By Dr Akhidenor Ernest
On the 2nd Of December 2021; a month before the UAE and Nigeria observe 40 years of blissful bilateral relations, the United Arab Emirates will mark its 50th national day, celebrating the accomplishments that have seen the country go from 7 separate emirates to a unified symbol of excellence and an epitome of innovation.
The union of the emirates was announced on December 2 1971 and the changes in the nation since that moment could not be more stark.
More than 200 nationalities now call the UAE home, thus, transforming the nation into a beacon of tolerance and inclusivity.
Since its formation, the UAE has witnessed tremendous development. Today, the UAE has transitioned into a diversely productive economy that is based on internationally-emerging knowledge and future energy.
Furthermore, the UAE’s population has transitioned to one of the highest income levels in the world.
The nation has seen pioneering developments that have garnered worldwide attention. Recent statistics confirm that the UAE has become a globally prominent financial and economic centre.
The UAE’s rapid economic development has significantly contributed to promoting the status of UAE citizens, in particular women. Equal opportunities exist in education and workplace choices and fair working conditions for UAE National men and women are now enshrined in law.
In the field of energy, the UAE has made strenuous efforts to diversify its energy sources through intensified and informed investments in future energy, including nuclear and renewable energy.
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The UAE has also witnessed tremendous growth in the education field during the past four decades. Today, all male and female UAE Nationals enjoy free public education at all levels, including an entitlement to free higher education at public universities and colleges.
The UAE established its first Space Agency in 2014, with an objective to launch a probe to Mars.
Today, a probe from the United Arab Emirates successfully reached Mars earning the country a spot in a small group of spacefaring powers that have sent spacecraft to study the fourth planet from the Sun.
The UAE hopes the mission will yield key discoveries on Martian weather patterns and catalyze a new science and technology sector as it looks to wean its economy from oil dependence.
What will the next 50 years hold for the UAE?
The UAE has rolled out 50 new economic initiatives to reassure its commitment to development. These initiatives are to boost the country’s competitiveness and attract 550 billion dirhams ($150 billion) in foreign direct investment in the next nine years as part of the broader Project themed “the Project of the 50”.
The projects, a few, which were unveiled earlier in the year, include investing in technology and creating two new visa categories – one for freelancers and the “green visa” for entrepreneurs and skilled workers – will be created to attract and retain foreigners with desirable skills.
The new “green visa” for skilled workers will have more flexibility for sponsoring family members and will allow more time to find a new job after one employment ends.
Among the projects, the UAE and the Emirates Development Bank will also invest 5 billion dirhams in industrial technology and technology-heavy sectors.
The 10 x 10 program aims to achieve a 10 percent annual increase in UAE exports to 10 global markets.
The creation of the Invest.ae, a portal that unites investment-related local entities and 14 economic entities, presenting investment opportunities throughout the UAE.
To boost the UAE’s position as the main gateway for global trade and investment, the government is undertaking comprehensive economic partnership agreements with eight key global markets around the world with a key focus on sub-Saharan Africa.
The year 2021 marks the 50th year of the formation of the United Arab Emirates and the nation has given enough reasons to its residents to celebrate yearlong with full enthusiasm, the spirit of unity, and fulfillment. Rejoice and rejuvenation have not taken a backseat despite the COVID-19 pandemic raging across the globe and in the country.
The UAE leadership has taken all necessary measures to safeguard the interests and health of its people.