Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 24 January 2020

Ten years of continuous progress

Sheikh Mohammed’s vision and wisdom have taken the UAE and Dubai forward
 Mohammed bin Rashid inaugurates the terrace Burj Al Arab, the first man-made island of its kind in the world. Wam
Mohammed bin Rashid inaugurates the terrace Burj Al Arab, the first man-made island of its kind in the world. Wam

The UAE’s success story has been praised by many leaders and influencers around the world. Despite being located in a troubled region, the country has managed to maintain a peaceful society and make good progress across many sectors and key indicators – in particular, infrastructure, economic diversification, health and safety, education and women’s empowerment.

These achievements are particularly notable because the past 10 years have seen great upheaval in the world and in the region. These years have coincided with a decade of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid as Prime Minister.

As The National reported yesterday, Sheikh Mohammed reflected on the milestones achieved by the Government during his 10 years in office, urging efforts to continue and showing strong commitment to the nation’s short and long term strategies and goals.

The occasion is a proud moment. Within the last decade, the country has managed to pull through the economic crisis, decrease its dependence on oil revenues, double its GDP – from Dh663 billion to Dh1,360bn – and continue to develop.

In four years time, the UAE will host Expo 2020, the biggest event in the region’s history. This alone shows how far the country has travelled and how much potential it still has to grow and develop.

These are achievements to be proud of. Yet a country such as the UAE, and a city such as Dubai, has to constantly reinvent itself, future-proofing itself against changes in the outside world and in its own society. The city has made astonishing progress in just one decade, but the challenges of the next 10 years – and the next 50 – will be nothing like the past.

That is why it is so vital that, as Sheikh Mohammed noted, the country must build on what it already does well. The UAE is a world leader in areas such as the quality of public works, aviation facilities, and the rate of female enrolment in universities, to name but three. None of those are goals in themselves – rather they are just the beginning, the soil from which a much greater future is grown.

The Prime Minister has much to celebrate in the past ten years. But anyone who knows Sheikh Mohammed will know that looking back is not his style. A pause for reflection, perhaps, but the UAE is only just getting started.

Updated: October 16, 2016 04:00 AM