His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum

In many ways, 2016 marks a year in which Dubai has proved the strength of its economic foundations. At a time when the world is grappling with many economic challenges, our economy is showing itself to be stable with a strong momentum for growth.

Our investment to reinforce the foundations of stable, diversified growth has shown clear results. The economy is growing sustainably led by diverse sectors including logistics, aviation, production, manufacturing, trade, tourism, hospitality, engineering, finance, media, and real estate. Building on our diversity to strengthen our economy and protect it against the instabilities of global markets continues to be a key priority for us.

In Dubai, as in the UAE, diversity is not limited to the economy. It is part of the very fabric of the country. The country is a model for tolerance and coexistence. Every day, I am reminded of the sheer diversity and strength of the UAE in my meetings with business leaders and professionals from across our economy. Dubai is home to over 200 nationalities, a place where people from all over the world live in harmony, taking pride in contributing to the success of one of the world's great cities. Much of this is a reflection of our heritage. From our earliest days, we have welcomed trade and talent, ideas and inspiration from outside our borders.

This far-sightedness has inspired another key strength – the development of a culture of innovation. President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan declared 2015 as the 'Year of Innovation' to celebrate and further reinforce this spirit of innovation. We are determined to establish environments that nurture innovative thinking in our economy and our communities, universities, and schools. Innovation is vital to building a glorious future for the UAE.

Indeed, over the years, innovative ideas have accelerated Dubai's and the UAE's economic evolution and created centers for nurturing further innovation. We launched Dubai Internet City in 1999, a free zone that is today one of the world's most vibrant knowledge-economy clusters. Last year, Dubai was recognized as one of the most important new start-up hubs in the world.

Our diversity and our spirit of innovation will be highlighted to a global audience when we host Expo 2020 in four years' time. We look forward to welcoming people from across the world at the landmark event that is being held under the theme of “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future." It will be an opportunity for Dubai and the UAE to showcase its success in realizing its vision.

Increasingly, the world is coming to Dubai to experience this exhilarating spirit of endeavor for themselves. Our goal is to welcome 20 million visitors per year to Dubai by the year 2020, and we are well on our way to achieving our target.

Dubai's growth and accomplishments have been built on a vision to create a great destination that provides a strategic meeting point for markets and cultures from around the world. As Dubai matures, it is this vision that we strive to build on.