Dubai launches Dh208-billion social welfare agenda

It aims to encourage a twofold increase in the number of new Emirati families

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Waad Barakat

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Angel Tesorero

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Published: Thu 4 Jan 2024, 2:00 PM

Last updated: Thu 4 Jan 2024, 10:56 PM

Dubai has launched on Thursday an ambitious Dh208 billion social welfare budget over the next 10 years, with family and people at the core of the agenda and goal of turning the emirate into one of the world’s top 3 cities in terms of standard of living.

Called ‘Dubai Social Agenda 33’, it maps out ways to empower families in the emirate. It aims to encourage a two-fold increase in the number of new Emirati families.

The comprehensive agenda features a healthcare system that will boost life expectancy; an education system that will equip students with skills and knowledge of the future; and a social system that protects, cares, and empowers. It also promises to provide land and loans to every Emirati family within one year of application.

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His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced the initiative as the UAE marked his 18th Accession Day. The Dubai Ruler uses the occasion to launch something meaningful every year.

Under the theme ‘Family: The Foundation of Our Nation’, Dubai Social Agenda 33 complements the objectives of the Dubai Economic Agenda, with a focus on sustainable social development. It aims to triple the number of Emiratis employed in the private sector by “creating diverse opportunities for citizens to contribute to the growth and development of the emirate's economy.”

Protection, empowerment and social cohesion

“Our nation is not merely buildings and figures; it is made up of families and people. My message to all officials is that our priority in the coming period is the family – their protection, empowerment, development, and social cohesion,” Sheikh Mohammed posted on X.

“We aim to double the number of Emirati families within a decade, provide residential neighbourhoods that offer the world’s highest standard of living and safeguard our young generation against negative ideas that threaten the stability of our families,” he added.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai; Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, First Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance; and Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Second Deputy Ruler of Dubai; and their brothers will oversee the social welfare programmes.

“(They) grew up as part of the larger Dubai family and will care about its wellbeing more than anyone else,” Sheikh Mohammed noted, adding: “Our goal is for Dubai to be among the world’s top 3 cities in terms of living standards. We also aim to accelerate social development among Dubai families.”

Five main objectives

The Dubai Social Agenda 33 has five main purposes:

First, foster happy, cohesive and tolerant families that are well connected to local values and national identity. It also aims to enhance their productivity, promote self-sufficiency and financial independence, which eventually leads to improved family and social stability.

Second, promote efficient and affordable healthcare system, as well as healthy lifestyle with focus on physical activities, good nutrition and mental health.

Third, create an education system that meets Dubai’s future aspirations through high-quality and affordable education.

Fourth, focus on creating proactive social system that provides protection and empowerment, and ensures equal opportunity and humanitarian work.

Fifth, develop suitable housing, promote competitive culture and arts, improve infrastructure and services, and encourage community participation in sports.

Budget allocation

According to Dubai Media Office (DMO), the Dh208 billion social agenda budget is more than double the support allocated in the past decade.

Government funding for healthcare will become Dh120 billion from now until 2033; while the budget for social wellbeing, including education, citizen support, social institutions, arts and culture, citizen housing and sports, will rise more than three times from Dh26 billion in the past decade to Dh88 billion until 2033.

The breakdown for the Dh88 billion budget is: Dh26 billion will go to citizen support and wellbeing; Dh21.9 billion for social institutions; Dh14.5 billion for Emirati housing; Dh13 billion for education and entrepreneurship; Dh6.4 billion for arts and culture; and Dh6.2 billion for sports.

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