Dubai is already planning for the next 50 years

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid laid out his vision for the futuristic emirate to remain ahead of the curve

This handout picture provided by the UAE Ministry of Presidential Affairs on June 6, 2019 shows, Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum (2nd R), posing for a photograph with his sons, Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed (2nd L), Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed, (R), and Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed, on their wedding day in Dubai. (Photo by - / UAE Ministry of Presidential Affairs / AFP) / XGTY / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / UAE MINISTRY OF PRESIDENTIAL AFFAIRS - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
Powered by automated translation

As we enter a new decade, the UAE rulers are looking forward not just to the next ten years, but rather they are making plans and taking commitments for the next half century. Dubai has an exciting start to the decade with Expo 2020 kicking off in October, and is already planning for what comes after it. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai has outlined his vision for Dubai for 2020 and beyond in a signed letter that he published on Saturday. In it, he identifies 12 key principles that Dubai must focus on to push the limits of the emirate’s success story in the years to come and lead its transformation.

This includes holding high ranking officials to account on their performance, and pushing for better governance and efficient services. Sheikh Mohammed has announced the launch of the Dubai Council to achieve these aims in six sectors: the economy, services for citizens, governmental development, infrastructure, justice and security and health and knowledge.

The UAE is the most transparent country in the Middle East and among the least corrupt nations in the world

Sheikh Mohammed and his sons Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai and Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, will lead the Council. This distribution of power is an opportunity for the two young leaders to drive change in the emirate. It will allow for the voices and aspirations of young people in Dubai to be heard and new ideas to emerge while also benefiting from Sheikh Mohammed’s oversight and experience. In the words of Sheikh Mohammed, “what has benefited us in the last 20 years may not benefit us in the next 20 years. Time forces us to change tools, renew institutions and fight stagnation.”

Sheikh Mohammed’s letter comes at the start of a new year and to focus minds on the months and years to come. An important aspect of this directive is that accountability and transparency will be at the heart of government-driven initiatives in Dubai.

The heads of government department will be required to sign a pledge to improve the services they provide. In two years’ time, those who have failed to live up to their promises will be let go. High-ranking officials will have to prove their commitment through actions and tangible results, leaving no room for complacency.

According to the NGO Transparency International, the UAE is the most transparent country in the Middle East. It is also among the least corrupt nations in the world, competing with the likes of France and the US.

This is not the first time Sheikh Mohammed has sought to reward hard work and reprimand negligence in an effort to promote meritocracy in the UAE. In September, the Ruler of Dubai announced the nation’s top and bottom five government service centres, on the back of a directive he had issued in July. The very best teams received a two-month salary bonus while the managers of poorly performing teams were sacked.

Initiatives that promote merit and new ideas are vital for a nation to thrive and should be encouraged throughout the region.