Abu Dhabi: The UAE is celebrating its 51st National Day with pride in its unprecedented achievements during its formation and empowerment phases, aided by its enthusiasm to continue its journey, under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The country is continuing its significant efforts to shape a prosperous future.
In 2022, it created a distinguished development model covering all political, economic, social, scientific and cultural areas, after presenting a success story in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. The country has maintained its rise in international competitiveness reports and continued the development of its legislative structure. The annual meetings of the UAE Government have witnessed the launch of ambitious national initiatives and projects.
The UAE has strengthened its international presence, stressing its international leadership in the space sector. It has also approved the Federal Budget for 2023-2026 totalling Dh252.3 billion.
Legislative and Regulatory Environment
The UAE is continuing to advance its legislative and regulatory infrastructure, by issuing a range of federal decrees, laws and ministerial resolutions aimed at improving the community’s security and safety, as well as continuing the process of economic and social development.
In 2022, President Sheikh Mohamed has issued a directive granting children of Emirati mothers in the UAE the same benefits as other citizens for education and health. The decision will ensure children of all citizens receive equal treatment in those sectors.
He also issued Federal Decree Law No. 25 for 2022 to regulate and develop the agriculture industry, a federal decree law on changing the name of the Ministry of Presidential Affairs to the “Presidential Court,” and a federal decree establishing the “Citizens and Community Affairs Office” at the Presidential Court. In addition, the President has directed the restructuring of the Social Welfare Progarmme of low-income citizens into an integrated programme worth Dh28 billion instead of Dh14 billion.
In 2022, the UAE Cabinet announced a major structural change to the educational system and ordered a comprehensive review and the drafting of modernisation of policies and legislation for the educational sector. It also issued a new law for sports, drafted a national digital economy strategy, established the UAE Digital Economy Council, issued an unemployment insurance system, raised the country’s Emiratisation target for skilled jobs in the private sector to 10 per cent by 2026, and enforced a full-time holiday for citizens working in the government wishing to run their own businesses.
The cabinet also adopted a new policy for federal housing loans and established the UAE Council for Environmental Action, the National Public Health Committee, and the Higher Committee for Government Digital Transformation.
Strengthening Workers’ Rights
The year 2022 witnessed the largest and most inclusive modernisation and upgrading of legislation that support workers’ rights in the UAE, through the issuance of many relevant laws and ministerial decisions. The most notable was Federal Decree Law No. 9 for 2022 regarding domestic service workers, and Federal Decree Law No. 13 for 2022 regarding unemployment insurance, as well as cabinet resolutions on work-related injuries, occupational diseases, health and safety, occupational and labour housing, wage protection, organising labour inspection procedures, establishing collective labour dispute committees, and drafting procedures for labour disputes and complaints.
Residence and Visit System
As of 3rd October 2022, the UAE began implementing an updated visa system that represented a paradigm leap in the entry and residence of foreigners at the regional and global levels. The system included new types of residence systems with significant advantages and facilities. This included “green residence” with three categories, such as a jobseeker’s visa and the ability to attract investors without sponsors. Moreover, the new visa system provided new benefits for golden residence holders.
The UAE government’s annual meetings, which took place on 22nd and 23rd November, 2022, were attended by leaders in the country and more than 500 federal and local officials. It saw the launch of many significant national initiatives, including the “We are the Emirates 2031” vision, which comprised several national indexes. Most notable among them were increasing the GDP to AED3 trillion, the country’s non-oil exports to AED800 billion, and raising the value of the UAE foreign trade to AED4 trillion.
The other notable initiatives were placing the UAE among the top 10 countries in the world on the Human Development Index, raising the country’s stature in the food security index to be among the top 10, achieving first place globally in terms of food security, and developing proactive legislation for new economic sectors, in addition to raising the contribution of the tourism sector to the GDP to AED450 billion.
The meetings have led to the launch of the “Emirates Villages” project worth AED1 billion, which aims to create development and economic opportunities in the country’s villages. The meetings also adopted an increase in citizens’ salaries in the private and banking sector.
In 2022, the UAE’s participation in major international events was remarkable. Among these was the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference or Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC, more commonly referred to as COP27, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, from 6th to 18th November 2022.
The UAE participated in the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia, on 15th and 16th November, under the slogan “Recovering Together, Recovery Stronger”, with a high-level delegation of ministers. The UAE made a significant contribution in the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, from 20th to 26th September in New York.
The UAE participated in the 18th Francophone Summit, hosted by the Tunisian island of Djerba, on 19th and 20th November. Furthermore, the UAE continued its achievements related to its election or victory of its national competencies for the presidency or membership of the UN and international institutions and bodies, as the UAE assumed its duties as a member of the Human Rights Council for the period 2022-2024.
Last March, the UAE assumed the presidency of the UN Security Council, prioritising its work on the agenda of women, global peace and security, climate security, and cooperation between the council and the League of Arab States, in addition to addressing recent developments on security issues around the world.
The UAE won membership in the council of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) for the third category from 2022 to 2025. It also won the presidency of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Use of Outer Space (COPUOS), one of the largest committees at the UN.
In a new global achievement for the UAE’s peaceful nuclear programme, the Managing Director and CEO of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, Mohammed Al Hammadi, became the new chairman of the International Organisation of Nuclear Operators.
The UAE had achieved outstanding results in the field of international competitiveness. Until September 2022, the country was ranked first globally in 156 indexes, in the top five in 288 indexes, and in the top 10 in 432 indexes. For the sixth consecutive year, the UAE was ranked first in the Middle East and North Africa region in the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook Report 2022, where it maintained its leadership in the first regional position in the overall ranking while being ranked 12th in the world.
In 2022, the UAE achieved outstanding successes that boosted its international leadership in the space sector, which has become a priority in the country’s future development plans.
The UAE launched the National Radar Satellite Project to develop a range of radar satellites that can monitor changes occurring on the planet, and established a special strategic fund to support the national space sector valued at AED3 billion. It provides financial resources and offers management governance, in line with the country’s approach to finding alternative and innovative solutions for financing projects and developing the sector.
In June 2022, the UAE won the chairmanship of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Use of Outer Space (COPUOS), one of the largest committees in the United Nations (UN), which has 100 member states. In April, the UAE announced the launch of a new six-month mission to the International Space Station (ISS), the first long-term Arab mission to the ISS to be undertaken by an Emirati astronaut. The mission will launch in the spring of 2023. The UAE is also expected to achieve new international success in the space sector with the launch of the explorer “Rashid” on the first Arab mission to the moon, the fourth such mission in the world.
The Hope Probe is continuing its Mars exploration journey, achieving outstanding scientific successes while the country is progressing in the production of the first-ever Emirati spacecraft, which will launch an expedition to Venus and the asteroid belt of the solar system.
The public housing sector saw considerable support in 2022, when several resolutions and initiatives were launched, under a clear road map for the future of government housing in the country.
On 5th June, 2022, President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed ordered the completion of all the housing grant applications from previous years, as part of the Sheikh Zayed Housing Programme and with the support of the UAE President’s Initiatives worth AED2.3 billion, due to the keenness of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed to ensure social stability of citizens and provide them with decent lives.
In June 2022, the UAE Cabinet adopted a new policy for federal housing loans, to finance housing loans through a partnership between the private sector and national banks.
The new housing financing policy aims to issue 13,000 housing resolutions over the next five years from 2022 to 2026, at a cost of AED11.5 billion, as well as meet the future needs of Emirati citizens, to ensure family stability, achieve prosperity, and provide decent and safe lives for citizens.
The UAE’s resolution to cancel COVID-19-related precautionary measures on 7th November, 2022, was a major shift that underscored the country’s success in overcoming the pandemic. The procedures implemented by national health authorities played a key role in overcoming the pandemic, and included establishing specialist hospitals and healthcare centres and supplying them with all required equipment, conducting the necessary medical tests covering the largest possible segment of the population, establishing examination centres around the country, and offering five types of vaccines.
The health sector was ranked 1st for the number of awards received from the International Hospital Federation. It received 11 awards, which was equivalent to 37.9 per cent of the International Hospital Federation awards. This amounted to 29 awards distributed in seven main categories. There are three categories for each award: gold, silver and bronze.
Events and occasions
In 2022, the country restored the international event momentum and brought it back to pre-pandemic levels. The UAE organised a slew of international conferences, exhibitions and tournaments, including the World Government Summit, the Global Conference on Human Fraternity, the Abu Dhabi Air Show 2022, the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2022, and the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC).
There were also two new editions of the Sharjah and Abu Dhabi International Book Fairs, the International Government Communication Forum in Sharjah, the World Green Economy Summit, the Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition in Abu Dhabi, the Global Media Congress and dozens of other events and activities that attracted participants and attendees from different countries.
Expo 2020 Dubai, which concluded in April 2022, achieved unprecedented success, having registered 24,102,967 visits, with people from 192 countries.