Dubai Strategic Plan

On February 3, 2007, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai presented Dubai Strategic Plan 2015.

Ladies and gentlemen,
I have invited you today to talk about the future. Through the launch of the Dubai Strategic Plan, which will cover the next ten years, we will advance towards achieving our goals, and towards ensuring a prosperous future for our homeland and our nation.

First of all, I would like to point out that the Dubai Strategic Plan, despite having its own logic and specific goals, is within the national arena of the United Arab Emirates, and is aligned with the country’s overall strategic plan, which is about to be completed by the Council of Ministers under the direction of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates.

The plan which we present to you today encompasses many new attributes compared to earlier plans, with a foundation firmly built on quantitative achievements which form a solid ground for sustained growth in the era of knowledge.

The plan is also free of the direct influence of oil price fluctuations. We have succeeded in diversifying Dubai’s sources of income and reduced dependence on oil such that oil’s contribution to GDP is a mere 3% today.

Naturally, the objectives of the plan converge with my vision for Dubai , which is aimed at elevating the wellbeing of this nation and its people, and at bolstering Dubai’s position as a globally leading Arab city.

We have come a long way towards achieving the objectives of this vision. Indeed we have exceeded all expectations and predictions. When I announced my Vision for Dubai in the year 2000, I spoke of economic aims for the year 2010. In fact, not only have these aims been realised, but they have been exceeded in half the time…

In 2000, the plan was to increase GDP to $30 billion by 2010. This figure was exceeded in 2005, with GDP reaching $37 billion. The plan also included an increase of income per capita to $23,000 by the year 2010. In 2005 the average income per capita reached $31,000. In other words, in five years we exceeded the economic targets that were originally planned for a 10-year period.

These achievements would not have been possible were it not for our persistence in challenging ourselves and in building and channelling our capabilities in the right direction in order to serve our initiatives, projects and programs in all aspects of comprehensive development.

How were these exceptional results achieved?

The truth is that these exceptional results were made possible mainly by the leadership and initiative of the Government, which has appreciated the importance of investment to the Emirate and has strived to improve the Emirate’s investment and business environment.

There is no need to detail Government’s initiatives. You have all experienced them firsthand in many areas including the development and modernisation of public services, institutional frameworks, legislation, regulation, and infrastructure; or through the launch of strategic projects such as tourism ventures, Internet and Media Cities, the Dubai International Financial Centre, specialised zones, and other mega projects.

These initiatives are the driving force behind development and the main factor in attracting investors. These initiatives also encouraged the private sector, enhanced its confidence and gave it substantial opportunities. It quickly followed the Government’s lead and became a true partner in development.

Over the last few years another very important achievement came to light: Economic restructuring. The non-oil sectors played a more prominent role in 2005, contributing 97% to GDP as compared to 90% in 2000 and approximately 46% in 1975. The services sector was the driving force behind economic growth, with a GDP contribution of 74%, mirroring economies of the developed world.

Our success in diversifying sources of income has compensated for low oil reserves. Our economic development is now supported by an infrastructure that is not directly affected by oil.

This is a historic achievement, one which can benefit neighbouring and friendly oil-producing countries in their efforts to restructure their economies and diversify their sources of income.

We were in a race against time and we won. But, as I have always said, the race has only just begun. With these achievements come new hurdles, responsibilities, and challenges… The Dubai Strategic Plan systematically addresses these until the year 2015.

The plan covers five key sectors: Economic Development; Social Development; Infrastructure, Land and Environment; Security, Justice and Safety; and Public Service Excellence. At this point I would like to present an overview of the headlines outlining the aims for each sector within the plan.

Based on the exceptional economic performance of the past years and on expected future global trends, the economic objectives for Dubai for the year 2015 are to sustain real economic growth at a rate of 11% per annum, to reach a GDP of $108 billion in 2015, and to increase real GDP per capita to $44,000.

We will focus on economic sectors that we have strong competitive advantage in and that are expected to experience future growth globally. The sectors of strength are tourism, transport, trade, construction, and financial services, in addition to the creation of new sectors with sustainable competitive edge.

However, success in strategic development cannot be defined solely by major achievements in these economic sectors; other growth enablers must also realise similar achievements: human capital, productivity, innovation, cost of doing business and living, quality of life, policy and institutional frameworks, and laws and regulations.

These factors have demanded great attention in the past, and will demand more attention in the future. The public and private sectors need to take measures to consolidate and deepen these factors.

Ladies and gentlemen,
We must all realise that strategic success requires social development to complement and parallel economic development. Indeed experience confirms that having an effective social infrastructure is the key to reaching higher levels of sustained economic growth. Social development has always been at the heart of government policies; it is also prevalent in this strategic plan. This plan is aimed at elevating nationals’ wellbeing, and we want nationals to be the key instrument in its implementation. To lay the foundations necessary for social development, the plan places a set of programs to achieve strategic objectives in seven key areas:

Preserve national identity: This will be achieved by revising policies and procedures to ensure demographic balance; increasing the sense of belonging and the awareness of local culture by updating educational curriculum and developing the abilities of national teaching resources; ensuring comprehensive cultural content through relevant activities and channels including media, arts and literature; and increasing focus on the Arabic language as it encompasses national history and culture.

Increase nationals’ participation in the workforce and society: This will be achieved by developing national capital to become the preferred workforce in selected strategic sectors; providing nationals with the abilities necessary to cope with the rapid changes in society and increase their awareness of the role expected of them in the development of Dubai and its society.

Improve education, especially public schools, and ensure that all nationals have access to quality education opportunities: This will be achieved by improving governance in the educational sector; increasing accountability and transparency of schools; improving the quality of teachers and administration; upgrading curricula and teaching methods; improving the educational environment to improve the public’s perception and attitudes towards education; and integrating people with special needs into public and private schools.

Elevate the quality of healthcare services and the wellbeing of the population: This will be achieved by improving governance of the healthcare sector; improving healthcare planning; ensuring access to health insurance; encouraging private hospitals to gain international accreditation; developing licensing standards for medical staff; and focusing on health awareness to improve public attitudes towards health.

Ensure that high quality social services are provided to meet the needs of nationals: This will be achieved by improving governance and efficiency of the social service sector; transforming service philosophy from a ‘welfare’ approach to a ‘social development’ approach; improving the quality and capabilities of social workers; and increasing awareness of social services and encourage community involvement.

Provide equality and acceptable working conditions for Dubai’s workforce in order to attract and retain the required expertise: This will be achieved by coordinating with federal entities to improve and update labour laws and labour rights; establishing appropriate mechanisms for the enforcement of legislations and regulations; and raising employers’ and employees’ awareness of their legal rights and responsibilities.

Promote cultural life in Dubai by upgrading the regulatory framework of the cultural sector; increasing awareness and interest in Dubai’s cultural activities; encouraging and nurturing national talent; developing high-quality facilities, including theatres, movie houses and museums, to attract international art and culture events; encouraging effective participation in regional and international cultural events; and encouraging and supporting the initiatives of the private sector that aim at enhancing the cultural and artistic momentum.

In this concern, I would like to laud the distinguished initiatives of the outstanding entrepreneurs Mr. Juma Al Majid, Mr. Majid Al Futtaim and the late Sultan Al Owais for their efforts in supporting the cultural movement in the Emirate.

It is common knowledge that it is far easier to build financial capital than it is to build intellectual, psychological and moral capital. Building a road or a bridge may take a year or two, but developing people takes a lifetime. We live today in an era of ever-changing knowledge, which requires continuous learning that does not end at a certain level or at the attainment of a diploma or certain expertise. Social development, in all its aspects, requires distinct programs, outstanding performance, patience and special criteria for measurement and evaluation.

The Government will remain dedicated to social development, but the desired success will require broad participation by society and its creative interaction with the anticipated social development programs and projects.