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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 14 November 2018

Residents list hopes for development after launch of Abu Dhabi Plan

Better sporting facilities, improved quality of schools and better job opportunities are among the improvements residents would like to see realised in the Abu Dhabi Plan.
Student Ashrique Irfan, a 17-year-old Indian. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National
Student Ashrique Irfan, a 17-year-old Indian. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National

ABU DHABI // Better childcare, sport and entertainment facilities, improved quality of schools and more job opportunities are among the improvements Abu Dhabi residents would like to see.

With the dedication yesterday of the Abu Dhabi Plan, which sets out goals to ensure a safe and secure society and to build a diversified economy, residents spoke about what improvements they would like to see in the emirate’s future.

An exhibition detailing the plan which opened to the public at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre on Wednesday.

Sultan Al Obeidli, an Abu Dhabi resident working with Adnoc, said: “I think first of all we need to concentrate on infrastructure in terms of roads, bridges and electrical and water systems.

“There are some improvements to be made there. Then, of course, we need more entertainment facilities.”

Mr Al Obeidli pointed to The Beach – a beachfront outdoor shopping and entertainment complex located on Jumeirah Beach Residence in Dubai – as a good example of what Abu Dhabi needed.

“We need something like this at Al Raha beach for example, which lacks such facilities,” said the Emirati. “We need to move out of [Abu Dhabi] Island, where everything is concentrated.

“We need to spread out. At the moment we are concentrating on building vertical rather than horizontal.”

Emirati Khawla Saleh said that while the UAE has come a long way in a short time, there are still measures that could be implemented.

“The first thing I would like to see is more robust child safety laws,” said the child health and safety adviser in Abu Dhabi. “I commend the UAE for what is happening already, but what is needed is a child safety law mandating children under the age of 10 to wear car seat restraints.

“I would also like to see more regulation of caregivers that look after our children to ensure we are empowering mothers and fathers with the knowledge that they are leaving their children in safe hands.”

She would like to see more empowerment for working mothers as well.

“The UAE is kind and generous assisting mothers in the workplace, especially in [comparison] with more developed nations,” said Ms Saleh.

“However, there is room for more. I am hopeful these improvements will happen – we are a young country and these developments will come.”

Dorcas Alieno, a 29-year-old Kenyan, would like to see more job opportunities for all nationalities.

“I [would] like to see more schools and services, too,” said the Abu Dhabi resident, a customer service relations executive for Toyota.

Maria Ana, a Filipina, works as a housemaid in Abu Dhabi and has been living in the emirate for a year and a half. She would like to see more job opportunities and better pay.

“I am also not convinced all the schools are good quality,” she said. “In general in Abu Dhabi, the facilities are OK and the community is good, but I would like to see better salaries.”

Abu Dhabi student Ashrique Irfan wanted to see more sports facilities in the emirate and in schools. The 17-year-old Indian, who attends school in Mussaffah, said he enjoyed athletics and would like to see the same opportunities for expatriates as well as UAE nationals.

“In Abu Dhabi right now there is not much sports-related activity,” he said. “Most of what is available is only for the citizens and the UAE nationals only – not for the expats.”

Mary Flou, a Filipina living in Abu Dhabi, agreed, saying most aspects about life in the emirate were positive. However, the 44-year-old, who works for a cleaning company, would like better health insurance cover.

Some policies had been downgraded and her insurance covers Dh1,500 of her healthcare expenses per year, she said.

“But because of my maintenance for my high blood pressure and my diabetes, I need more,” she said.

Aline Nata from Lebanon, who lives in Abu Dhabi with her family, believed there could be more investment in sprucing up community areas.

“In some places, the municipality doesn’t work as it should work,” she said. “Some areas – such as the Tourist Club area – there has been no improvement. It needs to be cleaner.

“Otherwise, I can’t complain.”

Arwa, a Jordanian, said she believed that with the money already invested in Abu Dhabi, nothing further was needed: “To me, Abu Dhabi is complete.”

Manu Jose, an Indian, agreed.

“It is good here,” said the civil engineer, living in Abu Dhabi. “I don’t think anything else is needed.”

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Read more:

Abu Dhabi to unveil five-year blueprint that shapes emirate’s future

Abu Dhabi Plan seeks to keep emirate on track for oil-free future

Abu Dhabi Plan: A timeline

› National Editorial: Plan still carries Sheikh Zayed’s vision

Abu Dhabi’s achievements in 2015 - graphic

jbell@thenational.ae