How UAE leaders are steering the country towards a bright and promising future
By: Ali Sajwani
The UAE just celebrated the entry of the Hope Probe into the Martian orbit, becoming the fifth country in the world to do so. The moment also marked the beginning of the Golden Jubilee celebration of our country, where UAE leaders marked the 50th anniversary of the nation, and also plotted the next 50 years of its future. This journey to Mars, within just a decade and a half since we started our space journey, is a great example of how the ambition and vision of the UAE’s founding fathers have made countless impossibilities possible over the past 50 years.
At a time when the world at large is struggling to address its biggest public health and economic crises in more than a century, the UAE economy is poised for faster growth and an overall transformation, according to the Institute International Finance (IIF), a Washington DC-based association of global banks and financial institutions.
With the country’s range of pandemic containment measures, accommodative monetary policy and a resilient banking system, the IIF has predicted three per cent growth for 2021, 3.4 per cent for 2023 and 3.5 per cent a year later.
Over the years, the UAE has made headways to diversify its oil-driven economy and recent reforms, a series of stimulus packages and initiatives have helped accelerate this. These policy decisions taken were focused on enhancing business opportunities for investors, providing a conducive environment for established businesses and attracting human capital.
Investing in human capital
The UAE’s goal has always been to transition to a knowledge-based economy, and the wise leadership of the country has always worked tirelessly to develop talent, promote innovation, research and instil an entrepreneurial mindset. Recently, major changes to the citizenship law were announced, that allows the naturalisation of foreign investors, doctors, scientists, artists and talented people and their families. These changes will go a long way in retaining the best and the brightest brains and boost the overall development of the nation.
Earlier last year, the UAE also launched the long-term residency permits to the top tier of investors, entrepreneurs, chief executives, scientists and outstanding students. The decisions mirror the country’s approach, aimed at preserving the diversity and tolerance of its society as a fundamental pillar and a top priority in its policy towards building a generation that has top-notch capabilities, including talents in science, economics, arts and culture.
Reforms that matter
The landmark UAE reform allowing foreign investors 100 per cent ownership of businesses also came into effect at the end of 2020. This levels the playing field for entrepreneurs and makes the country even more attractive, particularly when paired alongside other developments. We expect an increased influx of private investment in the country, especially from global investment funds and private equity houses. It will also bring additional working capital and expertise to local businesses and boost the economy.
In addition to these economic reforms, the government also recently announced a notable overhaul of social and civil laws, which further strengthens the principles of tolerance within the nation and are sure to increase resident and tourist numbers. As the UAE integrates itself with the global economy, increased reforms and better regulations will help attract more foreign investment — a force that has helped the economy record unprecedented growth for decades.
By removing existing barriers and opening the economy further, recent government initiatives to boost foreign investment have placed the country in a stronger position as it prepares for the next 50 years. These changes are reflected in the UAE’s position in leading rankings from around the world.
The country ranked first in the Arab World in the Human Development Report 2020 issued by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) while it kept its lead in the Middle East and Arab region in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business ranking 2020 and coming in 16th in the global ranking of 190 countries.
Becoming No. 1
The growing support network provided by the new initiatives, and the communities they foster, will continue to drive the UAE’s top position in multiple fields. Those with the drive and tenacity to grow a business from scratch are poised to benefit considerably, which will in turn strengthen the economy and entrepreneurs who can tap into these government-led initiatives, programmes, and resources will have many options available to them.