How do you assess Abu Dhabi's rapid development and urbanization toward one of the world's top Emirates, especially for business?
Thanks to the wise leadership of HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and that of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan who succeeded him, in just 50 years the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and indeed the whole nation, has grown to become one of the most important economic centers, both regionally and globally. Al Ain was, of course, particularly blessed, because 20 years earlier Sheikh Zayed was appointed ruler's representative in the Eastern Region of Abu Dhabi and he drove the region's economy through maintaining and expanding the 3,000 year old falaj system, which began the initiation of an expansive green program, laying out a city plan and effectively founding modern day Al Ain. It is our responsibility to maintain this tradition of thorough, well-prepared plans that are properly implemented with a high standard of construction and continued maintenance, so that we can move toward the goal of positioning the Abu Dhabi government among the top five governments in the world.
What is the role of Al Ain Municipality on the implementation of Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030?
Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 is a detailed and comprehensive document that focuses on the important links between urban planning, major infrastructure, and economic development. The Vision 2030 states that Al Ain is a knowledge center, a name developed due to numerous quality museums, universities, and healthcare infrastructure. While the coastline will attract the majority of business, Al Ain should maintain the core focuses that characterize the city. Lifestyle quality is essential, not the quality of shopping facilities and large buildings. Tourism will, therefore, contribute to the Emirate through the attraction of natural heritage, and quiet, but pleasant lifestyle. We are dedicated to the principle that growth will not sacrifice rich cultural and environmental heritage. We work with both the Municipality in Abu Dhabi and the Urban Planning Council, and are sometimes requested to implement aspects of the Vision 2030 policies, particularly when projects require detailed master planning, the construction of local roads, infrastructure, landscaping, coordination of the delivery of community services and so on.
What is your strategy to cope with the growth population in the Emirate and to attract expatriates to Al Ain?
Al Ain City Municipality assists the Abu Dhabi Housing Authority and the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council as they prepare plans to address matters related to population growth. However, after new housing and industrial developments are delivered, our work does not stop as the community still needs integrated facilities and services. The allocation of land for these facilities, coordinating the provision of the facilities with the relevant agencies is an important responsibility that we are currently working hard to fulfill.
In 2015, you signed a partnership with Injazat to implement a comprehensive Business Integration Platform. What are your objectives to support smart government initiatives in order to enhance your operational efficiency, accountability, and transparency?
Our Business Integration Platform has been set up for two main purposes: firstly, to enable private organizations and other government entities to link with Al Ain City Municipality's internal services; and, secondly, to improve internal business systems within the municipality. The platform works today with 12 different partners, enabling access to 22 government services and six Al Ain City Municipality service points. It also ties together, electronically, the systems of all three municipalities: Al Ain Municipality, the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City, and the Western Region Municipality. This facilitates safe and secure communication between businesses, regulators, and local government entities, while also providing ease of access and top-tier services. The platform is provided through an operating lease between Injazat and the three municipalities; however, there is also official documentation with 19 government entities and with commercial real estate offices that access the Property Owners Services System. In partnership with the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City and the Western Region Municipality, we plan to continue to develop this platform and will use it to further the integration of municipal services and the improvement of service delivery to businesses.