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Dubai has never stood still, never rested on its laurels, always striven for excellence and innovation. The march of progress has indeed been kind to the emirate, but that progress has never been taken for granted, never been assumed, always worked at and planned.

On Sunday, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, laid down a new road map to ensure that the emirate will continue to prosper and grow in the coming 50 years. The bold and visionary nine-point charter identifies just how Dubai will develop the quality of life for all and guarantee a better future for generations to come. Indeed, the timing of the release of the nine-point charter coincides with Shaikh Mohammad’s 50th anniversary of his entry into public life and service — and his energy, passion, leadership and vision have ensured that Dubai continues to thrive and progress. The nine-point charter comes on the heels of the release of the eight principles that guide Dubai and together they provide a framework for good governance and continued economic growth that will set the emirate on a secure path moving forward over the next five decades.

The nine-point charter recognises the unique circumstances of Dubai, with the Silk Road initiative paying homage to the emirate’s pivotal position between east and west, north and south, its trading past and global opportunities that exist now in trade and commerce. Dubai too has benefitted greatly from the advent of free economic zones, and the 50-year plan envisages a geographical and economic map for Dubai, with sector-specific areas working together to increase growth and prosperity.

The plan is visionary in that it will establish the first virtual commercial city, one where setting up a new company will be as easy as setting up an email account. Similarly, the plan will allow for the creation of economic zones in universities in the emirate, where research and knowledge, learning and entrepreneurship will go hand-in-hand to create new opportunities and foster economic growth. Education too is key for ensuring the emirate continues to thrive, and the plan will allow for the educational records of all to be centrally stored; education is not just for the formal years in institutions but is a lifelong process. Concerning health of all in Dubai is a key concern, the plan will provide ample and easy medical care for all. In environmental terms, the plan envisages homes in the emirate becoming self-sufficient and sustainable. Philanthropy remains a key focus, while the plan also envisages the establishment of cooperatives and privatisation of some services.