The UAE is the most competitive market in the Middle East and amongst the top 10 globally, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has affirmed.
'This did not happen by accident. Building on our heritage, our founding fathers charted the path for our nation's economic progress and prosperity more than 40 years ago. The UAE has always embraced competition and free market principles from our earliest days as a small trading post until today, Sheikh Mohamed said in the forward of the Emirates Group annual report 2014-2015.
HH said,' If we want the best talent, the best companies, and the best opportunities for our country, there is no room for protectionism. We have to be imaginative and innovative.
'If we want successful industries, we must invest in the right infrastructure and base our decisions on market need and commercial funding. Above all, we must never rest on our laurels.
'Dubai's strategy for economic development and diversification has always been underpinned by these principles. In the aviation sector, the UAE's Open Skies policy has brought over 140 airlines to operate at Dubai International airport today, connecting our city to 260 other cities spanning six continents around the world. Emirates, our home carrier, has to compete in an open marketplace with all of these other airlines. No short cuts, no protection, no subsidies. It must stand on its own feet and work hard to stay ahead of the competition.
'To date, Emirates and dnata have generated dividends of AED 14.6 billion for the Dubai government. Those dividends have been ploughed back into the economy, helping fund essential infrastructure projects including the various phases of expansion at Dubai International airport and Dubai World Central.
'In 2013, aviation contributed US$26.7 billion to Dubai's GDP, supporting 416,550 jobs. By 2020, aviation is projected to support over 750,000 jobs and contribute US$53.1 billion to GDP.
'This is not a surprise. Although Dubai and the UAE have thriving seaports, given our geography, air transport will remain the most important means of access for international travellers, as well as for the shipment of time-critical goods for the foreseeable future. That is why we invest in the aviation sector with a strategic long-term view, and strive to make every facet of this sector world-class, based on international best practice.
'Economic success is of course only one indicator when we look at the overall picture and the long-term goals of Dubai and the UAE, just as the Emirates Group's strong financial track record is only one aspect of its success.
'The well-being of our citizens and residents remain a top priority. I'm proud that the UAE is ranked the 14th happiest country in the world, and 1st among Arab countries, in the second United Nations World Happiness Report, which covers 156 nations. Just as I'm proud that our home grown companies like the Emirates Group, attract the most talented people from around the globe to live and work here the UAE, making our country one of the world's most diverse, competitive, and dynamic.
' Ours is an environment that encourages enterprise, and we will continue to build a country where citizens and residents can enjoy peace and prosperity, and where the public and private sectors work together to achieve meaningful results for the communities we serve. '