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Abdullah bin Zayed emphasises UAE's success story

posted on 11/02/2015: 1637 views

The UAE's progress and its opening up to the world is something it owes to its Islamic and Arab identity, UAE's Foreign Minister H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan affirmed yesterday while addressing the 3rd Government Summit in Dubai.

In the presence of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Sheikh Abdullah said, 'Though the UAE is small in size but it has a far-reaching impact on the scientific progress. A desert in the past, the UAE is today a lush green land of bounties, high-rise buildings, renaissance and modernity.' Speaking at the plenary session on the second day of the Government Summit entitled, '#WeTheUAE,' the foreign minister said many countries around the world had kept asking questions about the secret behind the resounding success and dynamic leadership the UAE displayed in a short span of time and how the UAE defied the negative impressions and stereotyped thoughts about countries in the region prevalent then.

'Many people across the world are looking for the recipe of success that the young state has achieved in just 43 years, something that should have taken a long time. How seven individual emirates united together under a common determination and transformed in a record time into an attractive destination for creative minds and talents from different countries of the world?" Serving a message to those who think that the identity of the UAE's Muslim people and existence of the State amidst an atmosphere of turbulence pose challenges to the UAE, Sheikh Abdullah said, 'The State had been and will remain the land of opportunities and the UAE people with their Islamic identity will always be a messenger of peace and a source of stories of success and inspiration.' The UAE leadership, he stressed, was strongly committed to make the UAE an oases of security and stability, and had promoted the concept of a society where equality and justice prevail.

Commending the UAE's wise leadership, Sheikh Abdullah said it had succeeded in bringing about welfare to the members of the community, making the UAE a nation of happiness for both citizens and expatriate residents.

According to him, the human being is the source of civilisation and the most valuable wealth, adding that the UAE's success story is about the Emirati human being, citing words of the late founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan: 'Man is the essence of every civilisational process and is pivotal to every process of progress ...the human being is the building block in nation building.' Giving an example of the ambition and determination of the UAE citizen, Sheikh Abdullah spoke about a young Emirati girl (Rawda Al Boum) and showed a video clip of a university female student who dreamt to be an ambassador to the UAE at the United Nations. The ambitious girl, he indicated, didn't even wait to complete her study and engaged in field work and took the initiative by conducting during her vacations a series of humanitarian relief missions to Malawi and Cambodia though there was no diplomatic representation for the UAE there.

The UAE Muslim girl, he continued, had provided assistance to the needy and poor people and participated in the building of orphanages.

'Rawda is an example of the spirit of the generous UAE people, who defy barriers and burdens and transform challenges into opportunities for initiative and achievement,' he said.

Speaking about education, Foreign Minister, HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said, 'Nations achieve progress and development by science and knowledge, and we, in the UAE, started the learning process after the establishment of the Union in 1971. At that time, half of the male and a third of female citizens knew how to read and write. Today, 90 per cent of men and women are well educated. The progress of education was connected with the increase in the number of educational institutions and universities which stood at 1,200 at all levels of education and serving all ages.' On the healthcare sector, HH noted that the government, since the inception of the UAE State, had been keen to provide healthcare as a right to each citizen and expatriate resident. Observers of the UAE, he added, would notice the significant development in the medical sector, which boasts today of more than 2,200 health and medical facilities including hospitals and healthcare centres fitted with the most advanced equipment and manned with best consultants and specialists taking care of the health and well-being of the UAE citizen, being an integral part of the national assets.

Turning to the other half of the society, Sheikh Abdullah underlined that the UAE's civilised march would not have been complete if it had not been for the central role of the Emirati woman as a major partner in the development of the nation since the inception of the Union as well as in the present and future of national development.

Two years after the birth of the Union, he indicated, the first society for development of women was established under the chairmanship of ‘Mother of the Nation', HH Sheikh Fatima bint Mubarak.

Since then, he went on to say, the UAE woman had landmark achievements to her credit, affirming that women's empowerment is not just a slogan which the government boasted off or a word which officials repeated. It is rather a tangible truth through accomplishments that carry the hallmarks of UAE women in various fields including politics, aviation, museums, sports and etc.

On the cultural openness and diversity, HH said, 'We decided, when we began building a modern, progressive State, to attract the best minds and skilful competencies to share the task of building and renaissance. And at a time when the Arab region was suffering from a brain drain, the UAE had been at the forefront of a process of attracting and embracing the best minds from across the world, thus promoting a new concept which Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum called the 'reverse brain drain.' 'Since the establishment of the State to date, the UAE's population has doubled 30-fold and our nation is still an open destination to more innovators and achievers from all over the world,' Sheikh Abdullah added.

He emphasised that policy was a natural progression of the openness and internal harmony which was clearly evident in foreign policy.

He noted that affection, respect and a common will for success and prosperity had solidified the UAE Union and its global standing as a magnet for all nationalities.

The nature of peace and love of the Emirati people, he stressed, had enabled the UAE to establish friendly and diplomatic ties with more than 187 countries.

'Those who come to the UAE to live and work will enrich their experiences through interaction with the UAE people and vice versa. Additionally, the UAE people will benefit from their experiences,' he said.

Through its diplomatic relations with different countries of the world, HH said the UAE has built an integrated system for a promising future, adding that the UAE foreign policy is based on positivity, building bridges of co-operation between the UAE people and other peoples.

This policy, he said, had consolidated the UAE's ability to attract the best minds from all over the world as evident by the high-profile huge audience of world leaders attending the Government Summit.

On the leading role of diplomatic missions abroad, the Foreign Minister said, 'I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the UAE has built strong diplomatic ties with many countries of the world based on mutual respect. Today, we have 105 diplomatic missions abroad playing key roles in strengthening ties of co-operation and co-ordination between us and our friends and fellow beings, as well as building vibrant economic, political and cultural ties. The nation's diplomats are presenting the UAE's success story to the world,' he added.

Sheikh Abdullah's speech highlighted a huge national economic boom since the inception of the Union to date, citing that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) doubled 236 times. The surge in the GDP is attributed to strenuous work in terms of human resources development, honing skills and setting up of state-of-the-art infrastructure, as well as the strategic geographic location between East and West that contributed effectively to strengthening of economic ties and partnerships with all countries worldwide.

"The attractive environment, which we have established through modern infrastructure, was supported by laws, regulations and stimulating open economic policies that elevated the status of the UAE as an economic global hub," Sheikh Abdullah said, adding, "For example, the open space policy comes as an extension to our openness to the world. The UAE's sky has translated into the world's busiest aircraft network, and the UAE has become a global logistics centre for land, sea and air transport. It has linked various countries worldwide, becoming a gateway for regional and international trade." He noted that the UAE has become a global centre for 25 percent of world's major 500 companies, and main investment hotspot for foreign capital, which will continue flowing within the next five years in the light of huge projects in the sectors of tourism, industry, transport and renewable energy.

The UAE Foreign Minister said the UAE is among the advanced countries when it comes to enacting economic laws and regulations that protect investors in competitive and transparent environment, characterised with lack of corruption and availability of necessary facilitations to exercise any trade activity.

Sheikh Abdullah quoted His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, as saying, "What will the leadership do when it sees the last barrel of oil being shipped abroad? The answer was then we will celebrate the investment in our youth." He underlined that the UAE will also celebrate its investments in the diversified national economy and its success in building sustainable knowledge economy, adding that oil today constitutes less than one third of the UAE's GDP, contrary to the early years of the Union when oil constituted greater part of the GDP.

Regarding the tourism sector, Sheikh Abdullah said, "As you know, the UAE is rich with excellent monuments and hosts throughout the year various international marketing, sports and cultural events." He added, "If we take the tourism sector as an example of the progress achieved by the UAE, we will see that the contribution of this sector today to the GDP has reached 8.1 percent. This sector witnessed a very significant leap during the last 10 years, boosting the country's position on the world tourism map and making it one of the world's most tourist hotspot destinations in terms of popularity and excellence." Sheikh Abdullah said the growth in non-oil sectors was a result of hard work and successful policies adopted by the UAE government to develop different sectors, among others, the industrial sector, which drives the economic success of the UAE, noting that the industrial sector contributes 15 percent to the GDP.

"Our national industries export its products with pride to all countries of the world, and our government is constantly striving to overcome obstacles to the growth. Today we have a group of major industrial cities in the region and the world, which are characterised with a potential to make tremendous contribution to the empowerment of all national and foreign investors to upgrade industries in various disciplines and fields," he said.

He commended the UAE's endeavour for a competitive and sustainable knowledge-based economy, praising the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the declaration of the UAE Cabinet to make 2015 as the year of innovation, stressing that this announcement was followed by the move of all federal institutions to review the general government policies in order to create a conducive environment for innovation to make the UAE reach top spots in the global Innovation Index.

Index: Sheikh Abdullah said that the UAE is making great efforts to become an advanced scientific and knowledge society, citing the establishment of the Emirates Space Agency, which represents a quantum leap in the region in the field of astronomy, which has been a monopoly of the major developed countries.

He added that the establishment of this great edifice will contribute to supporting advanced scientific research in the field of space, which will help in the development of many vital economic sectors such as telecommunications, information technology, aviation and others.

On future energy sector policies, Sheikh Abdullah underscored that the UAE did not confine itself to investment in the traditional energy sectors, but decided following the directives of the leadership to invest in future energy projects. Following those instructions, he continued, the UAE entered aggressively into the field of renewable energy. "When we started our investments in renewable and alternative energy, many people questioned the feasibility of those investments. Our answer was simple and clear: we are building a future as we are doing for our present. Today, all these questions have vanished in thin air with the appearance of Masdar City and the Peaceful Nuclear Plant in Barakah, besides huge solar energy projects such as Shams 1 and The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park.

About foreign investments, he said that the UAE government did not ignore thinking and planning for future generations to secure a bright future for them, noting that the UAE has a dedicated investment policy for the present and also for the future. He added that the UAE was one of the first countries to establish a sovereign fund to invest surplus oil and non-oil revenues.

Sheikh Abdullah pointed out that the UAE's foreign investments "are an essential part of the diversification of income sources and contribute at the same time to the development of our human resources and to polish national skills through the work of Emiratis in many companies and factories around the world." He stressed that the UAE does not only import skills, but also export them. He referred to the national companies that have started to export competent citizens to work in various countries of the world, citing the fields of aviation and real estate projects, ports management and investments. "These contributions highlight the UAE's development impact worldwide," he said.

Regarding the international development aid provided by the UAE to different countries worldwide, Sheikh Abdullah said, "With growth and stability in the UAE and provision of prosperity for its people and residents on its territory, we had to express our sense of belonging to all humanity. In an interconnected world, we cannot live in isolation from what is happening around us. And our duty as Muslims and Arabs requires us to pay attention to the developing countries and support them, irrespective of affiliation, religion and identity." He added that given its contributions in various fields, the UAE earned the global leadership status as the world's largest donor country regarding Official Development Assistance (ODA) in proportion to its Gross National Income (GNI). The UAE's development aid has increased four-fold this year compared to 2012.

On the UAE's effort to restore international peace and security, the UAE Foreign Minister said, "As long as our message to the world is love and peace, we believe in realising security, stability, sustainable development and welfare. We are among the vanguards calling for stability in Egypt, whose security represents a cornerstone of the Arab world security." "We cannot keep our fingers crossed about achieving stability and development in Egypt, thanks to its support to all Arab countries." He added, "The UAE also exerts efforts to achieve peace in Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan and Kosovo. Even in our nuclear programme, we have adopted the highest safety and security, and operational transparency and non-proliferation standards. These standards are deemed the golden standards for all aspiring countries to implement a peaceful nuclear programme." Sheikh Abdullah concluded by saying, "It's hard to narrate the UAE's success story in a few minutes. This story has been written through challenging perceptions and stereotypes about countries of the region, and through our peaceful Union, diplomacy and the wisdom of our founding fathers." "Today, we are building for all who live on our land present and future security and peace. The UAE's success story is a success story for all. The State would not have reached this milestone without its loyal sons and daughters and guests from all over the world," he added.

UAE Air Force launches air strikes on Daesh targets

Abu Dhabi, 10th February, 2015 (WAM) -- Squadron of UAE Air Force F-16, stationed on an air base in Jordan, this morning launched a series of airstrikes on targets of the Daesh (ISIS) terrorist organisation, the General Command of the UAE Armed Forces announced today.

It affirmed that the UAE jet fighters had struck their targets and returned safely to their base. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


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