The UAE’s vice president and ruler of Dubai has pledged to push ahead with the Gulf state’s ambitious investment strategy.
Speaking days after a United Nations report ranked the UAE as the happiest country in the Arabian Gulf, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said the Gulf state would continue to invest in its citizens' futures.
“We are pressing ahead with our plans to invest in our resources to achieve comfort and happiness to all,” Sheikh Mohammed said in a statement to state news agency WAM.
“It is the duty of the government to provide citizens with excellent quality of life, prosperity and opportunities to the citizens to achieve happiness,” he added.
“This requires rallying efforts, formulating right policies and laws, ensuring security, justice and safety to the community, tending to the underprivileged segments and the continuously developing infrastructure. It also requires clear plans, capable teams and optimum use of available resources.”
The oil-reliant UAE economy is still recovering from its 2009-2010 debt crisis in Dubai, marked by a US$25bn debt restructuring and record high provisions against bad loans, many of them to government entities.
The UAE economy is expected to grow nearly four percent this year, the Gulf state’s Economy Minister Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri said last month. The prediction was more optimistic than the forecast by the International Monetary Fund, which said economic growth would slow to 2.3 percent in 2012.
The Gulf state was last week ranked 17th worldwide in a United Nations happiness survey, making it the second happiest country in the Middle East behind Israel. Neighbouring Gulf states Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, ranked as the 26th, 29th and 31st happiest places in the world, respectively.
The least happy places in the Middle East were Yemen, Afghanistan and Palestine, the report judged.
“The development plans we approved, the initiatives we launched and the policies and laws enforced, have all but one goal; to bring about 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,” said Sheikh Mohammed.