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Sheikh Mohammed: UAE gearing up for post-oil economy

Sheikh Mohammed: UAE gearing up for post-oil economy

UAE PM, VP also explains the need for ministers of happiness and tolerance

 

The United Arab Emirates is preparing for a future in a post-oil economy, the country’s Vice President and Prime Minister and Dubai’s ruler His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has asserted.

In an extensive article written in local dailies, Sheikh Mohammed stressed that country was investing in new measures to help make the transition away from oil.

“With every lesson we learn comes a decision that will shape our future. But we also know that we can learn by looking to the future, not just the past or present,” he wrote.

“Simply put, we must think of what life will be like in a post-oil economy. That is why we have invested heavily – more than Dhs 300bn ($81.5bn) – in establishing a focus for the UAE’s path ahead, with the aim of preparing for a diverse economy that frees future generations from dependence on the ever-fluctuating oil market.”

He added: “Achieving that goal requires reconsidering our legislative, administrative, and economic system fully to move away from dependence on oil.

“We need a strong and appropriate regulatory infrastructure to build a sustainable and diverse national economy for our children and their children.”

Sheikh Mohammed added that the new appointments in the government – including the creation of the ministries of happiness, tolerance, future and youth – were critical to the country’s future.

Read: The UAE’s new cabinet ministers

“The changes reflect what we have learned from events in our region over the past five years,” he said.

“In particular, we have learned that failure to respond effectively to the aspirations of young people, who represent more than half of the population in Arab countries, is like swimming against the tide. Without the energy and optimism of youth, societies cannot develop and grow; indeed, such societies are doomed.

“When governments spurn their youth and block their path to a better life, they slam the door in the face of the entire society. We do not forget that the genesis of the tension in our region, the events dubbed the “Arab Spring,” was squarely rooted in the lack of opportunities for young people to achieve their dreams and ambitions,” he wrote.

Addressing the issue of tolerance, Sheikh Mohammed wrote that when the Arab world was tolerant and accepting of others, it led the world.

“We have also learned from hundreds of thousands of dead and millions of refugees in our region that sectarian, ideological, cultural and religious bigotry only fuel the fires of rage. We cannot and will not allow this in our country. We need to study, teach, and practice tolerance and to instill it in our children, both through education and our own example.”

He said that a legal framework was required to formalise tolerance and that the UAE’s policies and initiatives would provide an example for its neighbours.

“Tolerance is no catchphrase, but a quality we must cherish and practice. It must be woven into the fabric of our society to safeguard our future and maintain the progress we have made.

“There can be no bright future for the Middle East without an intellectual reconstruction that re-establishes the values of ideological openness, diversity, and acceptance of others’ viewpoints, whether intellectual, cultural, or religious,” he added.

Meanwhile focusing on happiness is both “feasible and fully justified,” he wrote.

“Happiness can be measured, and its evaluation is already the subject of many programmes and studies.

“The happiness of individuals, families, and employees, their satisfaction with their lives and optimism for the future, are crucial to our work, which cuts across every sector of government. That is why there must be a minister to guide and follow up with all government institutions,” he explained.

“Ours is no empty promise. We will seek to create a society where our people’s happiness is paramount, by sustaining an environment in which they can truly flourish. And we hope our formula benefits others in the region,” Sheikh Mohammed added.

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