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Dec 25 18, 7:47 pm

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UAE’s achievements in 2018: Emirati passport ranked No. 1, KhalifaSat launched, visa amnesty gave hope to thousands

by | TOP STORIES

Dec. 25, 18 | 7:47 pm

The UAE started and will conclude 2018 on a high note with significant local, regional and international achievements that honor the name and legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

The ‘Year of the Zayed’ has witnessed many local and international events that commemorated the memory of the Founding Father, glorified his legacy, and promoted his humanitarian values.

Upon the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE launched, in 2018, many initiatives and development programmes that reinforced its presence at international events.

The UAE Cabinet, under the presidency of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, followed Sheikh Zayed’s legacy of foreseeing the future and promoting overall sustainable development to achieve the UAE Vision 2021.

The UAE continued its policy to improve its international relations, while the efforts and official meetings of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, with world leaders in 2018 led to many strategic partnerships with other countries.

In 2018, the UAE was a complete model of development, through its scientific, economic and social achievements, which will ensure a better future for Arab and Islamic nations.

It also launched KhalifaSat, the first Emirati-made satellite, and declared the selection of the first Emirati astronauts who will take part in a 10-day voyage, as part of a Russian mission to the International Space Station in 2019.

The UAE also accomplished a historic diplomatic achievement, when the UAE passport became the highest ranked passport in the world.

In 2019, the percentage of female representation in the Federal National Council, FNC, will increase to 50 percent, starting in the next parliamentary session.

The UAE also maintained its position as the largest international donor of official development aid compared to national incomes for the fifth consecutive year, with a rate of 1.31 percent, which is about twice the suggested rate of 0.7 percent, as identified by the United Nations.

The country was also the largest international donor of urgent humanitarian aid to Yemen in 2018, and its total aid to Yemen from April 2015 to December 2018 amounted to AED18.6 billion.

The UAE continued achieving leading positions in world competitiveness reports, and occupied the first position in the Middle East and North Africa, and the 17th position internationally.

The UAE also led international indexes of government spending efficiency, government procurement of technical products, road quality, low tax impact on investments, and low inflation.

Abu Dhabi topped the list of the safest cities in the world for the second consecutive year, according to the Numbio website, leading 300 cities that include Tokyo, Basel, Munich and Vienna.

The UAE declared that 2019 will be the “Year of Tolerance,” while 2018 witnessed many events that reinforced the country’s position as a global centre of tolerance. Dubai hosted the “World Tolerance Summit” that was attended by 1,500 prominent figures, while Abu Dhabi hosted the “Tolerance and Moderation and Dialogue Facing Extremism Conference” on 5th March, which witnessed the establishment of the “Emirates Tolerance and Peaceful Coexistence Association.” Abu Dhabi then announced the formation of the “International Muslim Communities Council.”

The local economy continued to progress in 2018, despite the challenges. The UAE Central Bank estimated growth in the country’s non-oil GDP by 2.8 percent in 2018, while the country’s regions witnessed the launch of housing and infrastructure projects, such as electricity plants, dams and roads.

The budget expenditure for the 2018 fiscal year reached some AED53.369 billion, following additional budget appropriations, as per Federal Law Decree No. 6 for 2018.

The year 2018 also showed positive signs about the future of the UAE’s oil and gas sector, especially when the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, ADNOC, announced plans to launch a comprehensive gas strategy and increase its oil production to 4 million barrels per day by the end of 2020, and 5 million barrels per day by 2030.

ADNOC also declared capital investments of US$132.33 from 2019 to 2023, as well as the discovery of 1 billion barrels of oil.

In the banking sector, all indexes related to the activities of banks operating in the UAE showed significant growth, with a rise in total assets of AED2.854 trillion, driving the UAE’s banking sector to the top of the list of leading banking sectors in the Gulf region, in terms of assets.

In 2018, the Al Miraq-Al Ghuwaifat International Road Project was inaugurated in Abu Dhabi, after the completion of renovation work on the 246-kilometre road, at a cost of AED5.3 billion, as well as the launch of the first phase of the 89-kilometre “Khor Fakkan Road,” at a cost of AED5.5 billion.

Dubai added a new landmark to its architectural wonders, by inaugurating, at the start of 2018, the “Dubai Frame Project,” at a cost of over AED200 million, while Abu Dhabi launched the “Warner Brothers World Abu Dhabi,” through investments amounting to $1 billion.

The UAE also had a distinguished presence in the world of culture, and announced many initiatives that aimed to preserve and promote the Arabic language, including by preparing the “Case Report and the Future of the Arabic Language”, to be published in 2019, and forming the “Arabic Language Association,” which involves Arabic language professors and scholars from throughout the Arab region.

This year’s National Reading Month witnessed 1,700 reading-related initiatives and events, which were organised by over 66 federal and local authorities, along with the private sector.

The 37th Sharjah International Book Fair was a major cultural event in 2018, which attracted over 2.23 million visitors.

The 28th Abu Dhabi International Book Fair attracted over 300,000 visitors over seven days, and witnessed the participation of over 1,181 authorities from 63 countries.

The Fan Abu Dhabi 2018 exhibition witnessed the significant presence of art lovers, who took part in its discussion seminars and viewed artworks from 19 countries.

In 2018, the UAE hosted many major global conferences and events, such as the World Government Summit, which was attended by over 4,000 participants from 140 countries, as well as the International Alliance of Religions and Future Councils 2018, Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2018, the World Summit for Tolerance, the Islamic Economic Summit in Dubai, and the Arab Digital Economy Conference.

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THE FILIPINO TIMES is the biggest and most trusted Filipino newspaper in the UAE.

It has a print run of 60,000 copies and 250,000 readership per week; bolstered by 2.5 million visitors to its website every month. It also has an e-newsletter sent to its 250,000 subscribers every day.

The Filipino Times is FREE and has the widest targeted circulation across the 7 emirates of the UAE.

With more than 2,500 strategic distribution spots, TFT is available where the Filipinos are - at Smart Bus Shelters, Metro Stations, restaurants, supermarkets, schools, airport lounges, Emirates and Etihad Philippine-bound flights, churches, Filipino community events and many more.

THE FILIPINO TIMES. We are where the Filipinos are.

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