Human development: Real wealth of UAE, before and after oil

WAM ABU DHABI, June 25th, 2013: The UAE has, since its birth in 1971, drawn up an ambitious vision to build capacity of its human capital to address development challenges. As the country’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan, noted :”The individual human forms the basis for any process of civilization and the pivot of real progress.” His successor President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has pursued this far-sighted vision in which the country’s real wealth is its citizens.

The President has said: “Human capital is the real wealth of this country, before and after oil. Serving the interests of citizens is the goal that we strive for every day. Building the human resources is central to comprehensive social and economic development…” Their Highnesses the Rulers of the Emirates also consider investment in human beings as the key to achieving comprehensive development. The expected gain from this investment will be visible in the future in different sectors.

It is on this premise that the leadership has focused its efforts on improving the lives of citizens in every aspect. It has successfully raised their standard of living to the highest levels and the country’s path to development has become a development model for all developing countries.

This prudent vision of the UAE’s political leadership believes that human resource is the most precious and most important asset, and that the country cannot make progress without an active and positive participation by Emiratis in the development process.

The UAE leads the Arab World and ranks thirtieth among 187 countries, according to the index of Human Development World Report 2011 released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). In 2010, the UAE was in 32nd place in the Human Development Index.

Amatul Aleem Sowsawa, UN Assistant Secretary General for UNDP in the Arab region, said at a ceremony held in Abu Dhabi to launch the 2011 report that: ” It is an opportunity to highlight the challenges and opportunities facing human development in the Arab region and to highlight the UAE admirable march of human development in the recent years.” ”Although the UAE has achieved the highest per capita income in the world, it has also achieved unprecedented leaps in human development particularly healthcare and education, by virtue of its successful strategies and vision of investing its income in these two fields,” she said.

Key investments having an impact on human development, she noted, had been in sectors like healthcare and pharmaceuticals as well as in other sectors like aviation, transport, trade, tourism, media, telecommunication as well as culture and education.

Speaking at the same ceremony, In his speech at the launch ceremony, Sultan Saeed Al Mansouri, the Minister of Economy, said that government had used the revenues from oil production to promote human development, including through the important area of education, and to build the state’s infrastructure. He also emphasised that Emirati women had become an essential partner in the community development process.

UAE : First in the world in government efficiency: In a major international boost and recognition of its governing system, the UAE has been ranked number one (1st) globally in Government Efficiency, achieving the largest jump in the global competitiveness ranking in this year’s Global Competitiveness Yearbook 2013, issued by the International Institute of Management Development in Switzerland. The UAE is ranked eighth (8th) most competitive nation in the world.

In a comment on this, President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan said that, thanks to its prudent visions, wise policies, distinguished government and citizens’ efforts, the UAE is now reaping the fruits of empowerment as can be seen in the international appreciation and recognition of its political, economic and administrative efficiency and welfare, security, reassurance and optimism of its people.

“As a result, our country is the first in the world in government efficiency, first in the world in social cohesion, first in the world in values and attitudes, fifth in employment and sixth in business practices, not to mention its advanced position in 19 other indices, rendering the UAE among the world’s top ten in global competitiveness.” “Ranking first in government efficiency is a testimony to the ability and efforts of the Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to spark the national energies, develop government work and upgrade government performance.” For his part, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid stated: “Led by the President, the UAE people work together as one team; from Al Sila’a to Fujairah, The President cares about every single citizen and he is building a bright future for our entire nation.” He continued: “the continuous collaboration of federal and local government bodies has led to the UAE achieving, in one year, the highest leap in the rankings and to its becoming the eighth (8th) most competitive nation in the world and number one (1st) globally in Government efficiency.” “This accomplishment is the fruits of labour of thousands of teams, in both federal and local government departments across the entire UAE, and constitutes a very clear message to the world that the UAE people will settle with nothing less than being number one,” he added.

This accomplishment must now be followed by even further effort and hard work from everyone, he said, giving directions for the unifying of all efforts to achieve the objectives of the country’s Vision 2021, when the UAE aims to be among the top nations in the world in all fields and aspects. Sheikh Mohammed added that he is optimistic that the people of the UAE will reach the Vision 2021 target before its due date.

UAE leads Arab World in World Happiness Report: The UAE ranked 17th worldwide and topped the list of Arab countries in the UN World Happiness Report, released in April 2012.

Commenting on the result of the UN’s first-ever world happiness and satisfaction survey, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said: ”This achievement could have not been made without the loyalty, dedication and teamwork spirit shown by the people of the UAE and without the excellent cooperation and coordination across the federal and local governments. The development plans we approved, the initiatives we launched and the policies and laws enforced have all but one goal; to bring happiness to the citizens, their families and their children. What we have achieved so far is just an initial milestone that will be followed by harder work and more accomplishments so we can become the world’s best,” he added.

Sheikh Mohammed added: “We are pressing ahead with our plans to invest in our resources to achieve comfort and happiness to all. We have glorious past and a happy present and we will have, by the grace of Allah, a bright future. I call on all citizens of the UAE to be optimistic, to work hard, to live happily, to always seek the blessings of Allah the Almighty in everything they do and to provide happiness to their families and children.” Another survey also found that 91 per cent of UAE citizens believe they enjoy a better quality of life than most of their counterparts in Europe.

“The UAE’s 91 per cent satisfaction rating also exceeds the All Europe Index at 75 per cent as well as those of other leading European nations such as Germany at 88 per cent, Belgium and Britain both scoring 87 per cent, France at 76 per cent, Spain at 73 per cent and Italy at 64 per cent among others,” according to Steve Hamilton-Clark, CEO of TNS MENA, a custom market research organisation.

“The UAE satisfaction rating among nationals is on par with indices for Scandinavian countries, considered the �gold standard’ in such surveys,” he said.

The UAE also took the lead in the Arab World and ranked 19th globally in the the Social Progress Index (SPI), issued by the Skoll World Forum, the premier international platform for accelerating entrepreneurial approaches and innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing social issues. The Social Progress Index is based entirely on social and environmental measures covering basic human needs, foundations of well-being and opportunity.

– ABSHER INITIATIVE In a strategic qualitative step towards Emiratisation, the UAE has launched the Absher initiative, a human resources development vision conceived by the President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to promote and enhance the participation of national manpower in the labour market.

The programme aims to establish an overall strategic framework to employ UAE citizens under one clear and comprehensive vision in accordance with UAE Vision 2021, which will enhance the skills and participation of citizens in the labour market. By creating more job opportunities for UAE citizens, it will boost the competitive advantage of the national economy, while simultaneously leveraging the socio-economic and professional standards of Emiratis and diversifying their career options.

H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, who rolled out the programme last November, said:’ ‘The initiative is built on four strategic pillars: creating job opportunities for UAE citizens; training and development; vocational guidance; and encouraging UAE citizens to work in the private sector.” He expressed the hope that the initiative would generate 20,000 job opportunities for citizens in the next five years and would provide fertile ground for cultivating strategic public-private partnerships for developing capable Emirati human resources.

Being implemented under the patronage of Ministry of Presidential Affairs with an eye on deep social and economic implications, Absher is also intended to provide a decent life for UAE citizens through stable, competitive and rewarding careers. Its mission is to maximise the participation of UAE citizens in the labour market, and achieve a competitive advantage for the national economy through strategic partnerships in the public and private sectors.

The initiative also seeks to achieve social stability for UAE citizens and their families, to support the government’s strategies and procedures for Emiratisation and to diversify the job opportunities for UAE citizens.

Surveys conducted by the Ministry of Presidential Affairs before the official launch of the initiative found that the local job market has promising job opportunities in the short and medium terms. A wide range of leadership, supervisory, executive, administrative, vocational, and professional opportunities are on offer.

In a ceremony to honour the initiative’s partners and stakeholders, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said: “This outstanding initiative by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan is an addition to his numerous national and humanitarian initiatives. For him, the citizen is priority number one and the Absher is a great initiative.” So far, the Ministry of Presidential Affairs has signed a series of up to 25 strategic partnership memoranda of understanding with government and private employers regarding the mechanisms through which they will honour their commitments to recruit Emirati job-seekers under the first strategic phase: creating job opportunities for UAE citizens. The Ministry will work on attracting more partners from both sectors.

During 2012, Absher provided employment to more than 1,186 Emirati male and female job-seekers.

Moving ahead, Absher on 2nd April 2013 commenced the implementation of its second strategic programme regarding training and development as part of Emiratisation plans.

H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, attended the signing of Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) to activate the partnership between the Ministry of Presidential Affairs and the Abu Dhabi Council for Tawteen, the National Human Resources Development and Employment Authority (TANMIA) and the Emirates National Development Programme on employing graduates in the private sector.

Ahmed Juma Al Zaabi, Deputy Minister for Presidential Affairs, said the ministry will incur 30 per cent of the total salary of a trainee employee, and a certain percentage of the training costs. The programme will recruit 1, 000 Emirati graduates in the first training session.

On 21st May 2013, the initiative took a landmark turn when His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, launched of the second phase of the initiative. He said in a statement that the initiative the interests of the nation and its citizens, and is evidence that the President is interested in fulfilling the requirements and aspirations of the national youth and in providing them with all means of stability and dignified life.

He noted that the UAE harnessed all its resources in service of Emirati nationals.

Sheikh Mohamed also witnessed the signing of a number of agreements between the Ministry of Presidential Affairs and a group of sixteen companies who recently joined the initiative. These agreements provide for creating 3,768 new jobs for Emiratis, out of a total of more than 20,000 jobs planned for the next five years.

A number of prominent national companies have announced their plans to recruit more UAE graduates. The Emirates Group has signed an MoU with Absher committing itself to hire 2,000 more Emiratis over the next five years, while DP World (UAE Region) has signed an MoU on recruiting 345 Emirati men and women over the same period.

Etihad Airways has already added over 260 Emiratis to its workforce, and now has over 1,250 UAE citizens in its seven divisions, 22.4 per cent of the company’ total workforce. It plans to add another 1,500 over the next five years.

Through its Academy, telecommunications provider Etisalat has launched the Kawadir Nationalisation Centre that trains and develops the citizens to full key posts in private sector organisations across the country. local workforce to attain prominent positions across organisations in the country.

The year 2013 has been designated as the year of creating jobs for Emiratis, with a number of initiatives and policies being announced to address the challenge of Emiratisation at all levels.

Unifying efforts of government and private institutions and encouraging national initiatives to enhance Emiratisation and promote education are set to be the main goals of a special action plan being drawn up by the Cabinet. As part of this, the Cabinet has approved the strategy of the National Human Resource Development and Employment Authority (Tanmia) for 2011-2013 which includes annual training programmes aimed at reducing unemployment and increasing the number of Emiratis working in the private sector. It includes developing a comprehensive Emiratisation database for the UAE.

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