The UAE wraps up 50 years of achievements despite all challenges on the way, and will launch towards another 50 years of aspirations regardless of difficulties. This comes at a time when the world is experiencing tremendous tech-led progress that introduces agendas completely different from what they were 50 years ago.
Successes don’t come out of nothing. Rather, the UAE’s hopes and programmes for the next 50 years are based on what was achieved in the past 50 years, based on solid foundations that transformed the UAE from seven small emirates into an economically strong federal state with geopolitical influence.
Our generation experienced the early beginnings of the federal union and its challenges, and we have seen the steadfastness of the founding father and his brothers to overcome all difficulties, whereby they harnessed all financial and human capabilities to strengthen the union and support economic development.
They also focused on establishing a state-0f-the-art infrastructure to create an appropriate environment for education, health and housing, while establishing logistical facilities for trade, transport and communications.
This led to the creation of an integrated infrastructure that resulted in local and foreign investments, which in turn led to achieving rapid growth rates and a comprehensive economic expansion in a relatively short period. The UAE has presented a rich development model, becoming one of the most inspirational development experiences in the world, especially after the unilateral oil-dependent economic structure was transformed into a diversified economy, such as the aluminum and petrochemicals.
However, some sectors, such as tourism, air transport and financial services, have been like a dream that turned into a reality with which the UAE overtook many established hubs. Recently, the UNESCO adopted the UAE National Day as an International Day for the Future, and whih will be celebrated by all countries.
At the beginning of the second chapter of the UAE’s story towards the next 50, the country will have to deal with new developments and tasks. The technological prowess available has introduced new areas for equal competition. The nature of competition has completely changed thanks to the transformation to digital economies thanks to innovation, which has become the real value of wealth.
This wealth requires an entirely different infrastructure based on research centers, labs and inventions, and creative and highly qualified human resources. The UAE is doing its best and getting ready for the next stage.
Easing into smart services
It has started laying the foundations through transformation into smart government, space sciences, and the expansion of technical education in all fields. Plus, the transformation of Abu Dhabi into a global center for renewable and clean energy, where it is expected that the sources of this energy will meet 50 per cent of the energy needs of UAE by 2050.
As part of these preparations, President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan approved the largest legislative reforms in the history of the country by updating more than 40 laws to harmonize them with digital advances.
The government has also reshuffled administrative institutions, including the Cabinet, in response to the expected changes in the structure of the global digital economy. A Ministry of Artificial Intelligence and another Ministry for Advanced Technology were established, and more universities and colleges were set up.
Many agreements with countries were signed to support the country’s knowledge-based economy. Just as the beginning of the first 50 years resulted in the establishment of an emerging economy with a unique development experience, the UAE is embarking on a new phase to establish a scientific structure commensurate with the next 50 years.
This gives us hope that more achievements are ahead and will be made possible for our ambitious country to occupy an advanced position. The UAE has a clear path for how the country will look like and where its international standing will be in 2071.