At the Nation Fund’s board meeting held on May 31, 2016, the Board of Directors commended UAE leadership for their continued efforts to provide decent living conditions for UAE citizens, as well as their investment in human resources to enhance the UAE’s global status.
The Nation Fund thanked President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Members of Supreme Council, Their Highnesses Rules of Emirates.
The board specifically praised the UAE’s leadership for their dedication to advancing human and civilization development, laying the foundation for a strong national economy, and supporting national initiatives that support the Emirati community while bolstering the nation’s regional and international status. The Nation Fund also applauded the leadership for encouraging state institutions to clear the way for establishing initiatives and unlocking the Emirati’s potential to contribute to developmental progress and prosperity in the UAE.
The board meeting was held in Abu Dubai at Emirates Palace under the chairmanship of Lt. General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Chairman of the Nation Fund and Deputy Chairman of Police and Public Security in Dubai. Also present were board members Hussain Al Nowais, Mohammed Ali Al Abaar, Eisa Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Sultan bin Rashid Al Dhahiri, and Mohammed Juma Al Naboodah.
Many countries in the Middle East have been struggling for years, if not decades, to achieve a greater level of economic prosperity. Many have tied a majority of their economy to the fate of oil, which while always in demand, has seen many ups and downs. It is currently facing another down due to the recent increase in drilling throughout the U.S. thanks to the new technology of fracking which has created a crude oil glut.
When the demand in oil greatly decreases this makes the economy far more volatile and if the government continues trying to sell more oil at the reduced price they then face the issue of generating less revenue per barrel. Of course they could try to limit the amount of oil available and drive the price up, but this only works if other countries work with them. If other countries refuse to cooperate in this scheme then the first country loses a percentage of its market share.
This is why countries such as the UAE, and more recently Saudi Arabia, have made efforts to increase the economy’s diversification. In the UAE, Hussain al Nowais has helped create the Khalifa Fund which has been working for a long time now to help promote small & medium enterprises (SMEs) in Abu Dhabi. Now, the UAE government decided on Sunday of this past week that they were ready to increase the support of SMEs throughout the country with the creation of the National Programme for Small and Medium Enterprises. The cabinet endorsed it and the aim is to increase the success rate of SMEs to 50%. The current rate is 25-30%.
Yasin says “There are a lot of UAE graduates and the public sector is not able to absorb them. SMEs is an area where a lot of UAE nationals can do something useful to contribute to the economy than wait for public sector jobs.” Current data says there are approximately 300,000 SMEs in the UAE which represent 92% of companies and this makes up 86% of jobs in the country. Despite these very high statistics, SMEs non-oil economic output only accounts for 60% of the economy’s GDP. The country’s goal is to increase that to 70% by 2021.
This expansion of non-oil GDP will protect the UAE in the future from unexpected drops in demand of oil or price decreases which could cause oil revenue for the country to decrease or become less profitable. For countries such as Saudi Arabia they are finally realizing the value and importance of economic diversification and will hopefully have a smooth and effective transition.
The Middle East has unfortunately been the epicenter of large scale conflict for decades now, and it appears as though it will continue into the near foreseeable future. While some countries have fallen apart and are struggling with less than desirable conditions others have managed to hold things together. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has done an exceptional job in maintaining a stable country that is productive and forward thinking. Their economy has continued to grow and do well despite the turmoil happening in neighboring countries. A major contributor to this success is their smart investment in public programs and overall financial plans.
This has kept the UAE as the second largest economy in the Middle East, second to Saudi Arabia. A major reason behind its economic success is the diversification of its economy. The UAE recognized early on the fragility and instability brought upon a country by relying solely on oil and natural gas exports. The country currently has a rapidly expanding manufacturing and services sector and tourism is a growing boon for the country. One of the major obstacles some still see in the economy is the lack of participation from women, especially in high level careers.
This led a group of three friends to create a group in Abu Dhabi called the Qiyadiyat which means “female leaders” in Arabic. This group is the first leadership group for women in Abu Dhabi and the group’s aim is to help and inspire networking opportunities for Emirati working women. The three women are Laila Al Hassan – director of communications and PR at Abu Dhabi’s Environment Agency, Bodour Al Tamimi – co-founder of Besashing Beauty Lounge and portfolio manager of an investment house and Su-ad Yousif – an economic analyst. They met during their time in university and as their careers have developed their realization and understanding of the lack of women in high profile jobs has increased.
Now the three have held several conferences already discussing networking for women and how they can overcome the challenges they face in a male dominated workspace. Hussain Al Nowais spoke at one event and encouraged them to continue their efforts of showing society what they are capable of. He believes it is important for women to have a voice in the workplace and for their point of view to be introduced. Qiyadiyat is looking to become the go-to platform for UAE companies who want to find skilled Emirati women leaders.