The Cabinet approved the UAE’s 2024 plan, during its first meeting of the year on Friday.

The plan, as set out by President Sheikh Mohamed on Union Day, will focus on implementing national priorities.

A key pillar of the plan is continuing national efforts to keep sustainability at the forefront of development, to honour the UAE Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, as announced at Expo City Dubai in December.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, said that 2024 will be a “new milestone for even greater developmental achievements” in a post shared on X, formerly known as Twitter.

He said the Cabinet also reviewed and commended the UAE’s accomplishments in 2023, during the meeting held at the Presidential Palace on Friday.

These include the Zayed Housing Programme, a funding scheme aimed at improving the quality of life of UAE citizens.

“More than 4,300 housing decisions were issued with a total value of Dh3.2 billion from the Zayed Housing Programme,” he said.

“The citizens’ ownership rate of homes across all housing programmes in the country reached 90 per cent, making it the second-highest home ownership rate globally.”

Sheikh Mohammed also praised the successful Emiratisation drive – the Nafis Programme – under which 92,000 Emiratis have joined the private sector since the scheme launched in September 2021.

He said that Emiratisation will remain a priority for the Cabinet in its follow-up meetings in 2024 and the UAE will continue to improve the efficiency of the labour market by launching the Emirates Labour Market Award and adopting the Optional Alternative Voluntary End of Service System.

The Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai also said that the UAE’s non-oil gross domestic product (GDP) had achieved a growth rate of 5.9 per cent in the first nine months of 2023.

“The country secured the top spot globally in more than 215 developmental, economic and human indicators in international reports,” he said.

The UAE’s hospitality sector also grew by 11.6 per cent, thanks to the growing number of visitors to tourist destinations and international events hosted by the UAE.

Sheikh Mohammed also acknowledged the success of the National Legislative Plan for 2023.

“A total of 73 federal laws were issued in 2023, including 10 laws introduced for the first time in the country within the legislative framework, with the participation of 1,500 specialists and 50 government teams,” he said.

He noted that the Cabinet had approved 60 national policies and strategies, along with 62 international agreements.

“The year 2023 marked the most legislatively active year in the history of the country,” he added.

The Cabinet also reviewed updates on the progress of the GCC joint economic work from 2022. The total value of trade exchange between the UAE and the GCC countries reached Dh287 billion.

The UAE’s exports to the Gulf countries reached Dh80 billion, marking an increase of 12 per cent compared to 2021. Imports also grew to Dh70 billion, an increase of 25 per cent compared to the previous year.

Sheikh Mohammed praised President Sheikh Mohamed for his leadership and said 2023 was a successful year for the country, which saw the UAE host the Cop28 climate conference in Dubai, as well as the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre’s successful space mission.

“The year 2023 was exceptional under the leadership of my brother, Mohamed bin Zayed,” he said.

“It witnessed economic growth in the UAE, significant global political presence, scientific advancements, and new developments in education and healthcare.

“The year 2024 will be a new milestone for even greater developmental achievements with a stronger momentum across all sectors, God willing.”

The Cabinet also approved an agreement between the UAE government and the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Albania to boost security and combat terrorism.

The second approved agreement brings together the UAE government and Kazakhstan to build a wind power plant, while the third involves a collaboration between the UAE Cybersecurity Council and the International Telecommunication Union, with the aim of ensuring a secure cyber environment.

Also confirmed was the hosting of three events in the UAE, including the Second Gulf Metrology Forum, the thirteenth session of the Annual Investment Meeting and the sixth Applied Linguistics and Language Teaching International Conference and Exhibition.