From 'your brother' Sheikh Mohammed: An open letter to people of the UAE
Full text of letter penned by Sheikh Mohammed as he completed 15 years as the Head of the UAE Government.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has penned an open letter to the UAE.
The letter was issued as he completed 15 years as the Head of the UAE Government. He recalls the challenges he faced and how he overcame them. It is filled with optimism and hope for the next phase of the UAE.
Below is the full text of the letter translated from Arabic:
Brothers and sisters, people of the UAE…
Fifteen years ago, I was appointed to head the federal government. I took an oath before our President and before you all to be loyal to the UAE, to preserve its union, safeguard its interests, respect its constitution and look after the needs of our people. You were all witnesses to that moment, and God was a witness to this oath. God knows that we did our best, that we devoted all of our government resources towards serving our people and that we did not favour anyone at the expense of the interests of our country.
A year later, I announced the first federal strategy before the President of the UAE and members of the Federal Supreme Council. In 2009, we announced the UAE Vision 2021, and that we wanted to be one of the best countries in the world. Some questioned the feasibility of launching a strategy and goals spanning 12 years. But today, we see the results as a reality that our people are living in today.
What we witnessed over these years was remarkable. Thousands of teams on federal and local levels came together to achieve the vision adopted by the President of the UAE.
Redefining govt services
We have established the principles of strategic planning in the government. Excellence and competitiveness have transformed into an institutional culture. We carried out the biggest legislative reforms in our country by issuing more than 50 new laws to help us adapt to the future.
We shifted 2,500 government services from traditional to smart, and the UAE government was ranked the second in the world in financial efficiency.
We restructured the government several times to keep pace with the rapidly-changing world. We doubled the federal budget by 130 per cent and boosted our competitiveness to make the UAE rank the first globally in 121 indicators across various fields. Our work is nowhere near the end.
The UAE passport has become the most powerful in the world. The level of security and safety in the UAE surpassed 95 per cent, the highest in the world. Our country is ranked the first globally in economic stability; the first in the rate of accredited hospitals; the first in easy access to electricity services; the first in mobile broadband speed; and the second globally in the adaptability to change.
Our economy is the second biggest in the Arab world, and our country is ranked the first regionally in attracting foreign investment and facilitating business. We are leading regionally in more than 437 global indicators, and our sovereign credit rating is the highest in the region.
Our country’s judicial system is the most efficient in the region. There’s no fear in a country of law and justice; a country where human rights are safeguarded. We have made several legislative reforms and presented facilities for all to rank the first globally in attracting talents, the first in public-private partnerships and the first in the financial skills of the public sector.
Our math and science education are the best in the region, and our Research and Development spending in universities exceeded Dh8 billion in 2020.
Investing in reforms
Over the past few years, our federal government invested Dh40 billion in housing, Dh140 billion in education, Dh94 billion in social development programmes and Dh50 billion in health and prevention.
Our population’s average life expectancy is close to 80 and our country has ranked the third globally in physical health and the overall satisfaction in the healthcare services. These are some of the indicators we have led, thanks to the relentless efforts of our federal and local teams over the past 15 years leading up to 2021.
The past 15 years I spent in the federal government have not been easy. I remember when I first assumed my role as Prime Minister, many people warned me about failure. I remember those who urged me to maintain my success in Dubai and avoid taking risks. I remember a senior Emirati dignitary who spoke to me years after assuming my responsibilities and said: “We all expected you to fail, and we were all wrong.”
My answer will always be: This is not my own success. It is the success of our teams and of every official who took the opportunity towards change, and the success of thousands of young people we have trusted who proved trustworthy and reliable.
What have we learned from the past 15 years?
I learned that our union is strength. It is the greatest achievement we must protect. Local entities may compete among each other - and this is good – however, we should always remember that the UAE is our homeland and haven. It represents our authentic identity. And the spirit of the Union is the major power that shapes our core and pushes us forward to work together relentlessly to honour our country. If it wasn’t for this spirit, I would not have seen the sacrifices made on a daily basis to get to where we are today.
During the past 15 years, we have also learned the key to success lies in empowering and respecting the human life and dignity without discrimination or prejudice. We must safeguard these values of tolerance, coexistence, respect and justice if we wish to continue. These values shall sustain the development of the next 50 years. These values are more important than any development projects. People are the basis who create projects, and they will not be able to make major achievements in a country that does not have the fundamental human values.
During the past years, we learned that success lies in the people’s satisfaction, regardless of the accomplished projects or indicators or even financial resources. Our success lies in the legacy we leave for generations to come. Success is in our integrity and responsibility towards our country.
Those beautiful 15 years passed quickly with a long record of achievements. Our efforts shall continue forward, under the vision of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, President of the UAE.
During this journey, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has been the greatest friend, companion and leader. Without his support, the federal government would not have succeeded and advanced at such speed. His wisdom, vision and unlimited support have enabled us to be among the best and most successful countries in the world.
During those 15 years, I worked with Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior) and Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs) as one team. They took major responsibilities in the government and worked tirelessly to serve our county in the best possible way. I express my sincere appreciation to them and all the Cabinet members.
I wish the best to all our youth who have been loyal to this country and its leadership by devoting every effort to maintain our success. We have a long journey ahead ... a brighter future awaits us ... our journey for the next 50 years is to begin.
May God bless the UAE.
Your brother Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
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