Today, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) celebrates its 42nd National Day with sheer pride and passion. This was reflected by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan  announcing  AED 20 billion (USD 5.5 billion ) for funding social and economic projects in various emirates.  It can be said that the nation, over the years has accomplished high rates of growth, progress and sustainable development mainly due to UAE government’s vision and initiatives.

At global level, UAE holds a premier position and status as one of the most politically stable countries which has robust economy and increased spending patterns across multiple sectors. Over the period of years, it has been rated by various international organizations as one of the most competitive and dynamic countries of the world.

However, everything was not smooth for the country, which once existed in the form of scattered emirates in the Arabian Peninsula. It was one of the least developed economies across the globe with its economy primarily dependent on subsistence on pearl trading, sea fare and marginal commercial trade. It even lacked fully-fledged modern hospitals; forget schools, colleges and modern transport and logistics facilities.

Further to the unification of the emirates in 1971, the country embarked on a new path of unprecedented economic growth and well-being. In between the year 1973 and 1982, when the price of the petroleum products was soaring high in the international market, UAE made massive economic progress.

In stark contrast to other developed countries, where development was a product of sequential steps of wealth saving and accumulation; large volume of oil export helped UAE to leapfrog such steps and undergo rapid economic and social transformation. It was realized in the form of higher per capita income, robust physical infrastructure and sudden upswing in social indicators such as education and health services.

Petroleum has been one of the principle components of UAE’s success saga; nevertheless there was another significant element playing instrumental role in its prosperity. UAE’s petroleum revenue was well complemented with the help of an efficient leadership. The country was blessed with honest and efficient leadership, which was committed to the nation’s success and the well-being of its residents.

While other countries in the Gulf were still basking in the newly generated petroleum wealth, the visionary leadership in UAE realized the risks associated with extreme reliance on petroleum wealth. After all, like other conventional energy resources, it was not going to last long. As a result in the 80s and 90s, prudent initiatives were undertaken towards economic diversification into numerous alternative sectors such as real estate, aviation, tourism, retail and logistics. Not to mention banking, media, education and health as well. The rapid economic diversification was aided with the help of a no-nonsense kind of regulatory and administrative policies which expedited the entire process.

The successful economic diversification helped UAE to morph into a regional and international destination for trade, commerce, real estate and tourism etc. It attracted large volumes of expatriates including migrant workers from South Asian and Middle Eastern countries which came to UAE in search of economic prosperity and higher income as well as middle and high end human capital from Europe, Australia and other parts of the world. Presently over 87 percent of UAE’s population comprises of expats and a significant part of its success is attributed to such people.

UAE’s economic model did not only evoke awe but was also inspiration among other cash rich gulf countries. UAE’s economic diversification model, which was based on utilization of oil revenue blended with nimble policy execution, was later on emulated by other neighborhood countries such as Qatar and Kuwait etc.

If growth, prosperity and well-being have been its constant companion in the recent past, it was complacency, which UAE always rebuffed. UAE in the leadership of its two most advanced Emirate; Abu Dhabi and Dubai, aims much big and large. Its successful preparation for the World Expo 2020 in the recent past is the symbol of UAE’s next phase of growth.

Besides amplifying the brand essence of Dubai and UAE, the winning of the bid to host such a large scale event is well aligned with UAE’s long term strategic intent of further boosting its trade, tourism, and hospitality and real estate sectors. Works are underway, in order to build the biggest airport by 2020. Not to mention other spell binding constructions in the form of state of the art man made islands, cultural destinations, convention centers, residential establishments and expansion of the existing fully automated metro system.

On this historical moment, where the 42nd UAE national day has been accompanied with the beginning of a new chapter in UAE’s growth cycle, we @ Research Konnection  wish the establishment as well all the residents a very happy and prosperous time ahead. As a research and consulting entity, we hope to align ourselves effectively and efficiently with UAE’s vision and goal for prosperity.

Author: RKonnect
The author is the Managing Director of Research Konnection, a Dubai based market research and consulting firm that helps local and international companies to identify emerging business opportunities and successfully expand in the Gulf region. The author can be reached at
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