UAE National Day: Top achievements by the Emirates in 2017
- 02 December 2017
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As we celebrate the 46th UAE National Day, we look at the country’s highlights over the past 11 months.
1) U.A.E. LAUNCHES FOOD BANK
We start at the beginning of the year, when Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced the launch of the UAE Food Bank, an initiative that aims to distribute food to those in need while eliminating food waste.
“‘The Year of Giving’ provides a golden opportunity for UAE citizens and institutions to maximise their philanthropic potential by launching humanitarian initiatives,” His Highness commented during the launch. “We chose food as our first initiative as it is one of the most basic human needs. Through the UAE Food Bank, we aim to instil the value of giving deep in the hearts of our people.”
Since its launch, it is estimated that 97,000 people have benefitted from 604 tonnes of food collected by the food bank.
2) ETIHAD MUSEUM OPENS
If you haven’t been there already, make sure you do. Dubai’s stunning Etihad Museum features a host of rare images and videos documenting historic meetings, special moments and more from 1968 to 1974.
Our favourite display is one that showcases possessions once belonging to the UAE’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Then items include a watch, sunglasses and a cane.
3) TESLA ARRIVES IN THE U.A.E.
It was one of the hottest launches of the year: US electric car-maker Tesla arrived in February, marked by a visit by Chief Executive Elon Musk at one of the UAE’s biggest forums, the World Government Summit.
“We expect to invest tens of millions of dollars in the UAE for charging, service and support infrastructures,” he said at the time. “By next year, you’ll be able to travel anywhere in the GCC with an electric vehicle.”
In the same week, the Roads and Transport Authority signed an agreement with Tesla to buy 200 vehicles as part of Dubai’s strategy for a smarter city and green economy. The Model S sedans and Model X SUVs are part of Dubai Taxi Corporation’s fleet of limousines.
4) FORMATION OF THE WORLD HAPPINESS COUNCIL
The UAE’s leaders want to see their people happy, so in March, Sheikh Mohammed announced the formation of the World Happiness Council.
On his Twitter account, His Highness posted: “The council aims to support international goals to standardise happiness as a measure of development, as we are doing in the UAE.”
Headed by Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Sachs, the 12-member council focuses on six areas: health, education, environment, personal happiness, happy cities and community standards for happiness. Each area has its own sub-council chaired by a different team member.
5) U.A.E.’s FIRST SOLAR-POWERED PETROL STATION OPENS
ENOC’s revamped petrol station at Dubai Internet City became the first to operate using solar energy thanks to the use of photovoltaic (PV) panels on the roof. These panels can produce a peak capacity of 120 kilowatts per hour of energy, resulting in the generation of 30 per cent more than the average energy required to run the station.
6) NOON.COM ARRIVES
It’s one of the biggest UAE business news stories of the year: in September, the $1 billion e-commerce platform Noon.com finally went live. The venture, founded by Chairman of Emaar Properties Mohamed Alabbar, launched with everything from fashion brands to gadgets.
“As digital technologies cause disruptions across industries and geographies, it is important for us to shape a digital marketplace that is relevant to our local markets and serves as a growth platform for brick-and-mortar retailers,”Alabbar said at the time.
7) FLYING TAXIS ARE GO!
Flying taxis are coming very soon to Dubai if these test runs are anything to go by.
In September, Dubai Crown Prince His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and with the RTA staged a test flight for would soon be the world’s first drone taxi service.
Developed by German drone firm Volocopter, the taxi resembles a small two-seater helicopter cabin topped by a wide hoop studded with 18 propellers.
8) U.A.E. ARTIFICAL INTELLIGENCE STRATEGY
We’re getting even more futuristic. Last month, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched the UAE Artificial Intelligence strategy to boost government performance.
Launching the strategy, His Highness commented, “The UAE Centennial begins now, with the launch of massive projects such as the AI strategy to set up the basis for the coming phase. This strategy represents the post-smart government phase, and it will be relied on by various future services, sectors and infrastructure projects.
“We initiated our e-government services 16 years ago, and today, we are launching a phase that will rely on artificial intelligence. We are striving to adopt all tools and AI technologies that will boost government performance on all levels.”
9) LOUVRE ABU DHABI OPENS
The beautiful Louvre Abu Dhabi finally opened its doors to the public on 11 November 2017.
The museum houses contributions from Agence France-Museums, gathering 17 of France’s most renowned cultural institutions. And Emirati youth are at the forefront here thanks to a fantastic student ambassadorship programme.
First conceptualised in 2007, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is the first gallery outside France to have the iconic name.