The UAE is one of the world’s most forward thinking countries, and as they look forwards to their Centennial in 2071 it’s our privilege to be working alongside them in their quest to become the best country in the world.
WHEN PEOPLE THINK about the countries who are not only embracing the future but are actually forging ahead and building it the UAE, with its glittering skyscrapers and expansive Free Trade Zones, often tops the list.
Naturally, as a Futurist it’s fair to say that over the years the UAE has become my second home and it’s been a privilege to work with so many inspirational and hard working individuals and organisations, from the UAE Government itself and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Government Innovation, as well as many of the other innovative and visionary organisations in the country including the Abu Dhabi Municipal Authority, Abu Dhabi Ports, Area 2071, DEWA, DP World, Dubai Future Foundation, the Dubai Quality Group, GEMS Education, GITEX, the KHDA, RTA, UAE Space Agency, and many others.
Throughout my time in the UAE it’s been amazing to see the rapid pace of change and the speed at which new futuristic programs and initiatives, that span every sector and impact every corner of Emirati society, are designed and run – a speed that frankly puts many other countries, especially more developed countries, to shame.
In 2019 His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai officially unveiled the UAE Centennial Plan 2071, an ambitious 50 year plan that details His Highnesses’ plans to invest in future generations by “preparing them with the skills and knowledge needed to face the disruptive changes that lie ahead,” and to “make the UAE the best country in the world.”
When it comes to the future there are two ways countries can approach it – the future can be something that is done to them and their citizens, or alternatively the future is something you can get a point of view on and lead. Needless to say the UAE government have chosen the latter, and they are aggressively pursuing the agenda.
By engaging with futurists like myself to first and foremost develop a quantified point of view of the future and deep future then condensing the output into vision documents and strategic plans like the one above the UAE government has been able to develop a roadmap and plan of action that will help them fulfil their ambitions which, if current progress is anything to go by, they’re well on track to achieve.
In terms of what the UAE have achieved so far it’s fair to say that, even though they have ostensibly just begun, their progress to date and aspirations are staggering. From re-inventing their agricultural industry to embrace new on demand food production technologies such as cellular agriculture and vertical farms, and re-inventing their construction industry by embracing 3D printing, through to re-inventing their entire education system, pivoting their energy industry, and pushing a fully autonomous transportation agenda complete with flying taxis and hyperloops, as well as many other initiatives that span everything from the future of government, policing and space exploration, no industry or corner of society is being left behind. And if you want to experience all of this and more then just jump on a plane to DXB.