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Mohammad bin Rashid unveils highlights of Dubai Strategic Plan

posted on 04/02/2007: 1063 views

The Dubai Strategic Plan - 2015 (DSP), unveiled yesterday by H.H. Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Prime Minister and Vice President, and Ruler of Dubai, is set to maintain double-digit economic growth, achieve a GDP of US$108 billion and increase real per capita GDP to US$44,000 by 2015.

The plan, launched under the theme "Dubai: Where The Future Begins", sets out a strategic approach that focuses on developing the emirate's most dynamic economic sectors that have been the key contributors to Dubai's annual real GDP growth rate of 13% since 2000.

Sheikh Mohammad said: "The Dubai Strategic Plan, despite having its own specific goals, is fully integrated with the Federal strategic plan, being prepared by The Council of Ministers, under the direction of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates.

"The plan encompasses many new attributes, with a foundation firmly built on quantitative achievements which form a solid base for sustained growth in the era of the knowledge economy.

The plan will not be affected by oil price fluctuations. Dubai has succeeded in diversifying its sources of income, and reducing its dependence on oil, so that, today, oil's contribution to GNP is a mere 3%", H.H. Sheikh Mohammed said. "We have come a long way towards achieving the objectives of an economy independent of oil. Indeed we have exceeded all expectations and predictions.

"When I announced my Vision for Dubai, in the year 2000, I spoke of economic aims for the year 2010. The reality is that not only have these aims been realized but they have been realized in half the time.

"In the year 2000 the plan was to increase GNP to 30 billion US dollars by 2010. In 2005 that figure was exceeded, with GNP reaching 37 billion US dollars. The plan also included an increase in income per capita to 23,000 US dollars by the year 2010. In 2005 the average income per capita reached 31,000 US dollars.

In other words, we realized, in five years, economic achievements beyond those which were planned for a 10-year period.”

Sheikh Mohammed continued: "Over the last few years another very important achievement has been economic restructuring. In 2005, the non-oil sector played a major role, contributing 95% to GDP, as compared to 90% in 2000, and approximately 46% in 1975. The services sector was the driving force behind Dubai's economic growth, contributing 74% of GNP, mirroring the economies of the developed world".

"Our success in diversifying our sources of income has compensated for low oil reserves, and economic growth now depends on an infrastructure not directly affected by the oil sector. This is an historic achievement, one which can benefit neighbouring and friendly oil-producing countries in their efforts to restructure their own economies and to diversify their own sources of income.

"The Dubai Strategic Plan will also ensure a common framework for the integrated operations of all government entities, focusing on five key areas that show the highest level of development potential - economic development, social development, infrastructure, land and environment, security, justice and safety and, public sector excellence. For each area, clear sub-sectors have been identified that will form the underlying principles for development," Sheikh Mohammed said.

The Economic Development Plan (EDP) aims to sustain the level of growth of the emirate's economy - which has been growing faster than the emerging economies of China and India over the past six years - with a CAGR of 13%.

The EDP will focus on those sectors that have made the most significant contribution to GDP, historically, and the continued exploitation of Dubai's 'first-mover' advantage, as well as the influx of significant levels of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

It identifies supporting supply-side factors that have significantly contributed to economic growth, including the presence of an efficient government, a solid institutional framework and effective mechanisms in the delivery of services, strong laws and regulations, an excellent logistics' infrastructure, strategic location, coinciding with the rapid rise in global trade especially in China and India over the past five years, and an openness to foreign cultures that has resulted in a large influx of people and the belief that Dubai is a safe and comfortable place to live and do business.

The EDP will optimize the trade sector which saw the highest increase in GDP share of all components of the service sector, (comprising trade, construction, transport, storage and communication, real estate and business services, and tourism).

An underlying pillar of the EDP is that, within Dubai's current GPD mix, the strongest sectors are those forecast to experience the strongest growth globally.

Specifically, the EDP aims to sustain real GDP growth of 11% per annum for the next ten years, increase real per capita GDP from US$31,000 to US$44,000 by 2015, increase productivity by 4% per annum and create new sectors of growth with sustainable competitive advantage.

The future strategic growth of Dubai is based on six key 'building blocks' which include tourism, trade, transportation and finance.

The development of these 'building blocks' will be strategically supported by seven horizontal growth enablers, which will be addressed in parallel. These are human capital, productivity, innovation, cost of living and doing business, quality of life, economic policy and institutional framework, and laws and regulations.

The EDP will be integrated with federal government plans for the development of the UAE as a whole. Having an effective social infrastructure is the key to reaching higher levels of sustained economic growth. Social development has always been at the heart of the Dubai Government's policies and it is a key component of the Dubai Strategic Plan.

Sheikh Mohammed said the DSP crucially acknowledges the key role of social development. He noted that only those countries with an infrastructure supporting effective social development are able to sustain high levels of continuous economic growth.

The DSP, he said, commits to improving performance in key areas including, education, health, culture, social assistance and the work place, as the only way to secure sustainable economic prosperity for Dubai. Specific strategic focus will be given to increasing the sense of belonging and awareness of the local culture by updating the content of curricula and improving Arabic language proficiency.

Sheikh Mohammed said the DSP will support all fields related to cultural development, including theatres, cinema and the arts, as well as supporting Dubai's participation in regional and international cultural events. He added the strategy recognises the importance of the private sector's role in developing culture in Dubai. Under the DSP, initiatives will be launched to ensure nationals are the preferred employees in strategic sectors. These initiatives will be aimed at improving education and skills development.

Nationals will also be equipped with the necessary life skills to cope with a rapidly changing world. All nationals will have access to quality education that will include the upgrading of teachers' qualifications and the curricula to international standards. At the same time the requirements of students with special needs will be met.

In the area of health, the DSP will ensure that health insurance is improved and international accreditation for hospitals is introduced. In addition, a more rigorous medical licensing process will be implemented, with specific clinical guidelines developed.

Labour regulations will be updated and enforcement mechanisms will be improved. The awareness of employers and employees of their legal rights and responsibilities will be enhanced. The DSP also aims to ensure that the right environment is achieved to attract and retain the skills required to sustain economic and social growth. Overall, the plan will improve the governance of the services sector and transform service delivery from welfare based to a social development model.

In terms of infrastructure, land and the environment, the DSP covers four main areas - urban planning, energy, electricity and water, roads and transportation and the environment. It will target sustainable development and seek to provide a balanced infrastructure, that includes all aspects of development, while protecting the environment.

An integrated roads and transportation system will be introduced to facilitate movement and improve safety. This will include greater use of public transport, reduced use of private cars, increased road network and transportation system capacity, the use of modern technology to make the transport system more efficient, demand management and more effective management of accidents and emergencies. The DSP also highlights the efforts already being made to improve road safety by enforcing safety audits, developing and implementing safety standards and influencing driver behaviour through awareness, stricter regulations and effective enforcement.

Under the DSP, environmental standards will be updated and aligned to international standards and the emirate will adopt a sustainable development approach through the integration of environment best practices in development policies.

Under the DSP, Dubai plans to enhance its reputation as one of the world's safest places to live. It pledges to proactively protect human rights and to guarantee equality and a dignified life for all individuals in the community. Specifically, seven objectives will be targeted - preservation of security and order, protection of rights and freedoms, crisis and disaster management, access to justice, equality, neutrality, accuracy and clarity of investigations and judgments, the speedy hearing of cases and safety and public health. Legislation will be developed accordingly, supported by effective legal processes and automation where appropriate.

The DSP acknowledges that as Dubai evolves and the global environment is characterized by increasing competition and change, the emirate will need to continuously modernize its government's performance.

The DSP highlights five specific areas that will support the drive to public sector excellence. These are strengthening the strategic focus, enhancing organizational structures and accountability, increasing efficiency, improving customer service and empowering and motivating public sector employees. The Directors of Dubai Government departments will be responsible to the Dubai Executive Counsel for executing this strategy.

The plan also envisages an improvement in the management of the Dubai Government's financial systems through performance based budgeting, more efficient accounting policies and the automation of procedures. Public sector employees will be empowered and trained.

Sheikh Mohammed said people should not be worried by Dubai's emergence as a global city. "Some people are afraid of the word global, believing it to be the opposite of everything local and national and cultural identity. The concept of the word global is based on a set of criteria accepted by world community and is the by-product of successful practices based on a broad spectrum of human experiences. The principles set forth by international laws, concerning human rights and international relations, are the universal standards which should apply to all countries of the world.”

He concluded: "As we have succeeded in the past, we will succeed in the future. We will write new pages in our nation's epic of glory, pride and achievement. We will inspire our nation, and we will set the example. We will present to our world proof that we are capable of action, of imposing our presence, of communicating, interacting, co-existing, and cooperating with all other cultures and civilizations.” (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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