The UAE Vision for Comprehensive Development

  • 3 August 2008

The United Arab Emirates adopts a development strategy that is built around income diversification and refrains from depending on one source no matter its importance and role. That is why economic statistics point to an increase in non-oil sectors in the country's overall GDP from 46% in 1990 to 60% now according to figures from the Ministry of Foreign Trade. This reflects the dynamism that characterizes the development model adopted by the Emirates and the strategic depth this model enshrines.

Within this context, agriculture has occupied an important niche among the development priorities of the leadership of the country since independence in 1971. The late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Aal Nahyan, may God rest his soul, gave agriculture great importance and supported its development and success. The present leadership supports this thinking with words and deeds. The latest announcements by his Highness General Shaikh Mohammad bin Zayed Aal Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, at the "muzayanat al-rutab" fair in Liwa in the Western Region clearly reflects this thinking. He emphasized that supporting the overall agricultural sector and fruit cultivation in particular has always been a firm commitment in the country's development strategy. He also praised the importance His Highness UAE President Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Aal Nahyan has shown to date tree agriculture and to improving its productivity. Shaikh Mohammad also called for keeping pace with the latest developments in date agriculture and for utilizing the most scientific and technical methods to better types of dates in the Emirates which will make them more competitive locally and internationally.

In addition to the date tree's being a symbol of goodness and giving, the Emirates' encouragement of its cultivation in particular is part of an overall vision about food security which is one of the most important components of comprehensive national security. This is especially significant in light of the latest developments in the world regarding the high price and availability of foodstuffs. These developments have prompted many states, with the UAE in the forefront, to pay close attention to planning for securing food self-sufficiency that obviates the external conditions that could threaten the supply of strategic commodities. Despite the geological and climatic difficulties and obstacles, the UAE's early attention to agriculture has exemplified foresight and a strategic vision that looks to the future, believes in the importance of food security by utilizing national assets, and searches for helpful avenues despite problems and difficulties.