13 February 2024
His Excellency Mattar Al Tayer, Commissioner-General for Infrastructure, Urban Planning and Well-Being Pillar, Director-General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) described Dubai’s adaptability and resilience during the World Governments Summit (WGS) 2024, which takes place from 12-14 February under the theme ‘Shaping Future Governments’.
HE said: “The escalating challenges accompanying rapid global growth demand that future governments focus on city development to foster wellbeing and undertake legislative transformations. Future cities must embrace technological advancements and economic forecasting to build crisis-resilient economies. It is vital for governments to build new capabilities across integrated planning, climate, innovation, research and development, big data, and modern technologies in addition to leading joint efforts alongside businesses and individuals to tackle social and environmental challenges.”
Adapting to change
“Under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, Dubai has created a model for adapting to change and overcoming challenges. Through pioneering transformational strategies and a renewed vision for development, Dubai has elevated its global competitiveness. Notably, His Highness launched the Dubai Urban Plan 2040 aimed at achieving sustainable urban and economic growth by investing in five urban centres.
“His Highness has also endorsed the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 launching transformative initiatives and projects aiming to double Dubai's economy to AED 32 trillion within a decade. Dubai has succeeded in promoting economic diversification and transitioning into a service-based economy, with the service sector now contributing 54% to GDP and the trade sector contributing 25% to GDP in 2022. Moreover, GDP has grown consistently between 3.5% and 5% over the last 10 years.
“Cities aiming to elevate their status on the global stage need to focus on four key areas: embracing a broader definition of economic prosperity that encompasses social welfare, happiness, and wellbeing; improving resilience and recovery capabilities in economic downturns; prioritising sustainability, happiness, and wellbeing of citizens; and tackling demographic and environmental challenges. Dubai's aspirations are boundless when it comes to adopting technological and artificial intelligence advancements, cementing its standing as a global hub for innovation.”
“The emirate has seen significant progress in this area. For instance, between January and September 2023, Dubai welcomed around 49,000 new businesses, marking a 43% increase from the previous year. It is also home to approximately 300 technology start-ups, which have collectively raised over AED 7.3 billion ($2 billion) in 2023, more than double compared to the year before. Dubai has also set a goal to issue around 40,000 permits for remote work by 2030,” continued Al Tayer.
“Governments play a key role in driving the transformation of cities into smart cities through the development of flexible policies and regulations that create positive change and stimulate investment. This also includes forging productive partnerships with research and development institutions and tech firms, supporting innovative research, championing the shift towards agile economies and fostering integration and collaboration across all service sectors. Dubai has initiated several projects to aid its transformation into a smart city, such as Dubai Data, Dubai Artificial Intelligence Roadmap, and Dubai Blockchain Strategy,” noted Al Tayer.
Al Tayer discussed the significance of the logistics services sector in bolstering Dubai's economy: “The land commercial transport sector in Dubai is valued at AED 8.4 billion, with expectations to double by 2030.”
“Smart infrastructure plays a vital role in shaping the cities of the future, as it is essential for creating safer, healthier, and more liveable urban spaces. The Government of Dubai has invested in infrastructure development and the integration of smart technologies. Such investments have led to significant economic benefits and enhanced the operational efficiency of the road network and transportation systems,” said Al Tayer.
“From 2006 until January 2024, around AED 290 billion has been saved in time and fuel due to enhancements to the road network, against a government expenditure of AED 140 billion on road and mass transportation network development. Dubai Metro broke even in 2016, seven years after launching, and projections indicate that by 2030, every dirham spent will yield benefits worth four dirhams.
“The Government of Dubai is committed to enhancing its global leadership in mobility by investing in the expansion and improvement of its road and public transportation networks. Among its recent initiatives is the launch of Dubai Metro Blue Line project. Spanning 30km and connecting 14 stations, this project is expected to serve one million individuals by 2040 and aims to alleviate congestion on certain traffic corridors by 20%,” explained Al Tayer.
Al Tayer highlighted the role of urban planning and smart infrastructure in supporting the cities of the future: “Land use policies, particularly those for mixed-use urban development, play a pivotal role in creating vibrant and inclusive neighbourhoods. They also enhance the utilisation of available spaces, leading to increased workforce productivity and efficiency, and foster wellbeing by ensuring quick and easy access to different services. For example, Singapore's urban planning achievements are testament to its efficient land use and sustainable infrastructure development. Meanwhile, Barcelona’s urban design is focused on allocating sufficient pedestrian spaces.”
“The creation of specialised cities by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, such as the Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, Dubai Industrial City, and Dubai Healthcare City, represents excellent urban planning initiatives. These projects have enabled Dubai to attract around 7,000 global businesses and contributed to promoting holistic development and economic growth. The launch of Dubai’s Master Urban Plan 2040 further underscores the emirate's commitment to building on its economic achievements. The plan outlines the allocation of 168 square km for economic and industrial activities, a 25% increase in space for educational and health facilities, and a 134% expansion in areas designated for hospitality and tourism activities,” said Al Tayer.
“The success of the real estate industry in cities reflects the effectiveness of urban planning. In Dubai, this sector has witnessed remarkable success, securing a prominent spot in the global market and emerging as a top choice for both local and international investors. Post-COVID-19 pandemic, the sector has seen consistent yearly growth, with real estate sales across Dubai hitting AED 412 billion in 2023, a 55% increase from the previous year. The volume of real estate transactions grew by 36% over the same period, underscoring the sector's success. Key factors contributing to this achievement include transparency and credibility, ease of investment and capital movement, superior investor services, and the nation’s high standards of security and safety,” concluded Al Tayer.
More than 4,000 participants from the public and private sectors will participate in 110 interactive sessions at WGS 2024, including 200 speakers from 80 international, regional, and intergovernmental organisations including the UN, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Health Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Arab League. It will also welcome eight Nobel prize winners and provide a platform for 23 ministerial meetings in the presence of more than 300 ministers. In partnership with a select group of knowledge partners, the Summit will launch more than 25 strategic reports, focusing on the most important practices and trends in vital sectors.
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