Jeddah (UNA-OIC) – Today, December 2, the United Arab Emirates celebrates its 50th National Day amid growing achievements in various fields.
Since its foundation on December 2, 1971, the UAE has progressed rapidly and broadly to become, within a few years, an international model in comprehensive sustainable development.
Despite the global challenges caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent economic repercussions that affected the largest economies in the world, the UAE continued its development projects and was able to overcome these challenges and open up again towards a return to normality, topping many international indicators in the distribution of vaccines, and resilience in facing the challenges of the pandemic.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, said in a message on the UAE’s 50th National Day, “On December 2, 2021, the United Arab Emirates will enter a new turning point in the process of its construction and renaissance.”
“The march of the next 50 years, which will be more challenging and more ambitious, will require creative thought, a different approach, double work, exceptional efforts and momentum in projects and initiatives,” he stressed.
Economically, the UAE, which has the second-largest economy in the Arab world, focused on developing economic diversification policies and enhancing its non-oil revenues, as the non-oil sectors contribute more than two-thirds of the gross domestic product (GDP).
The UAE has also invested its strategic location, connecting continents, in economic diversification efforts, as the country has one of the world’s most modern transport networks in terms of airports and seaports, where 2.4 percent of sea container traffic flows across the UAE.
The UAE has also encouraged foreign direct investment (FDI), with the signing of major trade and international treaties and nearly 134 agreements to protect and encourage investments with its business partners, providing them with an attractive and safe environment. This is in addition to the new amendment to the Commercial Companies Law (CCL) that allows 100 percent foreign ownership of UAE mainland companies.
The UAE has facilitated foreign investment by the establishment of successful Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs), through which the country has become a major investor in many countries around the world. The SWF proceeds are utilized in the country’s growth, with a large portion of it earmarked for projects in the fields of energy, industry, telecommunications, information technology, infrastructure, healthcare, and renewable energy.
The UAE’s hosting of the huge global event, “Expo 2020 Dubai”, stands out in this regard. The Expo activities kicked off in early October with the participation of more than 190 countries. More than 5 million visits have been recorded at the Expo 2020 so far, amid expectations that the event will be the largest in the region, where 25 million visitors are expected to visit the venue over six months.
The overall theme for Expo 2020 in Dubai is “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”, with sub-themes; Sustainability, Mobility and Opportunity, in order to shape the future of the world through a cultural and creative dialogue aimed at providing solutions, innovations and ideas that help achieve the aspirations of peoples and find more efficient mechanisms to activate joint work towards a better future for all.
On the political level, the UAE has been following the principle of promoting security, peace and sustainable development in various parts of the region and the world by creating understanding between peoples and cultures, and developing international cooperation.
UAE is a key international player in delivering humanitarian assistance, as the country ranked first in the world in the years 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017, as the largest donor of official development aid from gross national income. The country still maintains its rank among the world’s largest donor countries.
Over the course of a 50-year journey, the UAE has worked to activate its humanitarian role in reducing poverty on a global scale, and helping needy countries and societies, until it became a symbol of goodness and giving. UAE foreign aid has multiplied more than 187 times, with a total value of more than AED322 billion. The aid was distributed to development aid at 91 percent, humanitarian aid at 7 percent, and charitable aid at 2 percent. The geographical outreach of UAE aid has expanded to reach more than 196 countries and geographical regions around the world, 50 of which are least developed countries. The continents of Asia and Africa received the largest share of UAE foreign aid, and the total number of beneficiaries reached about one billion people, including 767 million women and children.
On the scientific level, the UAE was able during the last period to accomplish a number of important projects. Last July, the UAE launched “Probe of Hope” to Mars as the first mission of its kind in the Arab world. This has represented a new start in space research in the UAE in particular and the region as a whole.
Since last year, the UAE has started the operation of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant (Barakah NPP), which, after its full operation, is expected to provide about a quarter of the country’s electricity needs and reduce carbon emissions in the country by 21 million tons annually, which is equivalent to removing 3.2 million cars from the roads.
With the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the UAE was keen to contribute to the scientific effort to develop vaccines and antiviral drugs, as the Abu Dhabi Stem Cell Center (ADSCC) announced in May 2020 that it had obtained a patent for the treatment of COVID-19 patients with stem cells.
The UAE has also actively contributed to global efforts to contain the virus and reduce its repercussions on poor countries, through its humanitarian aid, and its role in supporting and promoting the fair and equitable distribution of vaccines, and their delivery to those in need.