Dear reader, there is a great chance that you belong to either of generation X, Y, or Z. With years below a 100 of living on this planet, it can be difficult to put the history of civilizations, the establishment of countries, and their development journey into perspective. With leading countries such as France for example, a country with a history that traces back to many centuries and perhaps millenniums ago, it became a standard assumption that the older the country is, the more it is likely for it to be superior in most aspects. (Stasavage, 2003) So, if I were to tell you that a country, with an area of only 83,600 km² and a population of around 9.5 million, has the vision to be “the world’s leading nation” before its 100th year of establishment, would you take my word for it? (Our Vision, n.d.; Population and Demographic Mix, 2018)
It all started in 1971, when a simple man with a futuristic vision turned a deserted area into a fertile land for dreams to flourish and become reality, otherwise known as the United Arab Emirates. Having a role model like the late leader Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan was like automatically having the seed of aspiration planted in anyone who sets a foot on this land. For that, UAE’s government has set their standards high among the stars, and are competing with their own excellence to even further develop in order to be the leading example.
According to UAE’s 2018 demographics, the youth takes up a huge percentage of the country’s population, for the median age in the country is 30.3 years old. (United Arab Emirates Population, 2018) Because of that, the government believes in investing in those future leaders and human resources in all fields for future growth and development. From that perspective, it is vital to have a futuristic vision, and be able to talk in today’s universal languages: creativity, media, and most importantly, technology.
One of the significant factors of living in today’s world is the cruciality of racing with time. Addressing that, the UAE government had ameliorated and reformed its industries and infrastructure very early on in a manner that meets up with today’s universal culture. (Update By Market: UAE, 2018) Building the foundation in the media sector across the country with establishments like Dubai Media City have opened the doors for the UAE to connect with the world, and for the global media outlets and companies to invest in the country. (Update By Market: UAE, 2018) Once a government acknowledges the power and influence media has over industries, and support its growth by creating and offering the right environment and facilities like media free zones, it is bound to attract and harvest diverse talents that would lead the way.
It is one thing to have your family and friends believe in you as you’re starting out, but to have an entire nation and its leaders to dedicate their time and effort for you to succeed in life, and sincerely believe that you are the future of the country is a whole different story. The UAE has established tens of free zones and clusters that work towards building individuals’ visions while at the same time aligning them to the country’s future plan. Area 2071, for example, is a space established to connect corporates, governments, startups, investors, the youth, and the public in order to co-create the future. (Our Vision, n.d.) Another example is the Youth Hub, a focal point, operated by the UAE’s Minister of Youth Affairs H.E. Shamma Al Mazrui, for youth to connect them to people, power, and potential. (Youth Hub, n.d.)
With the development of technology, millennials were the first “generation of screens”, leading the coming generations to depend on technology to facilitate everyday life. Many governments in the region followed the electronic trend, however, UAE has done the best and quickest job developing and maintaining an eGovernment system, only to further develop it to become a mGovernment (smart government). (Rahman, M. H., AlBalooshi, S. A., & Sarker, A., n.d.)
I want every citizen to be able to process all his governmental transactions by smartphone. — H.H. Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai
(Rahman, M. H., AlBalooshi, S. A., & Sarker, A., n.d.)
Not only that, but also the UAE has led the way of future technologies by highly investing time, expertise, and resources in artificial intelligence. Being the first country ever to have a ministry dedicated exclusively to AI, UAE has definitely caught the world’s attention.
Adopting new technologies and artificial intelligence, empowering youth, and exploiting local and global media are some of many of UAE’s strategies to fulfill its vision. The question remains, however, will it succeed in becoming the world’s leading nation by the year 2071?
(Spoiler alert: Yes, it will.)
Our Vision | AREA 2071. (n.d.). Retrieved December 18, 2018, from https://area2071.ae/our-vision/
Population and Demographic Mix. (2018, September 19). Retrieved December 18, 2018, from https://www.government.ae/en/information-and-services/social-affairs/preserving-the-emirati-national-identity/population-and-demographic-mix
Rahman, M. H., AlBalooshi, S. A., & Sarker, A. (n.d.). The UAE Model of Smart Government: An Exploratory Analysis. Retrieved December 18, 2018, from http://irspm.uni-nke.hu/uploads/media_items/rahman.original.pdf
Stasavage, D. (2003). Public Debt And The Birth of the Democratic State. New York: Cambridge University Press.
United Arab Emirates Population 2018. (2018, December 12). Retrieved December 18, 2018, from http://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/united-arab-emirates-population/
Update By Market: UAE. (2018). Arab Media Outlook. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
Youth Hub. (n.d.). Retrieved December 18, 2018, from https://hub.youth.gov.ae/en
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