The Maktoum family have long known that Dubai will have to be about more than oil, and this new initiative continues that plan…

We all know by now that we are moving into a post-oil economy. We also know that a quirk of geology is no longer enough to sustain a country’s economy. Thankfully H.H. Sheikh Rashid Al Maktoum, who ruled Dubai from 1958 to 1990, worked on diversifying the emirate’s economy since day one. And his sons have continued in this vein.

Sheikh Rashid once famously said: “My grandfather rode a camel, my father rode a camel, I drive a Mercedes, my son drives a Land Rover, his son will drive a Land Rover, but his son will ride a camel,” reflecting his knowledge that a reliance on oil would not sustain Dubai’s economy.

Well, many decades after Sheikh Rashid said that – and after boosts to the economy like Emirates airline, Dubai Ports, Dubai Media City and DIFC are well and truly going strong – H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has announced another plan that will boost even more industries in the city and will see 27,000 jobs in Dubai by 2030.

sheikh rashidSheikh Mohammed with his father Sheikh Rashid. 

“Our ambition is to be our nation’s leading global knowledge-based economy,” Sheikh Mohammed said while announcing the plan.

“A sound economy is a diversified, integrated economy,” he explained. He went on to add that the initiative is “an indication of the maturity of the infrastructure and logistics in the UAE”.

The plan has outlined 75 initiatives to help generate an extra Dhs160 billion in Dubai by 2030.

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Here are the strategy’s five key objectives according to Gulf Business

– Increase the total output and value-addition of the manufacturing sector.

– Enhance the depth of knowledge and innovation.

– Make Dubai a preferred manufacturing platform for global businesses

– Promote environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient manufacturing

– Make Dubai a centre for the global Islamic products market

the-planSheikh Mohammed at the launch of the initiative 

So where will the jobs be? Sheikh Mohammed’s plan focuses on boosting six key industries in Dubai, here they are…


Beyond having the world’s largest airline, Dubai also aims to be the global hub for manufacturing spare parts for aircrafts and providing maintenance and repair services. They will also step up aerospace and aviation research and development to boost innovation.


Dubai Maritime City and Dry Docks World will expand activities to attract more ships to the area for maintenance and repair. They will focus on larger ships and offshore structures. They will also boost manufacture of yachts and boats so that people who buy yachts in Dubai can buy one built right here in Dubai.

Aluminum and fabricated metals

The boost in production capacity of metal and aluminum fabrication will ultimately be aimed at attracting more clients to Dubai from the international auto and aerospace industry. Aka, we’ll make more metal so that we can supply more car and aviation brands.


The GCC currently imports 80 per cent of its pharmaceutical requirements – Sheikh Mohammed’s new strategy aims to change that. The first phase will focus on manufacturing cosmeceuticals (cosmetics that are claimed to have medicinal properties) – particularly halal cosmeceuticals.

Initially the focus will be on research and development, and building up the infrastructure to manufacture, then they will aim to make the pharmaceuticals right here in Dubai.

Food & beverage

Countries in the GCC import 70 per cent of its food – and Dubai hopes to play a “significant role” in becoming a hub for food in the region. The strategy will particularly focus on leveraging the growing demand for halal products across the world.

Machinery and equipment

Building machinery and equipment already makes up about 25 per cent of the UAE’s industrial GDP, and the plan wants to continue to grow this area.

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