The United Arab Emirates is dressing up and with good reason. As it does every second of December, the Emirates celebrates its anniversary, on this occasion, praising its fifty years as a country that has managed to establish itself as one of the richest and most influential in the Gulf.
Under the motto "spirit of unity", the Emirates today honours its founding fathers under the figure of the leader who managed to restructure the state, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
On this occasion, the country has decided to immortalise the historic image of its birth by paying tribute to the "founding fathers of the Federation" who worked to pass a constitution and sign a founding document, initiating the founding of the country as such. The country is expected to celebrate the anniversary with an air show, concerts, parades, theatrical performances and fireworks.
The location chosen for the celebration is an area with a remarkable history: the mountainous region of Hatta, located 130 kilometres southeast of Dubai. According to Dubai's vice president and ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Hatta represents "the culture and identity of all parts of our country," he said on his Twitter account. The UAE is thus expected to celebrate its "golden jubilee" in a context in which it is accelerating steps to implement "the Fifty Principles" that seek to strengthen its unity and leadership, as well as safeguard its values.
Looking back, the UAE has made significant achievements in just five decades that have made it one of the most influential countries in the world. One of these has been its ability to attract foreign populations. In the UAE, this sector of the population represents almost 90 % of the country's population. With a total of ten million inhabitants, the Emirates has grown substantially over the past five decades, leaving behind the 300,000 inhabitants it had when the federation was born.
Boasting tall skyscrapers rising in the middle of an arid desert, Dubai has established itself as a powerful financial capital. Among them is one of the world's tallest skyscrapers, the 828-metre-high Burj Khalifa.
The country's rapid economic consolidation is directly related to its significant crude oil reserves, in addition to its link to gas supplies. Fossil fuels have played a fundamental role in the country's economic development, something that Emirates wants to diversify from in order to make way for non-renewable energies and other sectors such as tourism and economic investment.
It is in this field where Emirates has been able to carry out important strategies such as the liberalisation of its laws in order to attract major investments, branding itself as a "zero tax" country. They have also managed to lift a veto on property ownership for non-locals, allowing them to take full control of their businesses.
As the second largest economy in the Arab world after Saudi Arabia, the UAE has also been able to pursue active and resolute diplomacy with its neighbours, such as Egypt and Iraq. Beyond this, one of the UAE's greatest diplomatic achievements has been the approval of the Abraham Accords, pacts that normalised diplomatic relations with Israel, something historic that has brought with it the reactivation of an assiduous diplomacy in the region.
In addition, the UAE has led a strong vaccination campaign against COVID-19. The country managed to distribute more than 20 million vaccines internationally to a total of 26 countries.
In addition, its 50th anniversary coincides with the Dubai Expo 2020, the first expo to be held in the MENA region. The event is expected to generate more than 200,000 new jobs and a total of 25 million to 100 million tourists visiting the country.