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UAE National Day: Top achievements by the Emirates in 2018
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UAE National Day: Top achievements by the Emirates in 2018

UAE National Day: Top achievements by the Emirates in 2018
Culture & Entertainment
Disclaimer: Ariel view of Dubai buildings during sunset. Pic: Getty Images

 

As we celebrate the 47th UAE National Day, we look at the country’s highlights over the past 11 months.

1. ENTER V.A.T.

When? January

Granted, the introduction of any added tax is usually met with groans wherever you live, but the fact remains that the UAE was able to introduce and implement VAT smoothly across the country with few hiccups.

VAT is good for a country’s economy: at the beginning of the year, it was predicted that VAT would contribute AED 12 billion to the UAE exchequer. Consumption tax across the GCC is expected to raise additional revenues between 1.2 to 1.6 per cent of GDP in the first year.

2. THE YEAR OF ZAYED

When? February

The second month of the year marked the launch of the Year of Zayed to commemorate the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE, and to instil his values across the community.

A new platform called Zayed the Inspirer, which allows users to share their own inspirational stories, was unveiled.

UAE_2018 National Day Celebration_The Year of Zayed_Zayed the Inspirer Platform

Disclaimer: Screenshot of Zayed The Inspirer Platform. Source: https://zayedtheinspirer.ae/en/

 

His Highness Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, launched the day at the 2018 World Government Summit and said, “The founder of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, is a leader who inspired leaders, officials and the community and a unique example of overcoming difficulties.”

He continued: “He was and still is an example to be followed by all who want to realise their ambitions and turn their dreams into reality, as well as a man of far-sighted visions, and the sands of the desert were not an obstacle to achieving his goals.”

3. WORLD’S LONGEST ZIPLINE ARRIVES

When? February

February also saw the longest zipline in the world opening to the public. Jebel Jais Zipline in Ras Al Khaimah offers thrill-seekers the chance to travel at speeds of 120 kph to 150 kph at a height of 1,680 metres above sea level on the mountain. The 2.8 km zipline spans the equivalent of 28 football fields. Wowser.

UAE Ras Al Khaimah_Jebel Jais Zipline

Disclaimer: The Jebel Jais Zipline in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE. Source: Jebel Jais Zipline.

 

4. WORLD’S FIRST COMMERCIAL HYPERLOOP UNVEILED

When? April

News of the world’s first commercial hyperloop emerged in April after Hyperloop Transportation Technologies signed an agreement with Abu Dhabi’s Aldar Properties to build a hyperloop system between the UAE’s capital and Dubai. This will revolutionise travel for commuters, as the system is reportedly capable of transporting passengers in a “travelpod” between the two emirates within 12 minutes.

Hyperloop One _Dubai

Disclaimer: Picture credit: Reuters.

 

5. APPROVAL OF FULL FOREIGN COMPANY OWNERSHIP, 10-YEAR VISA

When? May

Great news for those building a life in the country: the UAE government approved a new long-term visa system aimed at attracting international investors and high-skilled professional workers.

The cabinet also approved 100 per cent foreign ownership of companies in the country, something that was previously limited to free zones only.

6. FIRST U.A.E. ASTRONAUTS NAMED

When? September

Hazza Al Mansouri, 34, and Sultan Al Nayadi, 37, from Abu Dhabi are the lucky two selected from over 4,000 candidates who applied for the UAE astronaut programme. One is scheduled to head off into space in April 2019 and the other will serve as a backup.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said, “Hazza and Sultan represent a new stage for the UAE youth and raise the aspirations of new generations after them. Our dreams embrace space and we are proud of our youth, and our future is based on a solid scientific foundation.

“We have the only Mars probe programme in the region; our satellite industry has realised its full potential; we have UAE astronauts; we have a space industry worth AED 20 billion, and we have aspirations without limits ... When given the opportunity, Arabs can reach for the stars.”

7. EXPATS ALLOWED TO STAY AFTER RETIREMENT

When? September

In another great move for expatriates in the country, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed announced that expats will be allowed to stay in the country for a “longer period of time” after retirement.

 

8. U.A.E. SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCHES SATELLITE KHALIFASAT

When? October

In more space news, KhalifaSat, the UAE’s first 100 per cent Emirati-made satellite, successfully launched into space from Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan in October. The launch was broadcast live on the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre’s website.

 

9. U.A.E. REVEALED AS TOP RANKED GLOBALLY IN 5 ISLAMIC ECONOMY SECTORS

When? October

The UAE was named as the top country in five of eight global Islamic economy sectors according to the newly released Global Islamic Economy Report 2018–19, commissioned by Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre and produced by Thomson Reuters.

The country placed second in the list of top 15 Islamic economies just behind Malaysia, and it was placed first in halal food, halal travel, modest fashion, halal media and recreation, and halal pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. By comparison, the UAE topped in three sectors in 2017–18.

10. 10 YEARS OF THE ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX

When? November

It’s hard to believe that Yas Marina Circuit has been around for a decade already, yet Yas Island is indeed hosting the 10th anniversary edition of the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

World champion Lewis Hamilton won the event for a record fourth time, with Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel placing second and Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen coming third.

Over the last 10 years, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has attracted an impressive 1.3 million visitors, with an estimated 135,000 guests heading to the 2017 edition. Each visitor spends an average of AED 7,500 that weekend.

Hamilton had a little fun at the event, posting a funny video with Hollywood actor Will Smith.

 

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