Dubai: K.T. Abdurabb
Published — Tuesday 12 February 2013
Last update 11 February 2013 11:12 pm
Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum told journalists and participants at the Government Summit that opened at Madinat Jumeirah Hotel in Dubai on Monday that the United Arab Emirates has received about AED 30 billion in investments from Arab Spring countries since protests began three years ago, but the UAE has invested much more in them.
The Government Summit, billed as the largest government gathering in the region and the Arab world, serves as a new platform to develop government work and services and to enable the government sector to achieve excellence, which is crucial to achieving Vision 2021.
While addressing those gathered on “Leading Government Services,” he urged young UAE nationals to learn from the summit in order to increase their knowledge of international best practices and to develop their capabilities in public administration, management and leadership and other areas of interest.
“My nation and I always try to be the first, because no one remembers the second,” Sheikh Mohammed said in response to another question.
“If you have a long-term vision, it only gets broader as you keep learning from your mistakes,” he said.
“Politicians have to undertake radical reformation otherwise their people will be disenchanted,” he said. “A true leader is the one who makes his people happy and strives to serve the interests of his nation, preserve national pride and achieve higher national interests,” he added.
Sheikh Mohammed said the two-day summit has attracted a galaxy of prominent local, Arab and international experts and leaders from more than 30 countries in addition to more than 2,500 participants from the UAE and nearby countries. Some 150 experts will speak during 30 panels. Sheikh Mohammed said the current interaction and integration between the UAE federal and local governments was “not enough,” saying, “We want further cooperation and integration to leverage our State and our institutions to the international standards which we aspire to in all fields and sectors, especially the government sectors so that we can provide the best services to customers.” The aim of the summit, he noted, is to achieve welfare for UAE society by upgrading the education system, through providing justice for all, through offering job opportunities for young people and through the development of infrastructure projects. He said, “We are an authority for people, not over people ... a director in any department has been appointed to assist customers and to facilitate their transactions without delay under any circumstances.”
The word “impossible” has no place in our lexicon ... this word is only used by the weak and lazy who fear challenges because if a person questions his abilities and confidence, he will lose the way to success and excellence.
Speaking about his vision for the government of the future in the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed said, “I want a government that toils around the clock to make the citizen happy ... A government that is very close to the people and acts like an airline, which welcomes all customers with whom it deals, and like a hotel,which welcomes its guest ... I want the citizen to be able to process all his government transactions on a one-mobile stop shop.’
While answering a question from a child about Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, Sheikh Mohammed recalled that the designs had envisaged a tower not higher than 80 floors. “But I pondered deeply and decided to have the tallest and most wonderful structure in the world, a premier attractive tourist destination. The Dubai Downtown, adjacent to Burj Khalifa, is today attracting thousands of tourists from across the world. The high-rise building was named after President Sheikh Khalifa because such a famous, majestic landmark should be associated with great men.”
Sheikh Mohammed rejected the idea of serious risks when planning and implementing new mega developments, whether in Dubai or the UAE at large.
“Risk is part of any work a man or state could do and life is fraught with risks and challenges ... A hard-won success has a special, delicious taste ... Success and excellence are born out of challenges especially when that success is meant for the homeland and its fruit is picked up by the citizen.” Addressing a question about leadership, Sheikh Mohammed indicated that it is hereditary in some cases but should be developed and sharpened by expertise, practice and learning. Leadership is an art of shrewdness and smartness and not every leader is successful and enjoys the qualities and traits of a leadership of genius, he said.