The UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has set out a clear direction to achieve economic acceleration, according to leading business leaders in the UAE.

During Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed’s first address to the nation last week, the President said, “Today, the UAE economy is thriving and continues to grow at an impressive rate. We are blessed with many resources, especially our high skilled human capital, as the UAE possesses a distinguished wealth of young workforce. In addition, more than 200 nationalities are actively participating in the growth and development of our economy.”

“The role of the private sector is pivotal, and it must be further activated through constant collaboration and diverse opportunities to increase its contribution to the economy's growth,” said Sheikh Mohamed.

In response to his comments, leading heads of businesses in the UAE say they will do everything in their power to support the country’s economic diversification priorities.

Ahmed Jasim Al Zaabi, chairman of Abu Dhabi Global Markets (ADGM), said, “Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, in his address to the nation, has set out a clear direction for accelerating the UAE’s economic development efforts to continue building a leading economy.

"As the International Financial Centre of the UAE’s capital, Abu Dhabi Global Market will remain at the forefront of growing the UAE’s financial sector and ecosystem. We will continue supporting the country’s economic diversification priorities and development as a vibrant global financial hub.”

Mohammed Fakhrudin Ajmal, the founder of Ajmal Perfumes UAE and chairman and managing director of Makkaj Perfumes, has been a UAE resident for over 40 years. “Sheikh Mohamed has promised to continue the legacy left behind by the great Father of the Nation Sheikh Zayed and his brother, former President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. However, we must consider that he has amassed an unparalleled wealth of knowledge and political experience while learning from the two former presidents.”

He added, “He has stepped into the arena with everything that he needs to take UAE into the next century of economic development. On a personal front, as businessmen, we have dedicated ourselves to the nation's growth. To be led by a leader with such vision provides us with the confidence to succeed.”

Ram Buxani, chairman of ITL Cosmos Group, Dubai, said, “When the first citizen of the country tries to give priority to the people empowerment, a sense of security becomes obvious. Sheikh Mohamed is not a new face to UAE citizens. His plan to visualize the people's dreams during his first address to the nation has infused rare confidence in us.”

Buxani said, “We are lucky to have a leader like Sheikh Mohamed lead us. He is a great human. I remember when I met him the first time, I was introduced as one of the old timers in the country. His instant reaction was in the form of a question- When did you come to UAE? I replied to your Highness in 1959, to which he replied, ‘so you came one year before I was born. Sheikh Mohamed is a true President of the people.”

Muhammad Nafees, vice-president of finance, Pakistan Business Council, Dubai, said, “I’ve been a UAE resident for 49 years. I have seen the country come up in front of my eyes. The leadership has taken such good care of the expatriate population. We don’t find such recognition in our own countries. We have rights similar to the citizens in the UAE.”

Nafees said, “The country's future growth depends on three pillars – attracting talent, attracting foreign direct investment, and making UAE a logistics hub. These pillars provide a guaranteed pathway to success.”

Suren Swaminathan, former chairman of the Sri Lankan Business Council and the owner of Alico Suren Agency, said, “One of the best examples of Mohamed bin Zayed set as a leader was during the peak of Covid-19. He ensured the UAE government provided us with the best medical care. He made us feel we are all one.”

Swaminathan added, “He has always been a caring person and never made distinctions based on race or religion. We are blessed to have a leader like him. As far as the business community is concerned, many Sri Lankan businesses have started using UAE as a hub, thanks to what it has achieved during the past couple of years.”

Swaminathan said at least 55 new Sri Lankan business leaders opened operations in the UAE after Dubai Expo 2020.

Malou Q Prado, managing director of MPQ Travel and Tourism, said, “The kind of vision and leadership HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed demonstrates is unparalleled. He has turned UAE into a haven for entrepreneurs, and people are increasingly choosing this country to set up business ventures. He has great plans to improve the economy, and I am sure he will guide the UAE to a bright future.”

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