UAE has a sense of urgency and it always 'goes all in', Davos hears

Three Emirati ministers talk about the country's illustrious track record and future by design

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Three Emirati decision-makers shared the recipe of 'designing' governments that are forward-thinking, during a special presentation at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Ohood Al Roumi, Minister of State for Government Development and the Future, said that countries need to start making a lasting impact for its citizens.

Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Future Technology, and Omar Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications, shared examples of how UAE was leading the way.

From the space programme to climate-smart technology, the Emirates has a track record of design-thinking in its governance.

“Today, we have the opportunity to unleash the power of humanity like never before,” said Ms Al Roumi.

“This is where governments come in. We believe that the best way to be ready for the future is to imagine it, design it and execute it.

“We see this as a core role for our government, a future designer.

“Governments need to be forward looking, invent new operating models, leverage technology and work with multi stakeholders to create positive and lasting impact.

“They must become platforms for future design. More importantly, the governments need to change the focus from dealing with short term issues to inclusive, multi-generational well-being. This is the spirit of the UAE. We are a future nation by design.”

The UAE was formed only 51 years ago, but it has many achievements under its belt.

The Emirati passport is one of the most powerful in the world, with more than 180 visa-free destinations for citizens.

Its space programme is leading the way in the Middle East, with an Emirati astronaut sent to space, the Hope spacecraft that reached Mars and a mission to the asteroid belt that will be launched in 2028.

Ms Al Amiri said that the UAE was successful because it managed to create a “sense of urgency without a crisis being present”.

“How do you harness the sense of urgency without a crisis? That's the recipe of the Emirates,” she said.

“I’ll go to the space sector first. The UAE was the utiliser of space technologies and we moved towards having our ‘moon shot’ programme to Mars.

The people of the UAE choose an industry, and they go all in
Omar Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications

“That was an extremely risky undertaking, the team did not sleep well for over seven years.

“What drove us was a real sense of urgency, knowing that science and technology are fundamental parts of growth for the future of our economy and our industrial sectors.

“And we continue to invest in the space sector so that we can spring the development of a private space sector.”

Mr Al Olama said that the UAE cannot afford to think small and that “pessimism does not inspire or motivate people”.

He said the UAE has a long history of being resilient and adaptive, which has helped ensure the country thrives.

“For many years, we've always been a nation of resilient, adaptive and agile individuals that make up the psych of the UAE," he said.

“Around 4,000 years ago, our part of the world was a place on the map. We were not an underdeveloped village outpost, it was a thriving commerce hub, between the Western civilisation at the time of Egypt, and the eastern civilisation at the time of India.

“And the UAE was where trade used to happen. For millennia, for centuries, we see that there's always a constant need to adapt, to reinvent ourselves, and to face all challenges and opportunities equally.

“We also see that with every single era, the people of the UAE choose an industry, and they go all in it.”

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Updated: January 18, 2023, 2:50 PM