The UAE economy is today playing an influential role in regional and international arenas and is seen as a reliable driving force of world economic growth and a major world trade and business hub, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, has affirmed today. Ata meeting with Air Vice Marshal Rashad Mohamed Salem Al Saedi, Commander of the National Defence College and students, Al Mansouri said ''The UAE is striving to sharpen its economic competitive edge to build a knowledge-based economy.'' The UAE, he said, has become a recognised centre for R'&'D in the region thanks to the focused attention given to the sector. He noted that the UAE's advanced rankings in international economic reports and indexes were attributed to the wise guidance of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. He disclosed that his ministry were finalising a set of bills aimed at improving business performance, stimulating economic growth, diversifying sources of national income and shifting to knowledge-driven economy in line of UAE Vision 2021. Praising the College, the minister said the academic-military institution was established on par with the international best standards to match the prominent stature of the UAE and its Armed Forces. He noted the College has earned an advanced rank among the higher military education institutions in a relatively short span of time. He expressed his ministry's readiness to fully cooperate with the College given the fact that its integrated curricula incorporates vital economic considerations. President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has issued a federal law in 2012 establishing a college of national defence to prepare and train military and civil leaders capable of defining challenges facing national, regional and international security.