Let’s think of next 50 years: Gen Mohammed

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Let’s think of next 50 years: Gen Mohammed

Education, health, innovation and economic opportunity will ensure a stable future.

By Kt Report

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Published: Wed 11 Feb 2015, 1:42 AM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 10:25 PM

General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed and Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid at the Museum of Future Government Services on the sidelines of the Government Summit in dubai on Monday. — Wam

Dubai — The UAE’s focus on developing its human resources, with particular stress on education, health, innovation, and the creation of economic opportunity, will ensure that the nation has a sustainable plan and future for its citizens even if its natural wealth depletes in future, General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, said on Monday.

In a riveting address to a gathering of heads of state and top government officials, including His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and thought leaders from across the globe at the Government Summit 2015, which opened at Madinat Jumeirah on Monday, General Shaikh Mohammed said a distinguished government is “the one that considers and ensures each citizen as a national wealth”.

Stressing the importance of planning and investing wisely so that the UAE will still be able to experience the same levels of growth and success even in the absence of natural resources, General Shaikh Mohammed said: “The need of the hour is to plan ahead for 50 years. We will have invested in sustainable energy sources and will then celebrate after we ship our last barrel of oil.’’

“Today, under the wise leadership of the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, we are experiencing an unprecedented economic growth, and we are also directed by His Highness to focus our efforts on developing our human resources, with particular stress on education, health, innovation, diversity and creating economic opportunity. This will ensure that even in the future, when our natural wealth depletes, we will have a sustainable plan and future for our citizens and society,” the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince said.

“Across the region, we have paid a high price for lagging in education. We know that we are behind — and we believe that this awareness is actually an advantage. Since we know where we lag, and we now have the resources to support us, it is a matter of coming together as a society and an economy to work towards addressing this in the future,” General Shaikh Mohammed added.

He said Shaikh Khalifa had taken the lead in creating an investment entity for the UAE, which is now the second largest in the world.

“Industrial investment in the UAE is also significantly growing, with aeronautical manufacturing, nuclear power and many other sectors taking places of pride. Our investment in nuclear energy will result in nearly 25 per cent of electricity for domestic consumption coming from a new nuclear power plant that will be commissioned in 2017.”

“I also congratulate Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid on the accolades that the Dubai International Airport has recently got. It is recognised as one of the largest worldwide, handling more than 70 million passengers.”

Speaking on the role of women in the UAE, General Shaikh Mohammed pointed out that the UAE has always valued the contribution of women. “They are very skilled, and represent more than 50 per cent of the population. I believe that the UAE is really using this wealth and I appreciate the efforts of the women of the UAE. In our flagship aeronautical-focused manufacturing industry, more than 83 per cent of the work-force is women.”

He said the UAE has grown and succeeded steadily since its formation in a volatile geographical environment. “The leadership of the UAE is committed to providing a safe and secure homeland to citizens and residents alike, and is proud of the humanitarian steps and contributions by the government, families and individuals.”

He stressed that no expenses towards nation-building and human development would be in vain, and said that it was the duty of the government to reciprocate the nationalist fervor that citizens and residents displayed at various critical junctures. He said that more than 90,000 UAE citizens volunteered for military duty when Kuwait was invaded. “Scores of young Emiratis have completed their military service even though they were exempt. Traders and businessmen have gone beyond the consideration of profit to provide the government with material at the time of need.”

“Our community and society are unified, and we hope that this will always remain so. These values, ethics and principles exist in all our homes, and are what sets us apart. With this spirit, our future will always be successful,” he said.

General Shaikh Mohammed said ties with Saudi Arabia were strong and the UAE would support the efforts of King Salman bin Abdulaziz, the Custodian of the Holy Mosques, who is an experienced and able leader.

Another summit speaker, South Korean Deputy Prime Minister Hwang Woo-yea — who simultaneously serves as Minister of Education — also highlighted the importance his country is placing in human development, and spoke of a shift towards “character education” based on traditional values, courtesy and respect. Hwang said that the educational shift is designed to “prepare a new generation that recognises the importance of compassion and cooperation”.

Later in the day, Wired Magazine Executive Director Kevin Kelly noted that as increasingly tech savvy and developed societies around the world move towards peer-to-peer networks where information flows more freely, governments must work hard to keep pace.

“Since the invention of the light bulb a century ago, we have added electricity to nearly every aspect of our lives,” he said. “Our next step will be to add connectivity and intelligence in the same way.”

“Governments of the future must be as fluid and dynamic as the society they oversee has become.” -news@khaleejtimes.com


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