Why Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed's economic vision transcends borders

Mohamed has played a lead role in the UAE’s economic transition and has been spearheading efforts to develop non-oil industries


Dhanusha Gokulan

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Published: Sun 15 May 2022, 11:18 AM

Last updated: Sun 15 May 2022, 11:59 AM

While serving as the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan created an economic environment where legacy and disruption birthed a solid foundation for future generations.

As the new President of the UAE, it is expected that Sheikh Mohamed would bolster efforts to boost Emiratisation and young entrepreneurs and welcome global businesses into the UAE to expand their regional footprint.

He has played a lead role in the UAE’s economic transition and has been spearheading efforts to develop non-oil industries such as manufacturing, renewables, trade, and technology.

In the first quarter of 2022, Abu Dhabi’s non-oil foreign trade rose by 15 per cent to more than Dh61.5 billion in one year. As of March 2022, the UAE’s non-oil trade had totalled Dh16.1 trillion in the past 10 years as the UAE sped up work to reduce its reliance on hydrocarbons.

One of the more remarkable moments in Sheikh Mohamed’s journey as a leader was when he launched a Dh50 billion stimulus package for Abu Dhabi. The package focused on attracting and supporting start-ups, growing the non-oil economy, and spurring innovation through research and development.

Under his leadership, the Ministry of Economy launched a new vision for the National Programme for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), providing entrepreneurs and SME-owners in the UAE with several new and integrated initiatives and services. The new services provided national businesses with more growth possibilities and improved market access.

Sheikh Mohamed’s relations with countries such as India and Turkey have promoted the development of new trade, investment, and innovation dynamics and intensified the bilateral engagement in diverse areas. A CEPA deal with South Korea is expected to be finalised by late 2022 or early 2023.

By signing a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with India, Sheikh Mohamed opened doors to build more robust economic agreements between both countries and opened new avenues for trade and investment. In India, non-oil business is expected to boost non-oil trade to $100 billion from its current $60 billion.

The new UAE President and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed to establish a dedicated India Mart in Jebel Ali Free Zone. They directed their respective officials to promote further two-way investments in infrastructure projects, including expediting work on establishing a dedicated investment zone for UAE companies and joint ventures that would focus on establishing a food corridor.

The UAE had also launched an in-country value programme as part of the Projects of the 50 initiative. This would boost the country’s industrial sector. The programme aims to promote the growth of UAE-based industries by redirecting 50 per cent of government spending on procurements and tender contracts into the national economy by 2031.


At the launch, Sheikh Mohamed said: “The UAE’s ten principles for the next 50 years will be the core guidelines for all our institutions to strengthen the union, build a sustainable economy and harness all possible resources to build a more prosperous society.”

He added: “Fostering positive regional and global relations to achieve our national goals and support peace and stability will be the centre of our priorities over the upcoming phase.”

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