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UAE is all set to become the next financial and tech hub

No.1 passport

UAE has overtaken Singapore and Germany as the country with the world’s most powerful passport. According to Passport Index, UAE passport holders are now able to gain entry to 167 countries without obtaining a prior visa — 113 countries visa-free, and another 54 using visas on arrival. The UAE passport was on 27th position in December 2016, and now has attained first place globally in December 2018. The number one spot in the Global Passport Index was achieved just as the UAE celebrates its 47th National Day and its achievements since 1971. The exceptional achievement on 1st December 2018, coincides with the ‘Year of Zayed’ and is added to country’s numerous accomplishments in various domains.

Cryptocurrency

Emcash is Dubai’s digital currency launched by emCredit, a state-backed subsidiary of the Dubai Department of Economic Development. The launch confirms Dubai’s status as a global blockchain innovation center and the first global capital to afford citizens the option to make essential payments on a digital currency. Consumers in Dubai, UAE will be able to use digital currency to make retail payments in-store, pay for government utilities, telecommunication, and school fees in government shopfronts via EmCash. Bringing blockchain-based payments technology into the government sphere is a major development for the technology as it confirms Dubai’s status as an international tech hub. Deploying cutting-edge technology such as blockchain is a key priority of UAE government and is delivering benefits to the citizens in the form of convenience and securities to customers and merchants across Dubai.

Space missions

United Arab Emirates (UAE) is currently working with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to build an orbiter named “Hope” to be launched in 2020 and to reach Mars in 2021. The government has declared 2020 as the “Unique year for space sector” and is likely to host an astronautical congress then. UAE has so far invested $5.4 billion in the program, part of a plan to diversify its economy away from oil and gas by developing new areas of expertise. It hopes to become the first Arab state to send a mission to the red planet, by designing, developing, manufacturing and eventually controlling a probe. The country doesn’t have its own rocket technology so it will have to rely on companies such as Mitsubishi or Elon Musk’s SpaceX to carry the payload into space. The space program is unique to the Arab world and the UAE aims to become a regional hub for space technology.

 

Largest sports mall

Dubai-based Viva City announced plans to build the world’s largest commercial sports mall, adding to Dubai’s growing list of the world’s tallest and biggest creations. The mall will have three floors, with a total area equal to 12 football pitches. The ground floor will have ample space for organizing sporting events, while the other two levels will feature retail outlets from the most prominent international sports brands. There will also be dedicated spaces for multiple sports activities, in addition to numerous different restaurants and cafes. It’s set to open in 2020 and will be located near Deira City Centre.

Safest city

According to a travel magazine, UAE is the world’s second safest place to visit after Iceland, beating countries including Singapore, the United States and popular European destinations. UAE is also the third least likely country on the index to suffer from a natural disaster, after Barbados and Iceland.

UAE is also low-risk for health concerns according to NHS Fit for Travel. Abu Dhabi has been ranked the safest city in the world for the second year, with Dubai close behind in 11th place, according to Numbeo, a website for crowd-sourced global data, which has placed the capital first and given the lowest crime index of more than 300 cities. It is for this very reason that 2-3 million Pakistani expats call UAE their ‘second home’ from where they send valuable foreign exchange to Pakistan in form of home remittances.

The writer is a Karachi based freelance columnist and is a banker by profession. He could be reached on Twitter @ReluctantAhsan

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