning and built 15 centers for 3,000 children (aged 6 months to 6 years) provided support for health, hygiene, life skills, early childhood development, recreation and nutrition training for mothers and caregivers.
iii. UAE’s Polio Campaign
The UAE immunised millions of Pakistani children with than 44 million polio vaccines in the during the first stage as part of the Emirates Polio Campaign launched under directives from President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan on an initiative by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces.
The UAE Pakistan Assistance Programme (UAE-PAP) said total of 15,278,016 polio vaccine doses were given to Pakistani children aged under five years in March in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Sindh and the tribal provinces.
The second phase of the “Emirates Polio Campaign” in Pakistan is targeting 17 million children in 53 areas with around 51 million vaccination doses under the slogan, “A Healthy and Bright Future for All”.
iv. Pakistan’s Companies & Trade Agencies
According to the Ministry of Economy, Currently, 7,000 Pakistani companies and 12 trade agencies operate in the UAE. According to Pakistan Embassy UAE (2014-15) the investments of Pakistanis reached to $ 25 billion (Rs.84 billion) in UAE mainly in real estate.
v. Bilateral Trade
UAE’s trade with Pakistan reached $9 billion i.e. Dh33 billion. According to Dubai Land Department (DLD)’s 2013-14 figures, Pakistani investors were third highest buyers among foreigners of property in the emirate’s Dh114 billion transactions last year. In Q1 2014, DLD said Pakistani investors spent around Dh2 billion to buy property in the emirate.
According to the data of SBP and Board of Investment (BOI), the UAE is now the biggest investors in Pakistan. Its collective investment in the country reached to $US 21 billion in 2012-2013. Moreover, in the last decade, UAE merged as the biggest investor in Pakistan. The major proportions of the UAE investments (private & public) came from banking,
telecommunication, information technology, ICT, electronics, real estate, agricultural and corporate farming.
vi. UAE Companies
More than 27 UAE companies are now working in Pakistan. These are Telecommunications (Etisalat, Warid, Wateen and U-phone due to which Pakistan experiences the connectivity revolution. UAE banks are also very active (Bank Al Falah under Abu Dhabi Group, Dubai Islamic Bank & Emirates Global Islamic). UAE real estate companies like Emaar Properties Group, Al-Ghurair Giga and Al Habtour Trading Enterprises, Bahria Emirates, DAMAC and Al-Ghuran are game changer, providing the best quality of service and execution.
In the field of Airlines UAE Etihad Airways, Emirates Airlines and FlyDubai has already made international journey a remarkable experience. It has introduced a healthy competition. Etihad Airways and Emirates Airlines are the two most popular airlines in the country.
In insurance sector its Al-Falah Insurance Company, Emirates Investment Group, Takaful Pakistan Limited Insurance industry in the country are important for international exposures.
vii. Workers Remittance
According to State Bank of Pakistan recently published report (April, 2015), overseas Pakistani workers sent home $11.750 billion in eight months (July to February) of the current fiscal year against $10.248 billion during the same period last year. Out of the total $1.391 billion remittances in February 2015, Pakistan received $453.40 million, $316.51 million and $166.26 million from Saudi Arabia, UAE and other Middle Eastern countries. Remittances for UAE stood at $3.109 billion in FY14 against $2.038 billion in FY10.
United Arab Emirates (UAE) has already started its journey of space, outer space and beyond Mars which is now in upswing. Its journey from sand to space agency is a miracle. All credit goes to its successive wise leadership’s strategic vision.
Business friendly policies have successfully transformed its national economy to the extent of a knowledge-based economy. Now it is the ideal hub of all kinds of business and investment activities. It is one of the ideal destinations for the interested businessmen and investors alike.
Its economy is the most liberal entity in the GCC and MENA. It is 2nd largest economy in the region in terms of volume. It is ranked first in terms of quality, performance and production too. Vision 2021 has transformed its economy and made it smarter. Diversification of economy, energy and production has already made its macro-economy stable and sustained. Massive industrialization, rise to private sector, robust service sector, SMEs and rigorous commercial diplomacy has successfully mitigated the spillover effects of region and world’s weak economic conditions. Moreover, its resilient banking and financial sector provide the strategic cushion to finance many mega projects to create more and more jobs.
Politically, UAE is one of the most liberal countries in the region. Gradual politicization is on the right path in shape of regular Federal National Council Elections. It promotes political concerns. It stimulates best understanding of national politics. It upholds culture of accountability and transparency. It empowers Emiratis which is deep-rooted democracy of the UAE, a unique model. Moreover, political stability has made it heaven for businessmen, investors, workers, laborers, and tourists alike.
On the front of human values, UAE has par excellence. There is no issue of human rights violations as somewhat propagated by the biased Western media. Its judiciary is fair and free. Its legislations are workers friendly due to which it is the ideal destination for residency, talent, recruitment and performance in the world.
Its tolerance level is unmatched. More than 200 different nationalities are working in the UAE which is the prime example of its official policies about interfaith harmony, peace and tolerance. Not a single decree and not a single incident is anti-racial ever happened/reported in seven Emirates since inception. UAE stands for human development. It is the grand total of human values and humanity alike. There is no concept of gender discrimination throughout the country. All people, factions, groups, castes and colors have equal rights before the law and even “Emiratis” do not have any leverage what so ever. Law is supreme. No reporting of prejudice, discrimination and humiliation towards weaker sections of the society in the country. Expatriates are well protected and paid.
Its media (print & electronic) is free and interactive. National Media Council is the country’s leading regulatory agency to care media development in the country. It is the most technological orientation in the GCC/MENA and can now compete easily to any world channel or media production house.
UAE is the land of Burj Khalifa skyscraper the world’s current tallest man-made structure and futuristic land reclamation projects, such as the palm-shaped artificial Palm Islands. Its roads are the best in the world. Its seaports are among the best in the world. Its pursuits towards world class infrastructural development are unmatched and well acknowledged in the world. Dubai Expo 2020 is the sign of national pride and reflection of its readiness in the spheres of smart city, technology, renewables, and the last but not the least, diversification.
Its properties are labelled the “hottest” in the world. Its people are acknowledged the most talented in the GCC/MENA in the fields of innovation, conflict-resolution, technology, computer engendering, food and water security and above all scientific research.
Its society is development oriented. It is dynamic and determined. It believes in merit, fair-play and hardworking. It is highly educated. It is free from any kind of gender discrimination. Its women empowerment is the highest in the region. It is progressive and productive. Moreover, it is an open society which believes in globalization and meaningful interaction and dialogue.
Now, the UAE is blessed with so many martyrs who scarified their precious lives for the safety, stability, dignity and honor of their beloved country. They stood first for the greater cause of regional peace, harmony and terrorism. The whole nation salutes them. They are the real heroes.
UAE celebrates its 44th National Day on December 2, 2015. 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. Now, non-oil ratio to GDP has reached to 68 percent which would be more than 80 percent till 2021.
Its 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 is 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 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.
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.
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 fueled power plant, utilizing fossil fuel feed stock and CCS).
Its rigorous commercial diplomacy has successfully increased its exports in all the continents of the world. 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.
United Arab Emirates is on the path of gradual decentralization into a federal-type governance structure, in the form of seven entities, which has proven to be an ideal model for development and positive competition. Its successive leaderships wisdom has built the solid foundation, on which the UAE’s success is based, empowered further by a strong constitution. Now sky is not the limit, definitely Mars and beyond Mars is the new goal to be achieved in the years to come for the United Arab Emirates.