Posted On 2/15/2017
The Private Sector’s 3rd Meeting in Abu Dhabi discusses the challenges of economic development, education and tourism
Within a series of specialized meetings organized by the Abu Dhabi Chamber and the Department of Economic Development (DED) with representatives of trade, services and industrial sectors in Abu Dhabi, the Chamber and the DED organized an extended third meeting for companies and establishments operating in the educational, tourism and industrial sectors.
The meeting was attended by His Excellency Khalifa Salem Al-Mansouri, Acting Undersecretary of the DED; His Excellency Khalifa Al-Mazroui, Undersecretary of the Department of Municipal Affairs and Transport; His Excellency Seif Saeed Ghabbash, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority; His Excellency Mohamed Helal Al-Muhairi, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Chamber; His Excellency Saeed Issa Al Khaili, Director General of ZonesCorp; His Excellency Eng. Hamad Al-Dhaheri, Executive Director of Private Schools and Quality Assurance Sector at the Abu Dhabi Educational Council; and a number of executive directors and officials from public establishments in Abu Dhabi and more than 200 companies operating in the educational and tourism sectors in the emirate.
Abu Dhabi Educational Council (ADEC), Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (ADTCA) and the Department of Economic Development in Abu Dhabi (DED) made a number of presentations during the meeting on the challenges of the educational and tourism sectors as well as the industrial sector and doing businesses and the facilities the Business center at the DED offers for companies, businessmen and investors.
At the beginning of the meeting, His Excellency Mohamed Helal Al-Muhairi, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Chamber, said that organizing this meeting comes within the efforts of the Chamber and the DED to activate the recommendations and outcomes of Abu Dhabi Business Forum which was conducted in May last year, which emphasized on the importance of helping companies and service providers in a number of key sectors including the tourism and educational ones to confront their challenges by enabling companies and institutes operating in such sectors to play their role in supporting the plans and initiatives of the government towards realizing sustainable development in Abu Dhabi.
Al-Muhairi said that the wise government of Abu Dhabi pays much attention to the private sector to be a real and active partner to the public one in realizing the policy of economic diversification and building sustainable economy based on knowledge according to the economic vision of the emirate.
The tourism and educational sectors are amongst the important ones to the development process of the emirate; they witnessed rapid growth over the past years which resulted in a considerable increase to their contribution to the GDP of the emirate which reflects their strategic role towards the economy.
Economic Development Challenges
For his part, H.E. Khalifa Salem Al-Mansouri, Acting Undersecretary of the DED, pointed to the importance of tourism, educational, industrial and trade sectors in backing the efforts of the emirate in realizing the targets of Abu Dhabi Plan 2016-2020 by increasing the contribution of non-oil sectors to the GDP of the emirate according to Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030.
Al-Mansouri added that the importance of the educational, tourism, industrial and trade sectors to the economy of Abu Dhabi lies in being amongst the most important active contributors to the GDP of the emirate. “By organizing such meetings, the government can observe the most significant challenges these sectors face in order to overcome them and create proper solutions for them so that they can play their role as strategic key supporters to the sustainable development process of Abu Dhabi,” he said.
Al-Mansouri stated that the manufacturing industry is one of the most important economic activities which the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 focuses on to develop the non-oil economy and guaranteeing a more stable economic growth in the emirate as well as developing the structure of the economy through investing in the industries of competitive features while developing industries that depend on technology and innovation to be a supporter to the transformation process into a knowledge-based economy.
He noted that the number of industrial building licenses in 2015 reached 515 licenses; 451 of which are in Abu Dhabi, 39 licenses in Al-Ain and 25 ones in the Western Region. The number of completed industrial building in Abu Dhabi rose from 191 building in 2014 to 259 ones in 2015 with an increase rate of 35.6%; whereas construction of factories takes from 2 – 3 years to finish and enter the stage of operations and production after obtaining the construction license.
Al-Mansouri said that the wise government of the UAE took much care with the human element by utilizing all capabilities and resources towards developing the human resources in line with the development of human resources in the developed countries.
In regard to tourism sector, Al-Mansouri mentioned that Abu Dhabi has strengthened its position as an international tourism destination considering the factors and features it possesses including security and stability, advanced infrastructure which guarantees high-quality services for visitors and tourists, and other attracting projects such as Zayed National Museum and Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum.
Educational Sector Challenges
Private Schools and Quality Assurance Sector at the Abu Dhabi Educational Council took part in the meeting to showcase the challenges of the private educational sector and to find proper solutions to overcome them.
Eng. Hamad Al-Dhaheri, Executive Director of Private Schools and Quality Assurance Sector at the ADEC, said during the meeting that the Council is aware to provide high-quality education to all students and to prepare a generation able to push the wheel of economic and social development process in Abu Dhabi forward.
Al-Dhaheri stated a number of challenges which investors in the educational sector face and showcased the Council’s solutions for them. Amongst these challenges are the many restrictions and requirements required from private schools; and the continuous changes in the policies governing schools. He made clear that the Council is currently working on updating its regulations concerning private schools in Abu Dhabi and after approving these updated regulations, awareness meetings will follow for all private schools in the emirate. And to realize the principle of transparency, the Council took the advice of private schools’ owners and investors while drafting the new policy and will continue on this course when updating the policies every three years to ensure that they cover all the demands of the private sector.
The Executive Director added that the Council always works on improving and developing its services and that is materialized by founding a new electronic system to renew educational licenses for private schools which is considered the first of its kind in the country. the new system saves a lot of time and effort for applying for educational licenses and it was the perfect solution for the difficulties investors face which represented in the long periods of issuing licenses for private schools. Currently the ADEC is drawing a mechanism to approve completed licensing requests during a period of no more than 20 days in coordination with related public authorities and institutions. Besides, the ADCE was linked electronically with the DED to facilitate the procedures of issuing commercial licenses.
Tourism Sector Challenges
Following his participation in the Private Sector’s Third Meeting held by the Abu Dhabi Chamber and the Department of Economic Development on the ongoing challenges facing economic development, education and tourism here in the UAE, H.E. Saif Saeed Ghobash, Director General of TCA Abu Dhabi said:
“We are optimistic for Abu Dhabi’s tourism prospects over the upcoming period. TCA Abu Dhabi has continued to achieve promising results in the sector by working alongside our stakeholders and ensuring the continued development of our projects. The new visa issuing system will secure efficiency and ensure growth in the tourism sector as a result of the ongoing support and management provided by the Ministry of Interior.”
“We aim to work closely with our partners in the private sector in order to maintain a sustainable increase in visitor numbers to the emirate and secure further growth in the industry.” He added.