Illustration by Joaquín Kunkel
50% Discount on UAE traffic fines
On Dec. 1, Abu Dhabi Police announced a 50 percent reduction in all traffic fines in Abu Dhabi obtained between Aug. 1 and Dec. 1. In the evening of Dec. 1, a tweet from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, announced the reductions for all of the Emirates. UAE citizens will be able to pay their discounted traffic fines from the morning of Dec. 2 until Jan. 2 in all Road and Transport Authority branches and through RTA’s official website. Despite the coincidence of the reduction in traffic fines and the UAE’s 46th National Day. However, His Excellency Major-General Mohammed Khalfan Al Rumaithi, Commander in Chief of Abu Dhabi Police, provided an alternative explanation for the discount in an interview with Gulf News: “This drive aims to spread the culture of road safety and encourage motorists to obey traffic rules.”
National Day Hype
On Dec. 2 1971, the emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah and Umm al-Quwain unified in a federal government, forming the United Arab Emirates. On Nov. 29, NYU Abu Dhabi held an event in celebration of the UAE national day with an array of activities in the campus main plaza commemorating UAE’s traditions.
On Dec. 2, the UAE was filled with activities such as traditional rowing races, concerts and Rugby 7’s . Government-owned telecommunications companies Du and Etisalat also commemorated the day by changing their career logo on mobile phones to UAE46. Google joined the celebrations by creating a Doodle, showcasing the UAE’s national colors together with an Arabian oryx and a peregrine falcon, the country’s two celebrated animals. UAE leaders made their annual announcements on National Day with His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, making a tribute to the work of the founding fathers who laid the basis for the current development of the UAE. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and the Prime Minister of the UAE, focused his remarks on the unity of the seven emirates which he said make the UAE invulnerable to attempts to undermine the nation.
Report by the Institute of International Finance confirms UAE’s economic growth
The annual report by the Institute of International Finance described the UAE as one of the best managed economies, on track to become the best performer in the Middle East and North Africa in the upcoming years. The IIF’s chief economist highlighted that the UAE continues to be driven by trade, tourism and a diversified business-friendly economy. All of these factors are essential for the country’s growth, including the non-oil sector where a 3.5 percent growth has been projected for 2018. The estimate for UAE’s real GDP in 2017 is 1.3 percent based on the latest projections by the International Monetary Fund and is expected to double in 2018. This year’s lower GDP can be explained by oil production cuts imposed by Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, but the more flexible agreements with the organization together with the upcoming Expo 2020 will help the UAE bounce back.
Khaleej Times interviewed His Excellency Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, who said that even though this year’s macroeconomic challenges posed a strain on the economy, the growth momentum is expected to be back on track as the UAE becomes an innovation-driven economy. The Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018 ranks the UAE on the 17th place, the first among Arab countries.
Andrea Arletti is Deputy News Editor. Email him at [email protected]