x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

UAE’s national vision is clear and achievable

The objectives outlined by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid are realistic and important.

The UAE has never lacked vision, nor has it been content to rest on its laurels. The achievements of the past 42 years, where a nation has risen from the desert, speak for themselves. But, as Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice President and Prime Minister, has outlined this week, there is much more work still to be done. In a wide-ranging statement on Tuesday, he enunciated a bold agenda that extends the UAE Vision 2021 project and pinpoints specific priorities.

Speaking of the nation’s “great journey” over the next seven years in the lead-up to its 50th anniversary, Sheikh Mohammed identified targets in housing, education, Emiratisation, the economy, infrastructure and government services. He has pledged a doubling of efforts to ensure the UAE meets its objectives.

On housing, the aim is rightly focused on supporting families, a concern everywhere but especially so in Emirati culture. Sheikh Mohammed said that UAE nationals who apply for homes should not have to wait more than two years. This will give young couples the incentive and the confidence to start a family and nurture the next generation.

On Emiratisation, the aim is to double the targets for placing more UAE nationals in private-sector jobs. Sheikh Mohammed thanked businesses for their cooperation with the programme so far but said they were not doing enough, and the government would “impose new measures to increase the Emiratisation numbers”.

The success of the Emiratisation project is vital for the future of the nation, and it involves a multifaceted approach including vocational-training programmes, negotiating differences in workplace culture and expectations, and compromises being made on both sides. Given the size of the Emirati population, it also requires the recognition that percentage targets, while achievable overall, may not be achievable in individual businesses.

The vision for “smart” government, involving the delivery of services on mobile phones, is also an example how the UAE is leading the way by making everyday transactions easier and more efficient.

It’s certainly a long journey, but the determination is there, and as the UAE has shown repeatedly, it has an ability to turn visions into reality.