Incredible Success Story

The prosperity, harmony and modern development that characterise the UAE are to a very great extent due to the role played by the founder of UAE, the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. He played the role both prior to the formation of the federation and in the following 33 years until his death in November 2004.

By Dr Awn Al Sayegh

Published: Wed 2 Dec 2009, 8:43 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 12:48 AM

His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan was elected President on November 3, 2004, succeeding his father. Since the inception of the federation in 1971, the seven emirates that constitute the United Arab Emirates have forged a distinct national identity.

Our political system, a unique combination of the traditional and modern, has underpinned this political success, enabling the country to develop a modern administrative structure while ensuring that the best traditions of the past are maintained, adapted and preserved. The discovery of oil led to a profound change in the economic and social structure of the country, resulting in the transformation of its simple and primitive community into a growing and developing society.

Soon after joining the petroleum exporters’ club, the UAE concentrated its efforts on catching up with more advanced countries. It embarked on a crash programme of economic and social development powered by its petroleum and financial resources.

Since Shaikh Khalifa assumed the presidency of the UAE, he has constantly emphasised the building of human resources. In fact, the human element is the mainstay of economic, social and political development. Ambitious programmes offering the best of healthcare and modern education have been implemented.

In addition, the provision of social grants, cheap electricity and housing, gainful employment and subsidised services compare favourably with those provided in other countries of the world.

Now as any observer can see, the government has ensured that the country’s wealth is used wisely to provide the people with the benefits of modern services.

At the same time, it has taken steps to guarantee that future generations will see those benefits maintained and multiplied, through the conservation of energy resources, and the diversification of the base of the economy.

The UAE economy has the capability to adjust to emergent economic conditions.

Great strides have been made in recent years in raising the standard of living of the citizens of the UAE. Housing, education, health and general welfare and communication are given highest priority.

The UAE is rushing towards a realisation of a comprehensive socio-economic renaissance, and the ground for that should be of a philosophical base with clearly defined goals to suit those endeavours. The country has exerted major efforts in the building up and development of the structural framework, issuing legislations and establishing the administrative, financial and technical bodies concerned with the affairs of industry.

In the same way, it endeavoured to encourage the private sector to work in the field of industry. The economic philosophy of the UAE can be summarised as follows:

· The achievement of a balanced economic development on the level of the country as a whole and that of the emirates individually. The balanced social growth is to take place side by side with the economic development in order to provide the same civilisation level throughout the Emirates

· To support the national economy and consolidate its ability of self-reliance by using the scientific achievements, the change of the production structure, the diversification of its activities and the enhancement of its potential to realise a continuous growth

· Human growth and welfare of its people is the main focus of the country and all social services are geared towards this goal

· Achieving the social welfare as one of the objectives of development through the continuous increase of the standard of living regarding both consumption and services, on the grounds of social justice which shall be emphasised for the future generations

· To promote and develop national labour force

· The development requires a creative cooperation with the Gulf states and the Arab Peninsula in particular as well as with the Islamic countries and the world community in general

It is noted that the economic philosophy was crystallised in a number of strategic orientations, most important of which is the creation of a more balanced economy that is able to face the possible fluctuations in the oil sector.

This means the diversification of the sources of income and the adoption of an integral policy for the industrial and agricultural development.

The UAE’s industrial policy has been translated into a definite strategy by increasing industrial production, protecting the national economy and making it more balanced to face any fluctuations that might occur in the oil sector.

Thus thanks to the UAE’s leadership, the dreams and hopes of their people have turned into real achievements and the country continues to march towards excellence.

Thanks to these constructive and balanced economic policies, the UAE economy has registered impressive growth and achievements. Some of them include:

· The UAE has developed the infrastructure — roads, seaports, airports, water and electricity networks, telecommunications and many of the other service utilities which provide a suitable environment for investments—as well as the appropriate legislations and regulations

· The UAE has succeeded in building up a world class industrial sector covering a large portion of the domestic consumption and the exporting of its products.

· The standard of living in the UAE has become one of the highest in the world and so did the income per capita.

· The UAE has provided the residents with various service utilities such as health, education etc.

· Agricultural production covered an extended area of the country’s territory and an important portion of the local demand in food products.

· The UAE has a modern, world class banking system. In addition, it enjoys a stable political and security environment, which opens the door to the encouragement of the local, Arab and foreign investments.

The strategic objective of the country shall remain the welfare of its people. From this stand point, it is necessary to mention the new world climate calling for peace in the occupied Palestinian territories, as well as Shaikh Khalifa’s call for Arab support to the peace process. Under the leadership of His Highness Shaikh Khalifa, this country is destined to go from strength to strength.

Dr Awn Al Sayegh is a PhD in business administration from California University and has written extensively on the UAE. He has held key positions in government and semi-government departments, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Arab Bank for Investment and Foreign Trade

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