Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 April 2019

Look back with pride, and forward with excitement

The coming year promises to be a happy one for the UAE and all who call this country home

Fireworks on New Year’s Eve in Abu Dhabi last year. Victor Besa for The National
Fireworks on New Year’s Eve in Abu Dhabi last year. Victor Besa for The National

The sounds and colours of the spectacular firework displays are already fading in the memory. But even as we greet the first day of the new year we are not quite done with the old. Today is a time for quiet reflection, a chance to pause and consider the achievements of the past 12 months even as we prepare to embrace the opportunities that lie ahead.

As the Year of Zayed, 2018 was a great tribute to the legacy of the man whose wisdom shaped the multicultural beacon of peaceful coexistence that is the UAE today. On this first day of January, the flame initially lit by Sheikh Zayed will illuminate 2019 as the Year of Tolerance, in the spirit of which the Pope will make his historic to the UAE.

Throughout 2018, the UAE continued to grow in stature on the world stage. A state visit by the Chinese president highlighted the nation’s growing portfolio of global partnerships, while the launch of the first satellite designed and built by Emiratis demonstrated that its ambitions are not constrained by gravity. One hundred years from now, New Year’s Eve could well be celebrated in a UAE colony on Mars.

More down to earth, but vital for the prosperity of the UAE in a post-oil global economy, 2018 saw the evolution of the regulatory and economic landcape continue apace, from the launch of Abu Dhabi’s Dh50 billion stimulus package to new retirement visa regulations designed to encourage residents to settle in a country many already think of as home.

By any standards, 2018 has been quite a year for the UAE, which is nevertheless resolved to make 2019 even more memorable. For each of us, this is also a time for personal resolutions. So join that gym, study for that degree, learn that new language – or simply promise yourself that in 2019 you will make the most of what this remarkable country has to offer. And, from all of us at The National, have a very happy and prosperous new year.

Updated: December 31, 2018 05:53 PM