ABU DHABI // It was an outstanding 2013 for the UAE, thanks to the leadership of the President, Sheikh Khalifa.
In a review of the country’s achievements last year in the areas of politics, economics, and social and cultural empowerment, the state news agency Wam highlighted some of the UAE’s grandest accomplishments.
The UAE ranked third in terms of high confidence in political leadership among 148 countries worldwide in the Global Competitiveness Report 2013-2014, issued by the World Economic Forum. It also ranked 14th worldwide in the United Nation’s happiness and satisfaction survey.
“The huge achievements attained were not the end in themselves but the top priority was, and still is, to build national capacity and launch human energy directed towards the horizons of excellence, innovation and competition,” Sheikh Khalifa has said.
Wam also noted Sheikh Khalifa’s long commitment to those issues he said are important to the UAE – “to achieve social development, to improve quality of life and to realise the UAE’s developmental goals through a comprehensive national vision that aims to provide excellent educational standards, adequate housing and world-class healthcare services”.
The UAE can also be proud of its record of supporting volunteerism, entrepreneurship and the empowerment of Emirati women.
Last year, work continued on Absher, a programme designed to strengthen participation of the national cadre in the labour market.
The Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, aimed at helping local enterprises and providing financial services to support the development of Emirati entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises, will continue its efforts to develop services and introduce new and innovative initiatives.
Last year, the Fund launched Ziraai to support citizens in the agricultural sector by improving training and marketing services and giving loans of up to Dh1 million interest free for farmers.
“I have a word for all leaders,” Shiekh Khalifa has said. “Heed the voices of the people, take them into consideration while you are planning, setting goals and making decisions.
“In a world that has diverse systems of mass communications and platforms for social contacts, it is necessary for governments to seek effective tools of communication with the citizen everywhere.
“We assert that broadening popular participation is a firm national trend and an irrevocable option which we have chosen with our full will.”
The past year also showcases the generosity of the UAE’s leadership.
The UAE announced an assistance programme of US$10 million (Dh36.73m) to those affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and more than Dh1 billion for projects in Pakistan.
More than US$25 million has been provided in relief aid and humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees in Jordan.