The UAE's Year of the 50th, which marks the country's Golden Jubilee, is about celebrating its historic journey so far, all those who made it possible and the future generations who are getting ready to maintain progress during the next five decades.
Yesterday, the UAE's leadership unveiled Principles of the 50, a list of 10 principles for the country to follow during the next five decades. The "major priority", the document reads, is solidifying the union. The UAE is now one of the world's best-known economic, travel and cultural destinations, just 50 years after seven separate emirates united to become one country. This formula for development through unity will strengthen the other nine principles, which include building the world's most dynamic economy and staying close to founding values of openness and tolerance.
It will also inform the country's foreign policy. Other principles listed include fostering positive relations with neighbouring states, as well as a commitment to approaching political disagreements through constructive dialogue.
Senior officials and Cabinet ministers also announced the first round of 50 new projects to develop the country, all of which will be revealed throughout September.
Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, announced measures to help transform the industrial sector, which include the Emirates Development Bank allocating 5 billion dirhams ($1.36 bn) to supporting the country's industrial sector by encouraging the projects of UAE citizens in new and innovative sectors.
Another Dh5 bn will be allocated from the bank to transform the industrial sector towards the fourth industrial revolution over a period of five years. The aim is to add Dh25 bn dirhams to the country's GDP, and increase the level of industrial output by 30 per cent.
Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, announced the upcoming creation of "green visas", which will give recipients – professionals in certain key industries and sectors – more flexible residency terms. Those facing a cancelled visa would, on the new arrangement, have a grace period between 90 to 180 days, as opposed to the current 30, giving recipients more time to find a new sponsor or employer. And to help keep families together, parents would be able to sponsor children up to the age of 25, as opposed to today's age of 18.
Another project builds on a scheme announced last July to award 100,000 golden visas – long-term residency for professionals in certain key sectors – to computer programmers at home and abroad. Omar Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, added that the scheme will seek to incorporate Emirati talent and boost the number of female participants, all part of wider "upskilling". July's deal, signed with tech giants such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, aims to make the UAE a global programming centre for the Middle East, a part of the world with a young population full of potential in the sector, as well as demand for it.
September is going to be a busy month for the UAE. These 50 new projects are due as the country prepares to open Expo 2020 on October 1, a diplomatic and economic success, but also a physical sign that the country is leading the world in a safe reopening after the pandemic.
From business to education, governance to project management, effective goal-setting is an important part of achieving results. For anyone who wants an idea of what the UAE will stand for during the next 50 years, stay alert throughout September.