MIRACULOUS SOCIO-ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION OF UAE


Mehmood-Ul-Hassan Khan

HH. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan

United Arab Emirates is the prime example of miraculous socio-economic transformation in the world. The visionary leaders of the UAE have succeeded to bring sustainable social revolution and the caravans of prosperity, progression and federating unity goes on and on. According to the federal budget of the United Arab Emirates (2010), the government will increase public spending by 3.4 per cent next year despite the global economic downturn. Spending will rise to 43.63 billion dirhams ($11.89 billion) for the fiscal year 2010 and definitely strengthen the ongoing mega projects of socio-economic development in the country.

Furthermore, the social services sectors, including education and health care, receive the lion’s share of the budget, equivalent to 41 per cent or 17.8 billion dirhams ($4.85 billion). The budget of the federation of seven emirates, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Ras al-Khaimah, Umm al-Qaiwain and Fujairah, reflects the sound fiscal policy of the government too.

The United Arab Emirates has an open economy with a high per capita income and a sustainable annual trade surplus. The rulers of UAE succeeded to transform an impoverished region of small desert principalities to a modern state with a high standard of living. The government has increased spending on job opportunities, physical infrastructure expansion and encourages private sector investment.

UAE’s Millennium Development Goals (2015)

The leaders of the UAE have already initiated diversified but integrated policy measures to achieve its MDG. According to recent public policy, government is taking all possible measures to “Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger” by introducing farmland to farmers and securing cooperative marketing for their products, financial and material assistance to fishermen, easy and smooth supply of basic necessities of life, water and electricity services at support prices, supporting industrial growth in the country by exempting machines and raw material for national factories from taxes and customs fees, and providing the factories with facilitated loans.

UAE is making tremendous development in “Achieve Universal Primary Education”. The net enrolment rates for grades 1-5 is 98 % in 2005, which suggests 100% target ratio is achievable by 2015. The literate rate of 15-24 years is 98.55% in 2004.

UAE has made progress towards improving its record on gender equity “Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women”. The ratio of girls to boys in grades 1-5 and 6-9 was 94.8 and 92.9 in 2005.

UAE has registered growth in the health care sector services “Reduce Child Mortality”. It provides all possible health care facilities, medication and specializations to health sector.

The State has contributed tremendous job to improving maternal health, because of its positive influence on the overall health of the society “Improve Maternal Health”. It is carried out through maternity and child health centers throughout the country.

In the UAE, Hiv and Aids, is a “low prevalence” disease which can be verified through regional and global data “Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases”.

The last not the least, UAE has progressively strengthened it is environmental legislation and regulation “Ensure Environmental Sustainability”. All these achievements shows the visionary capabilities of UAE leadership, efficacy of operational management, professional wisdom of crisis management, expertise of total quality management and above all holistic strategies of human resource management due to which all the “Millennium Development Goals (2015)” allocated to the UAE will easily be achieved.

Strategic Plan

The UAE’s strategic plan for the next few years focuses on diversification and creating more opportunities for nationals through improved education and increased private sector employment.

The strategic vision of the UAE’s immaculate leadership has been playing key role in the massive socio-economic development. The right national planning, accurate judicial and legal system reforms, appropriate labour and industrial measures, meaningful human resource management and above all strong political commitment of the UAE rulers have cemented the glorious path of socio-economic development caravans during the last three decades.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Report (2009)

According to the latest report of UNCTAD (2009) “World Investment Report” the UAE has become an important centre of attraction for world investment in various sectors. It showed that UAE has retained its attractiveness in FDI compared to many advanced and emerging markets even in the ongoing global economic recession and financial crunch. Dubai has contributed significantly in attracting FDI to the UAE because of its distinguished place in the regional and global business map and it has become first choice of doing business not in the region but around the globe too.

Global Investment House latest report (2009)

It revealed that high public expenditure, along with strong macro-economic fundamentals, sound fiscal and monetary policies will absorb the ongoing global economic recession and financial crunch. The report said that the UAE as financially strong and the credit tightness would have no effect on major infrastructure projects in the country as most of them are government-backed. The report also expected inflation in the UAE to sharply decline to between 4-6 percent in 2009 after soaring to a record high of nearly 14 per cent last year.

Huge investments have been planned by the UAE government in the real estate, tourism, transportation, manufacturing, and hydrocarbon sectors. It is hoped that these investments would set the stage of a structurally higher productivity growth and output potential. Moreover, the report said that high and sustainable GDP growth has been remained strong point/element of UAE economy. It stood Dh729bn in recorded 16.8 percent of GDP growth in 2007. In real terms, the GDP recorded a growth of around 7.4 per cent in 2008 to reach Dh535.6bn. Construction, real estate, banking and tourism have been the main drivers underpinning the real GDP growth in recent times.

World Investment Report (2009)

It indicated that the volume of FDI inflow into the UAE were $ 13.7 billion (Dh50.28) in 2008 against $ 14.19 billion (Dh52.1 billion) in 2007. On the other hand, the report showed that the cumulative value of these investments at the end of 2008 stood at $ 69.42 billion (Dh254.8 billion), around 25 per cent of the UAE’s GDP. The number of projects implemented by foreign investors across the UAE during last year was 480 projects, an impressive growth of 70 percent compared to 2007. The number of these projects in 2009 first quarter was 136 projects. These figures reflect the concrete foundations of the national economy and its high competitive advantage in comparison with many other countries.

Ministry of Economy (2008-09)

According to the Ministry of Economy (2008-09) the economy had developed by more than 23 percent in nominal terms to more than Dh934 billion in 2008. Abu Dhabi and Dubai remained the dominant economies with the UAE, accounting for nearly 87 per cent of the total gross domestic product of the seven emirates. UAE succeeded to maintain its status as the second largest Arab economy after Saudi Arabia. UAE’s GDP achieved one of the highest nominal GDP growth rates in its 38 year history.

Year GDP % Nominal GDP $ billion GDP per capita ($000)
2005 8.2 135.3 33.9
2006 11.6 164.0 38.8
2007 5.3 200.5 44.8
2008 7.4 272.7 57.8
2009 6.7 216 46.2
Source: Ministry of Economy of UAE

Emirate-wise data

Name % of total GDP
Abu Dhabi 56.7
Dubai 32.3
Sharjah 7.7
Ras Al Khaimah 1.7
Ajman 1.2
Fujairah 1.1
Umm Al Qaiwain 0.4
Source: Ministry of Economy of UAE

Central Bank’s Data (2009)

According to the Central Bank estimation the UAE recorded massive fiscal surpluses in its consolidated finance account (CFA), which covers the federal budget and spending by each of the seven emirates. Central bank figures showed the surplus exceeded Dh140bn during 2006- and stood above Dh200bn last year. According to the Institute of International Finance the fiscal surplus exceeded $350bn at the end of 2008. The bulk of them are controlled by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, believed to be the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund.

IMF figures showed the UAE’s overseas yielded a record income of Dh46.3bn in 2007 before falling back to Dh30bn last year as a result of losses caused by the global downturn. But the income is projected to rebound this year to around Dh40.6bn, which will support the country’s drive to support its public and private sectors and cushion the impact of the crisis.

Integrated organs of the state

Blessed with the foresight of our leadership, and the dedication and loyalty of our citizens, the UAE will confidently continue its march to new frontiers of success.

Political stability is must for the rapid socio-economic development of any country and UAE is not any exception. To UAE ruler’s politics stands for commitment, cooperation and coordination. It also speaks about service, sensibility and sincerity. The stable UAE federation has played very important role in its tremendous socio-economic achievements. It revolutionized the society and transformed it into a highly civilised and advanced state.

Harmonious Federating Units

The unique harmony among the federating members has been instrumental in the marvellous achievements scored so far in the economic, social and political arenas. Dutifulness of the common citizens towards its country and community, and their respect for the right of others and of the law achieved has established a strong federation of UAE. It is predicted that the comprehensive sustainable development in the UAE is firm enough to address rapid challenges of modern times and keep in touch with its fast developments.

Doctrines of Strong Federation

The UAE federation works on the “doctrines of justice” and “prophecies of active contribution and participation of citizens” and institutions in the national development. Coordination, harmony, cooperation, collaboration and political commitment among the members of the federation have significantly contributed to the success of the federation express.

It is hoped and predicted that the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s plan to consolidate the role of the Federal National Council (FNC) and political participation would strengthen the Federation’s position locally, regionally and globally and enrich our democratic experience. UAE women are playing excellent role in every field of the society not confined only to education, nursing, banking, administration, planning, sport etc.

Moreover, the UAE Armed Forces had also played its contributory role in the socio-economic development. An advanced internal security umbrella has now been provided that has had positive impact on the Emirates as a secure, safe and stabile haven. The armed forces of UAE have already been prepared enough to counter any crisis and protect its native country.


Dynasties to Dynamics

The UAE leaders and people have pledged to forge ahead for unlimited achievements and gains. It has promoted the concept of community shouldering and social partnership. His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Al Nahyan institutionalized a new concept of representative democracy based on free elections and empowered the people of UAE to actively play its role contributory role in the socio-economic development of UAE. UAE have achieved the status of an advanced nation with high levels of education, health services and housing. UAE complete transformation, strong and sustainable macro-economy is prime example in the modern economy. Each year brings along new achievements in all fields of production and services. Miraculous transformation is achieved and facilitated by the strategic vision of UAE rulers.

UAE response to emerging socio-economic problems

The UAE leadership’s keenness on strengthening unity has contributed significantly to the attainment of high levels of sustainable development and sustainable macro-economy verifies it. In order to successfully cope with the many emerging national, regional and global socio-economic problems the leaders/rulers of the UAE have different comprehensive functional strategic plans which are not limited to revision of legislations, upgrade of economic and social infrastructure, financial reforms, active and positive role of the regulatory bodies and massive people participation in the decision making. They are also doing great job in the serious socio-economic problem of climate change and adopting or moving towards green, alternative, sustainable and renewable energies in the country. They have introduced different meaningful economic liberalization policies, friendly investment measures, export-oriented initiatives, widespread of social networks and effective planning of food and energy security. They have started different rural areas development projects which are now paying the dividends.

They have revolutionized education, health care and hosing sectors. They have introduced effective and people friendly policies to increase employment opportunities. They have adopted holistic strategies to provide every possible basic necessities of life to its people. They have relaxed its immigration policies for the benefits of many developing countries around the world. The comparative study of macro-economy indicates that these measures have already begun to pay dividends, with the UAE acquiring a leading position among regional and international economic powers.

Conclusion

It is crystal clear that these socio-economic achievements could not have been possible without the people’s friendly policies of visionary legendary leaders, the late Shaikh Zayed, the late Shaikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, and their brothers the Rulers of the Emirates, who took the historic decision that paved the way for the creation of the UAE Federation.” We hope that caravans of socio-economic prosperity, federating unity, societal harmony, regional peace and holistic spirits towards struggling humanity will be fate of the UAE people under the supervision of its visionary leaders.

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