UAE skyline
In these 51 years, the UAE has calibrated its economic agenda to perfection, building around the oil gains. Now, the stage is getting set for 2071. Image Credit: Suji Su/Pexels

Usually, a National Day is an occasion for countries to highlight progress made during the year as well as review ongoing priorities, including those related to development. It is also the time to prepare for the year ahead, whereby they can fine-tune approaches and projects that can be the new building blocks for economic, social - and even cultural - gains from technology advances and qualified human resources.

This applies only to those countries that prioritise such matters, because, unfortunately, there are many that stand still or join the ranks of failed states.

Tomorrow coincides with the UAE’s celebration of its National Day - a country that’s been a model of development over 50 years, becoming the talk of the world thanks to strong will and successful economic management laid by the Founding Father of the Union and his brothers, the rulers of the Emirates from the beginning.

The economic approach followed by the UAE has led to success one after another. It is noteworthy to highlight the primary importance of the federal state, which provided the basic development foundations that could not be available with the same strength and speed locally.

In sync with change

By doing so, the UAE gives an important lesson for small countries on what’s necessary for comprehensive and sustainable development.

Apart from past achievements that have been talked about, especially at the time of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Union, this year is laying the foundations for more success in step with rapid changes sweeping the world. Trying to keep pace with them is one of the most important characteristics of UAE’s development process.

Among this year’s achievements, the UAE is one of the first countries that managed to overcome the consequences of the pandemic in a record time. In 2021, the economy achieved a growth of 3.8 per cent and its GDP touched Dh1.48 trillion.

Abu Dhabi exported the first shipment of hydrogen to Germany last October. Hydrogen in both its green and blue types, is emerging one of the most important sources of clean energy in the future. The UAE has developed an integrated programme to tap hydrogen energy, which is expected to form one of the country’s most important exports in the near future. This approach is in line with the qualitative changes witnessed by the global energy sector and lays sustainable foundations for the post-oil era.

Focused on FTAs

The government has sought during the year to enhance its role in the trade and transport sector by signing free trade agreements with some countries. These will allow the UAE to strengthen its trade and logistics status and enable other countries to leverage from the UAE’s strengths to compete with other global hubs.

In education, more universities and specialised vocational institutes have opened, with a focus on those that provide highly specialised technological applications. As for infrastructure, which has emerged as one of the important characteristics of UAE’s development model, the federal government has played a pivotal role as have the individual emirates. Here too, the focus is on technological infrastructure and its associated core areas such as AI and high-speed telecom and internet services.

The same approaches can be seen in transport, tourism, medical services and renewable energy and human resource development. This year witnessed many changes within the UAE’s vision and the Principles of the 50 for year 2071, which will enhance the country’s status and development model. And turn it into a developed economy that keeps pace with everything related to change – in the fastest possible ways.