Earlier this year, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the prime minister of UAE and ruler of Dubai, announced the creation of a minister of state for happiness, as part of a major government shake-up. He said the move was intended “to create social good and satisfaction.”
Nevertheless, the UAE , in many respects, has plenty of reasons to be cheerful. One major reason is the UAE’s upturn in the economy, which is attracting more foreign investors to start trading with firms like IG. So, it may be time for your business to explore and take advantage of the UAE’s newfound merriment measures.
The importance of happiness in the UAE
At the World Government Summit in February, Sheikh Mohammed said:
“Governments must be flexible. We don’t need more ministries, but more ministers capable of dealing with change. We want a young and flexible government that will fulfill our youth’s aspirations and achieve our people’s ambitions.”
To this end, Ohood Al Roumi was appointed as the UAE’s new Minister of Happiness. Speaking for the first time publicly, Al Roumi said that the UAE was following UN advice to look at happiness as a holistic approach for development.
“The role of the government is to create an environment where people can flourish – can reach their potential – and choose to be happy,” she revealed to CNN. “Happiness is a serious job for governments.”
Even though the UAE was named the happiest country in the region, it ranked 28th place worldwide according to last year’s UN World Happiness Report. But after Al Roumi’s appointment and the country’s current economic position, it could soon challenge Denmark, Switzerland and Iceland, who occupied the top three slots.
The influence of happiness on the economy
In an article on The Gulf Today, Inayat-ur-Rahman said that the move to create a ‘Happiness Ministry’ has been met with jubilation by the whole nation. Furthermore, the government’s “far-reaching and visionary initiatives” are bringing optimism to a cross-section of UAE business heavyweights.
Mohammad Hassan Masood, General Manager at Ramada Hotel and Suites, and Ras Al Khaimah, Director at GHM Group, both agreed that the UAE’s forward-thinking attitude demonstrates the love and affection the rulers have for residents, which in turn could position the country as a magnet for tourists and trade.
Shan Saeed, Chief Economist at IQI Holdings, also felt that the timing of the ministry was spot on. In contrast to a gloomy global outlook, the UAE economy continues to perform admirably, with non-oil private sector growth regaining momentum through the second quarter, reaching an eight-month high.
“Moreover the UAE will remain on the investor’s radar and Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum is a strategic leader who would guide Dubai to the next level of progression,” he added. “His initiative will bolster the UAE economy at the macro level and bring robust strength to the structural reforms of increasing tax to GDP ratio.”
With a feel-good factor and positivity about the future, businesses in the UAE should grasp the chance for growth. Wider confidence in the economy should translate to confidence in individual businesses and a spur for innovation.