We The UAE 2031: Dubai ruler launches national plan outlining vision for next decade

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The UAE has launched a national plan titled ‘We The UAE 2031’ outlining the country’s path for the next ten years, focusing on economy, society, ecosystem and diplomacy.

The announcement was made by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum at an annual senior-level government event in Abu Dhabi, the Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported on Tuesday.

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“The plan seeks to enhance the position of the UAE as a global partner and an attractive and influential economic hub,” WAM reported.

“The UAE will maintain its position as an economic destination… economic prosperity, social well-being and development of human capital will be the main pillars of the next 50,” Sheikh Mohammed, who is also the Prime Minister of the UAE was quoted as saying by WAM.

Sheikh Mohammed also affirmed that “the ‘next fifty’ will focus on strengthening the UAE’s economic partnerships with the world and consolidating its development model.”

Dubai ruler and Prime Minister of the UAE Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum signing the 'We The UAE 2031' plaque at the annual UAE government forum. (WAM)
Dubai ruler and Prime Minister of the UAE Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum signing the 'We The UAE 2031' plaque at the annual UAE government forum. (WAM)

The latest plan ties in with the UAE Centennial 2071 launched by the UAE Cabinet in 2017 to further the country’s education, economy, government development, and community cohesion, and “instilling an Emirati moral values system in future generations,” according to the UAE government.

“It sets a clear map for long-term government work. Future generations will need foundations and pre-set tools that we introduce today, there needs to be an environment for growth, and this is something that we should think about from now,” the Dubai ruler said in a social media post at the time.

The launch of ‘We The UAE 2031’ was attended by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai; Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, and Minister of Finance of the UAE; Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Crown Prince of Ajman, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of Fujairah; Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Crown Prince of Ras Al Khaimah; and Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharja, among other government officials.

UAE government officials at the annual government summit.  (WAM)
UAE government officials at the annual government summit. (WAM)

According to the WAM report, the four pillars of the plan are as follows:

Forward Society

This pillar will focus on bettering the prosperity of UAE citizens through advancements in education, family unity, health care and human development with the outlook of maximizing local contribution across key sectors.

“Through this pillar, the UAE national plan aims to place the UAE among the top 10 countries in the Human Development Index and place its cities among the world’s 10 Best Cities,” WAM reported.

The plan is expected to attract the best talent in the field of medicine while enhancing the UAE’s position as a leading medical treatment provider in the region.

Forward Economy

Developing policies to increase non-oil exports and utilizing alternate sources of energy along with the development of human capital forms most of the goals sought to be achieved as part of this pillar.

This pillar reportedly reflects “the UAE's belief in the importance of human capital as the main driver of the next 10-year development plan.”

It aims to raise the country’s GDP to $ 816 billion (AED3 trillion) and increase the country’s non-oil exports to $217 billion (AED800 billion). It also seeks to raise the value of foreign trade to $1.08 trillion (AED4 trillion) and raise the contribution of the tourism sector to the GDP to $120 billion (AED450 billion).

Forward Diplomacy

This pillar aims to raise the UAE’s presence in the international arena and strengthen cooperative endeavors with allied nations through “peace and joint cooperation at the regional and global levels.”

“The plan attaches great importance to strengthening the UAE’s role as a supportive force for the global environmental agenda, thus contributing to achieving qualitative leaps in climate neutrality and consolidating the country’s position as an innovation hub in sustainability, science and technology,” WAM reported.

Forward Ecosystem

The fourth and final pillar focuses on efficient government services, food security, and digital security and growth including infrastructure development for tech.

A flexible business model with “proactive legislation for new economic sectors,” will be in focus, WAM reported.

Other discussions between senior government officials under the banner of the annual meeting saw focus on SMEs, detailed discussions on food security, and the importance of COP28 as the host country.

UAE SMEs in intl. markets

Senior government officials discuss the importance of SMEs in the UAE. (WAM)
Senior government officials discuss the importance of SMEs in the UAE. (WAM)

“The UAE government is seeking to open new channels for entrepreneurs and support the growth and expansion of their businesses in global markets,” Abdullah bin Touq al-Marri, the Minister of Economy was quoted as saying by WAM.

The country is reportedly a developing a national entrepreneurship system to increase Emirati participation, consequently advancing the UAE’s economic growth.

Participants, including Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, reportedly discussed the challenges facing SMEs, and future opportunities to facilitate financing, and raise productivity – to guarantee access to regional and global markets.

SMEs represent 94 percent of all companies and institutions in the country and contribute more than 52 percent to the country’s non-oil GDP, WAM reported.

Food security

Senior government officials discuss food security in the UAE. (WAM)
Senior government officials discuss food security in the UAE. (WAM)

The UAE government’s strategy is reportedly to improve the income of local farms and secure 50 percent of government food-related purchases from local farms by 2023.

They intend to do so by boosting local farms' production capacities and encouraging investment in food sectors to 100 percent by 2030, Mariam Almheiri, the Minister of Climate Change and the Environment was quoted as saying by WAM.

‘’The UAE has launched a set of initiatives and programs to make a radical transformation in methods to increase food security competitiveness and encourage local farms to adopt sustainable, competitive production,'' WAM reported, without providing further details.

COP28

Calling COP28 the “most important event hosted by the nation,” Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed addressed the annual government meeting that also reviewed UAE’s role in fighting climate change.

COP28 will be hosted in the UAE in 2023 at Expo City Dubai coinciding with the UAE National Day. It will welcome over 140 heads of state and government leaders and 80,000 delegates.

“The late Sheikh Zayed laid the foundations of environmental sustainability and climate action that we have built on in the past decades. Today, we have a proven track record of reducing emissions, accelerating the growth of renewable energy and enabling the energy transition,” Dr Sultan al-Jaber, the UAE’s Special Envoy for Climate Change was quoted as saying by WAM.

The country’s “strong diplomatic relations with global nations and pragmatic position on climate action, underpinned by proven experience in the energy and sustainability sectors led to the nation securing the international consensus in 2021 to host COP28 in 2023.

“The UAE will focus on finding practical solutions that ensure energy security while reducing emission, adding that the responsibility of leading the negotiations includes a commitment to being a neutral and independent interlocutor to all nations,” he added.

The UAE has invested more than $50 billion in clean energy projects in 70 countries, and recently announced a partnership with the US to accelerate the transition to clean energy, titled PACE. The project will see $100 billion in financing, investment, and other support and will deploy 100 gigawatts of clean energy globally.

The UAE is committed to advancing climate action based on the outcomes of the past summits, including COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, which made significant progress in many areas, including the landmark agreement to establish a ‘Loss and Damage Fund,’ the launch of the Just Energy Transition in the Energy Sector work program and many others,” al-Jaber was quoted as saying by WAM.

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