Here’s our EW round-up of everything that the UAE achieved in 2018!
23 December 2018| Last updated on 14 January 2020
If you’ve lived in the UAE for long, or just moved here
It’s undeniable that this country in the Middle East has grown extensively over the last 47 years.
And while the UAE is still a relatively young country, day by day it proves that age is nothing but a number.
In the 47 years since the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan founded the UAE and combined the 7 emirates together, the UAE has been on a road of success with many more to come in the future.
2018 started off very special and ended very special too.
As part of a continuation of the honouring of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, 2019 was announced to be a year of tolerance and acceptance.
Effective from the first day of 2019, the UAE will become a global capital for tolerance worldwide and will instil the much-needed co-existence values of peace and tolerance in the country, in the region and around the world.
The ‘Year of Tolerance,’ aims to do so through the legislative and policy-oriented goals of the UAE that will act as an inspiring hub for other countries to follow suit.
The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan is the man behind the virtues of tolerance and co-existence in the UAE, which only saw fit that the Year of Tolerance follows such an extraordinary year this year.
1. Year of Zayed
Let’s not forget how 2018 started – with the 100th birthday of the founding father himself.
The UAE made a special dedicated to the UAE’s father in 2018, with every intiative, project and humanitarian movement dedicated to the vision and beliefs he held.
Sheikh Zayed, as many would agree, believed in the virtues of peace, tolerance and co-existence in the country…
Even when the country was young and flourishing, he saw a greater future for his people and the country as a whole.
It was back in 2017 when residents in the UAE were shocked at the news of the introduction of the Value Added Tax (VAT) on all goods and services provided in the country.
In a never before seen move, the UAE was amongst the first in the Middle East to begin adding a tax on goods purchased and sold within the country.
With a 5% add-on, residents may have been panicked as the 2018 New Year rolled in, but they have since adjusted and have enjoyed the many benefits that the UAE offers to all the residents.
2018 may have been the space year for the UAE as it has reached for the stars and put its mark in the space above it – literally.
With the launch of the UAE’s first ever satellite, KhalifaSat, back in October, it was a landmarked event and everyone stood by to witness it.
Launched from the southern tip of Japan, KhalifatSat was entirely designed, tested and manufactured by Emirati engineers at the UAE’s very own space centre – the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre in Abu Dhabi.
And if one wasn’t enough, the UAE also launched another Emirati made satellite into space in November - called MYSAT-1, this student-built satellite will be accompanied KhalifaSAT above the UAE in space.
With advancements in space technologies and projects, the UAE has also been preparing two Emirati astronauts to be blasted into space in 2019.
Both Emirati astronauts, Saif Al Neyadi and Hazza Al Mansouri, will be sent to Russia first for advanced training before the first space mission starts in 2019.
4. Robots everywhere
With technological advancements throughout the year, the UAE was a pioneer in technology, AI and surreal projects.
From driverless taxis, hovering motorbikes, waste shark and more, there was nothing that the UAE achieved in autonomous robots.
The Dubai Police witnessed the very first hovering motorbikes, the waters of Dubai are cleaned via an autonomous robot and Dubai residents were shuttled with the help of driverless taxis…
And the whole world witnessed the country mark itself as a technologically advanced hub.
5. Expats retire
Expats were elated in September when it was announced that expats aged 55 years old and over who wish to settle down post-retirement in the United Arab Emirates can finally do so – given that they can secure a five-year retirement plan.
Most expats moving to the country have to obtain a visa of some sort, which guarantees their stay in the country for a period of time until it gets renewed – causing the UAE to be a home to over 200 nationalities with Emirati nationals only accounting for 20% of the whole population.
Making Dubai the highest city with the most expats in the entire world! It actually beat London, Paris, New York and other cosmopolitan cities.
6. Dubai airport
Having the title of the city with the most expats worldwide, it wasn’t unusual to read that the Dubai International airport was voted the busiest in the month of August – breaking a world record for most passengers.
So much so, that the Dubai-based airport celebrated the arrival of its one billionth flyer in December.
And proving that anything can happen in Dubai, the lucky passenger was a 9 year old boy named Arjun.
7. Expo 2020
It wouldn’t be a UAE best achievement list if we didn’t mention the most anticipated project in the country’s history…Expo 2020.
With less than a year to go, 2018 proved to be a full-geared year towards completing the anticipated project.
And the thirst of the public for information towards the popular project was fed with various teasers about Expo 2020 – from stunt videos, drone videos and special countdown light events…everyone is excitedly awaiting the year 2020.
8. UAE passport
All these amazing projects prove that the UAE and the residents within the country are prosperous, vision-sharing and hardworking individuals that helped the country come a long way.
UAE nationals can now enjoy having the most powerful passport in the world – allowing them to enter 167 countries without the need of a visa.
Topping the list at number 1 in 2018, the UAE passport has beat the UK, Belgium, Austria, Japan, Greece, Portugal, Switzerland, Ireland, Canada and more.
9. UAE national day
Celebrating this amazing country in a special year dedicated to the founding father, the UAE had a magnificent UAE National Day filled with celebrations, fireworks, achievements and cheerfulness.
With parades, fireworks, events, holidays and marches – December 2nd is a day to be held with great pride and happiness for UAE nationals as they share their traditions, history and pride with everyone in the country.
10. New Pet laws
Including our furry friends who also reside in the UAE, it was a great year for their rights as animals in the country.
Pet owners, pet rescuers and pet lovers were elated at the change in UAE laws regarding owners abandoning their pets, which is now punishable by law.
Residents who fail to abide by these new regulations will face legal punishment for doing so.
11. Dubai fitness challenge
An annual effort to keep the country fit and healthy, the Dubai Fitness Challenge started and ended with great results and enthusiasm from UAE residents.
Thousands of residents took part in this month-long health initiative aimed to challenge everyone to 30 minutes of exercise every day in November.
And 2018 saw results like no other year, which proves that the UAE is up for a challenge, no matter how tough or hard it may be.
To a fantastic year, we can’t wait to see what 2019 holds for the UAE!