By Dr. Bayad Jamal Ali:
With the current ongoing drop in oil prices, each country that has an oil-dependent economy is finding solutions and alternatives in order to cope with this. Some countries are undertaking austerity measures, others are borrowing money to cover expenses, and some are increasing exports like Iraq and Kurdistan; however, the United Arab Emirates is getting ready to celebrate the export of its last barrel of oil.
In a very bold and impressive move, the UAE crafted and announced a new policy which is called the Science, Technology & Innovation Policy, in which they have allocated 300 billion Dirhams (85 billion US Dollars) to be invested in initiatives that will enhance the non-oil economy of the United Arab Emirates. According to the announcement of the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, this initiative has been supported through changes in legislation to minimize the government constraints on innovation, financial support, and practical initiatives. These investments and policies will be all in support of the non-oil economy, and to focus on health and education, energy, transport, water and technology, expanding solar energy, nuclear research and R&D in the fields of robotics, artificial intelligence and genomics and will continue into 2021. As Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum states: “Our goal is the development of a non-oil knowledge economy”
In an earlier article, “Kurdistan’s Dutch Disease”, the role of oil and the oil-dependent economy was discussed, and in another article, “The Dilemma of Kurdistan’s Black Gold”, the reaction and response of these oil-dependent economies, and especially Kurdistan, was discussed. However, today we will discuss: does Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has a vision for its people?
Every person, organization, company and government needs a vision, and should craft a strategy and plan to reach that vision. If we keep comparing ourselves to the rest of Iraq and we say we are doing better than them, that would be a huge mistake and we will continue deceiving ourselves, but if we benchmark our practices with successful countries then we will keep trying to be better for our future generations. Dubai started the preparations and plan for Dubai Expo 2020 ten years earlier, in 2010. And today it has announced a vision for 2021. As a citizen of Kurdistan, do you know your government’s vision? Do you know what their plans are? And do you know that, out of 21 ministries of the KRG, only 8 of them have working websites?