UAE: Government of the future must be welcoming like hotels and operate 24/7 like airlines, says Sheikh Mohammed

This, along with a beautiful poem, came in a video he shared to mark his 17 years as head of the cabinet of ministers and the federal govt

By Sahim Salim, Ruqayya AlQaydi and Angel Tesorero

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Published: Wed 12 Apr 2023, 2:13 PM

Last updated: Wed 12 Apr 2023, 9:53 PM

“I want the government to be welcoming like hotels and operate 24/7 like airlines.”

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, made these remarks in a video he posted on Wednesday to mark his 17 years as head of the cabinet of ministers and the federal government since 2006.

He also laid out his vision for the governments of the future and noted the UAE is the “name of the country of the future”.

Sheikh Mohammed added: “Today, with the endless support of my brother, President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and with the spirit of union and the ambitions of youth, the UAE will continue its march of prosperity and development.”

The video showcases a logo to mark the feat, which features a famous quote by Sheikh Mohammed: “We say what we do, and do what we say.”

The video starts with his oath to serve the UAE: “I swear by Almighty Allah to be loyal to the United Arab Emirates, to respect the Constitution and laws of the Union, to fulfil my duties honestly, to safeguard the interests of the people of the Union with complete care, and to fully preserve the existence of the Union and the integrity of its territories.”

It then has a poem, where he talks about the 17 years that have passed.

“17 years of work,

17 years of planning,

17 years of follow-ups,

17 yeas of ambitions to be number one (at this point, Sheikh Mohammed says he doesn’t want the UAE to look at anything less than number one),

17 years of building the future,

17 years of youth empowerment.”

The video ends with a footage of the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, saying “These (achievements) are all blessings for the UAE.”

‘Full of work and achievements’

“Seventeen years have passed quickly and beautifully, and were full of work and achievements,” said Sheikh Mohammed, noting: “We introduced essential changes to the UAE government's performance and developed services”.

He chaired 440 Cabinet meetings, during which 10,000 decisions were issued. Over 4,200 laws and regulations in social, economic, service and other sectors were issued.

“We shifted from a traditional government to one that offers more than 1,500 smart services. We fought administrative and financial sluggishness, raised the government budget by more than 140 per cent, and became the most effective government in public spending in the world,” continued Sheikh Mohammed.

In under two decades, the UAE launched 330 government policies and initiatives to develop the economic environment and signed about 600 international agreements. The foreign trade jumped from Dh415 billion to Dh2.2 trillion; and the GDP doubled to reach Dh1.86 trillion in the same period. The UAE is also the first in the region in attracting investments with a value of Dh734 billion.

The UAE’s non-oil foreign trade continues to set unprecedented records as it crossed the Dh2 trillion mark for the first time in history and totaled Dh2.233 trillion in 2022, with a 17 per cent growth from that of 2021.

The UAE also has a clear Circular Economy Policy, Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) Strategy; and the national strategy for Artificial Intelligence.

Efficient governance

Sheikh Mohammed noted the UAE ranks first in more than 186 global indices and over 430 regional indices, in addition to its highest sovereign rating in the region, and its leading position as the first in the region in the ease of doing business and attracting investments.

“The UAE is currently the most financially efficient government and most capable of keeping pace with global changes,” Sheikh Mohammed underlined.

He added: “In the past 17 years, we have made many ministerial reshuffles involving more than 66 ministers and pushed the youth to take part in shouldering the responsibility.”

Successful space exploration

Sheikh Mohammed also talked about the UAE space sector’s stellar performance, including establishing an integrated space sector with total investments of Dh36 billion for space missions to Mars, the Moon and other interplanetary missions, in addition to a national space agency and satellite manufacturing in just one decade.

Today, the UAE owns 19 orbital satellites, 10 new spacecraft under development, and more than 50 international and emerging space companies, institutions and facilities, in addition to five esearch centers for space sciences.

In February 2021 the UAE entered history as the first Arab country to reach Mars, and the fifth country in the world to achieve this feat. In October the same year, the UAE Space Agency announced the commencement of a new Emirati interplanetary mission, which involves an expedition to the orbit of Venus, followed by an exploration of the asteroid belt beyond Mars. The mission is scheduled for launch in 2028.

The UAE launched Hope Probe – the first Arab interplanetary mission to Mars; Rashid Rover – the first lunar rover built by an Arab country; sent Hazzaa AlManzoori – the first Emirati to go to space, and Sultan AlNeyadi – first Arab astronaut to go on a long-duration space mission

Social development programmes

More than Dh150 billion have been allocated for social development and housing programs to ensure the provision of a decent life for UAE citizens.

The education sector accounted for the largest share of government spending during the last period, with a total of nearly Dh160 billion, benefiting more than 1.3 million students in more than 1,500 schools and educational institutions, under the supervision of more than 150,000 teachers.

Over Dh60 billion have been spent for health and community protection sector. The number of health facilities has reached more than 5,000, while the number of doctors and nurses now exceeds 92,000.


The UAE has issued 90 policies and projects to enhance the readiness of the government sector. There are also 50 programmes that enhance energy efficiency and food security, as well as 50 initiatives for labour market and human resources.

The UAE government currently provides more than 1,500 services through more than 180 smart platforms.

Other major initiatives and strategies

2008 – the UAE government leadership programme was launched; it has graduated more than 1,000 leaders in over a decade.

2009 – Sheikh Khalifa Government Excellence Program was launched as the first integrated government excellence program at the federal government level.

2011 – launch of Emirates Programme for Excellence in Government Services to achieve higher standards in client services by improving efficiency.

2012 – Mohammed Bin Rashid Smart Learning Programme was launched to establish a unique learning environment in schools through the introduction of ‘Smart Classes’. The same year witnessed the launch of the UAE Green Growth Strategy, a long-term national initiative to develop a green economy in the country.

2013 – World Government Summit was established as a global knowledge exchange platform for future governments.

2014 – Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Government Innovation was launched to provide a world-class, multifunctional space for testing, creating and spurring innovation locally, regionally, and internationally.

2015 – Sheikh Mohammed launched the Arab Reading Challenge to literacy and reading across the Arab world

2016 – UAE Cabinet launched Government Accelerators to boost the achievement of the National Agenda to achieve Vision 2021. In the same year, the UAE launched the Emirates Youth Councils; the Centre For the Fourth Industrial Revolution; and Dubai Future Councils.

2017 – UAE Government's Annual Meetings was launched with the aim to unify all government entities at the federal and local levels on the path to achieve the Centennial 2071 Plan. In the same year, the UAE Centennial 2071 was launched as a clear roadmap to promote the UAE’s reputation and strengthen its leadership.

2018 – the strategic partnership for government modernisation and Government Experience Exchange Programme were launched during the World Government Summit.

2019 – Regulations Lab was launched aimed at developing and testing solid legislation for emerging technologies. Arab Government Excellence Award was also launched honouring distinguished Arab government employees.

2020 – UAE announced 2020 to be the year of preparation for the next 50 years with the theme, “2020: Towards the next 50”

2021 – UAE hosted Expo 2020 Dubai, welcoming millions of visitors to the largest global event that took place after the Covid-19 pandemic.

2022 – UAE launched Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements to build on UAE’s position as a global trade and logistics hub. The UAE also launched the ‘We the UAE 2031’ as a development path for the next 10 years, with focus on social, economic, investment and development aspects.


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