Bab al Shams 50 years Vision
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces during the ministerial retreat at Bab Al Shams Image Credit: WAM

The UAE at 50 is a global role model of ambitious but sustainable development, social and scientific progress and humanitarian benevolence.

In the 50 years since being established, the UAE has successfully launched the first Arab interplanetary mission to Mars, sent its own astronaut to the International Space Station, built a nuclear power plant for cleaner energy sources and developed the Arab world’s second biggest economy with global-first ranks on competitiveness and efficiency across 121 indicators.

The UAE passport is the world’s most powerful, and UAE society the world’s safest. Countless countries have benefited from the UAE’s generous humanitarian assistance over the decades, and a spate of bold reforms has now opened up Emirati citizenship to foreigners with exceptional contribution and talent.

UAE leading the way

Yet, as His Highness Shaikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, famously said: “The future belongs to whomever imagines, designs and implements it.” That’s why the two-day UAE government retreat at Bab Al Shams, chaired by Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid and His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, assumes vital significance.

This forum brings the UAE leadership as well as local and federal government teams together in a strategic planning exercise rarely seen in any other country — bringing their full attention on how to accelerate the country’s development process in the next 50 years, further boost its economic environment and set new competitive goals.

Of course, science and technology will be a key foundation of the UAE’s progress for the next 50 years — as is evident from the success of the country’s Emirates Mars Mission and other space projects. Indeed, it is this knowledge economy and the investment in human capital that will take the UAE forward to greater heights in the coming decades.

But achieving that requires not only well-coordinated operations of various government teams across the country, but also the wholehearted support of every private entity and individual in the country. As the 10 sessions on Tuesday highlighted, the core focus for the next 50 years will be on speeding up diversification of the economy and integration of all economic sectors, and setting new benchmarks in smart governance, infrastructure and advanced sciences.

The Hope Probe — which has taken the UAE’s success beyond the confines of Earth — was born as an ambitious idea at the UAE Cabinet retreat of 2013 at Sir Bani Yas Island. The ideas and strategies evolving from the Bab Al Shams retreat will thus certainly propel the UAE towards a prosperous future based on innovation and the quest for excellence.