Q: What is your economic vision for Ras Al Khaimah and what your goals are for the development of the emirate? How well do you think this vision is being achieved?
A: Since the establishment of the United Arab Emirates, the great transformation we have achieved as a country has taught us lessons that we have learnt about what we can and should do in the future. For us, first of all, we want to care for our people, to see how we can make economic development about them, how to make it reach them. They need to become the engines of this development.
Education is very important. The greatest challenge we have is no longer the eradication of illiteracy, but how to make our country internationally competitive in terms of its educational standards. At the same time, we must maintain our competitive advantage as an attractive place for business.
The UAE has become a hub, from east to west and from north to south. People from all around the world choose to connect with each other here. Tourism is an industry that holds great potential for us and is a major area for development. We expect that the next few years will see growing numbers of tourists come to enjoy Ras Al Khaimah’s beautiful landscapes, our sunny beaches, the sand dunes, the mountains, the great history and the warm hospitality of our people. Along with our convenient location, stability and social services, these are advantages that we will continue to showcase.
Our aim now is to learn from the past, to build upon our successes and avoid repeating our mistakes. We need to think about how to organise ourselves as a society, as a nation, as an emirate, and how to develop Ras Al Khaimah into a real asset for our country.
Q: How important is foreign investment for you? Is it a top priority?
A: Many countries make a distinction between local businesses and foreign-owned businesses. Here, we want to help everyone – after all, our local entrepreneurs need a hospitable, efficient regulatory system to succeed, just like international investors. The same fair set of rules should apply to everybody. One measure of success is how much foreign investment we are receiving; Ras Al Khaimah’s popularity indicates that our policies have put us on the right track.
Q: What are you expecting in terms of growth in the short term? What is your outlook?
A: We have weathered the global economic recession with good numbers. I am looking forward to what comes next, and am optimistic that we will continue to do even better. The recovery of the world economy is creating good opportunities for us and I am confident that we will be able to seize them, having done the hard work of improving our agencies and institutions and building a better environment.