Ramadan 2021: UAE's economic initiatives give us reasons to be grateful

The holy month provides us with an opportunity to reflect back on the great things that has happened since last Ramadan

A general view of an event to mark Hope Probe's entering the orbit of Mars, with Burj Khalifa in the background, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, February 9, 2021. REUTERS/Christopher Pike
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Ramadan – a time traditionally spent surrounded by family, friends, and loved ones time – is just days away. However, the social distancing measures necessitated by the pandemic would mean large community gatherings would not be possible during this holy month for a second year in a row.

But Ramadan’s spirit of reflection, patience, and gratitude continues to shine. Even as the pandemic weighs heavily on the global economy, the holy month provides us with an opportunity to reflect back on the great things that has happened since last Ramadan.

The UAE has unveiled several initiatives that give us a reason to be grateful and optimistic about the future of our businesses and economy.

This month, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, launched the Dubai Creative Economy strategy, which seeks to more than double the number of creative companies based in Dubai by 2025. The strategy also aims to more than double the number of creators in the emirate from 70,000 to 140,000.

This means more job creation, flexible packages as well as incentives and creative incubators to help the creative industry thrive in Dubai.

Another positive development was the launch of Industrial Strategy “Operation 300bn” last month. The strategy seeks to increase the contribution of the UAE’s industrial sector to its gross domestic product from Dh133 billion ($36.2bn) to Dh330bn by 2031. This strategy will promote existing industries and develop a new industrial ecosystem.

Sheikh Mohammed also launched a Unified Industrial Brand Identity, with the slogan of “Make it in the Emirates”. As we move towards a more sustainable economy, companies in the industrial sector will be promoted and supported through this strategy, which will also boost job creation.

Last week, the Emirates Development Bank announced that it will provide Dh30bn in financing over the next five years to support the UAE’s move to double the size of the industrial sector in the next decade. The fund will help in the creation of 13,500 new companies across different industrial sectors and generate 25,000 jobs.

In February, the UAE’s Hope Probe successfully entered the Martian orbit on its first attempt and instilled hope in many of us amid grim times. This historic moment for the UAE and the Arab World will not only inspire many youngsters to think of a career in space but also will help the UAE to create a private space sector, according to Sarah Al Amiri, chairwoman of the UAE Space Agency and Minister of State for Advanced Sciences. The UAE has already partnered with public and private sectors to advance this objective. In 2019, the UAE Space Agency teamed up with Al Ain Airport to utilise the airport’s facilities as a spaceport.

Traditionally, many of us travel during summer but we have focused on domestic tourism to support our local attractions amid the pandemic. We concluded our first ‘World’s Coolest Winter’ campaign in January, the first domestic tourism drive, which resulted in Dh1 billion revenue and boosted our local tourism.

From concluding our first world’s coolest winter campaign, entering Martian orbit, to the introduction of an industrial strategy, the UAE is giving us many reasons to be grateful for this Ramadan.

It hasn’t been an easy year, but we have so much to look forward to.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati journalist and entrepreneur, who manages her marketing and communications company in Abu Dhabi.