From left: Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan and Mohammad Younus. Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Sunday launched the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, a foundation combining several organisations under a single umbrella.

The initiatives will have an annual budget of Dh1 billion and will focus on four key areas: spreading knowledge; combating poverty, empowering communities and innovation for the future.

The new foundation consolidates the work of 28 organisations focusing on fighting poverty and illness; spreading knowledge and culture; empowering the community and driving innovation. It will work in general within 116 countries focusing mainly on the Arab region.

1,400 human development programs

Combined, the foundation’s initiatives will implement over 1,400 human development programs in more than 116 countries around the world.

Commenting on the launch, Shaikh Mohammed said, “The Arab region is undergoing massive challenges. We will not turn our backs on our region, we will provide our support and bring hope for our youth.”

He added: “The world today is facing great challenges on all levels; in terrorism, wars and mass immigration and the only solution lies in human development which can be achieved by educating people and helping them build their future.”

The Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives will target over 130 million people over the coming years and will focus its programs on the Arab region.

It will also launch the largest and most comprehensive development program in the Arab region focusing on human development in an integrated manner starting with providing the basic human needs from health, fighting illiteracy and poverty through to providing knowledge, the dissemination of culture and the development of education.

Creating new generation of Arab leaders

It will work in parallel on developing a new generation of young Arab leaders, supporting real change in the area of good governance in the region and providing the largest incubator for Arab innovators, scientists and researchers.

The primary basic goals of the new foundation were announced, focusing on four main sectors: Fighting Poverty; Dissemination of Knowledge; Community Empowerment and Innovation for the Future.

The Initiatives will work on supporting and educating 20 million children and on the prevention and treatment of 30 million people from blindness and eye diseases until 2025. The foundation will also invest 2 billion dirhams establishing medical research centres and hospitals in the region.

The Initiatives include dedicating Dh500 million for research projects to address the need for concrete solutions to the water shortage issues of the region, a key challenge which will only intensify in decades to come.

Shaikh Mohammad commented: “Today we are embarking on a new beginning. My invitation is open to all countries, international foundations and organisations to participate with us in bringing new hope for our region.”
The Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives will continue with its relief work and will empower more than two million families, enabling them to become self-sufficient within the next ten years. The new institution will also support young entrepreneurs in order to provide more than half a million jobs over the next few years.

In the field of spreading knowledge and science, and encouraging the translation of key works into Arabic, the Initiatives will work on printing and distributing more than 10 million books, and the translation of the top 25,000 titles from various languages to Arabic, as well as continuing with promoting a vibrant reading culture among school students.

The foundation will support programmes that aim to see over than 500 million books read over the next ten years across the Arab world. The investment in educational, knowledge, and scientific initiatives will total Dh1.5 billion to create real change in this sector.

Development strategy

The foundation will work within its overall development strategy on establishing a new culture in societies based on tolerance and cultural and civilisation openness.

To achieve this goal, the foundation has dedicated more than Dh600 million to promote a transparent and lively media dialogue and also to enable communities to live in harmony, away from extremism, ethnic, religious or sectarian discrimination.

Some Dh150 millionwill be awarded to encourage creatives, intellectuals, and journalists to create cultural discourse that is based in empowering communities, enhancing their cohesion, and increasing their cultural creativity. The institution will target over a million participants in awards and forums related to community empowerment over the next 10 years.

As part of its overall vision to develop the region, foundation will support innovation and scientists in the region by fostering 5,000 innovators and researchers and will invest more than Dh5.5 billion in building a better, world-standard environment for innovators in the region.

Fostering entrepreneurship

The institution will also focus on fostering entrepreneurship by supporting and nurturing 50,000 young entrepreneurs and supporting the establishment of new companies that will provide 500,000 job opportunities in the region during the coming years.

All of this is part of the institution’s comprehensive development vision to contribute, even if for just a little bit, towards eradicating unemployment and providing Arab youth with a dignified life, preventing them from being misguided and lured to terrorism.

The new foundation will be managed by a Board of Trustees which includes representatives of all the organisations brought together by the new Foundation. It will be chaired by Shaikh Mohammad. "The Arab region is undergoing massive challenges, and these challenges will continue for decades to come. We will not turn our backs on our region, we will provide our support, and bring hope in a better future for our youth,” Shaikh Mohammad said.

“The world has spent tens of billions on addressing global challenges. If only a quarter of this amount was spent on development in our region, we would overcome our challenges and our people could overcome their difficulties to restore their role in building vibrant societies which contribute to the development and wellbeing of mankind,” Shaikh Mohammad said.

Board of trustees

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, approved the board of trustees for the Mohammad Bin Rashid Global Initiatives Foundation.

The board will be chaired by Shaikh Mohammad, while Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince, will serve as Deputy Chairman.

Other board members include Shaikh Maktoum Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Princess Haya Bint Al Hussain, wife of Shaikh Mohammad, Shaikha Manal Bint Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Shaikh Ahmad Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, Shaikha Maitha Bint Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in addition to a number of prominent figures who operate in the field of developmental and humanitarian work.

Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, will serve as Secretary General of the foundation.