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Mo’ money, (no) mo’ problems
Are the latest investments in the Northern Emirates mere distraction tactics, or do they really address the issues frustrating people in the area?
March 13, 2011 4:25 by Precious de Leon
In a post-mortem hit, rapper Notorious B.I.G. sang about how the more money he got, the more problems he had. But the UAE is hoping for exactly the opposite in the Northern Emirates, where more investments are being made at a time when unrest in the Middle East is rife.
Kipp has already reported there have been hints of political reform movements in the seemingly more docile areas of the Middle East. For example, countries like Saudi Arabia are drawing from reserves to fund benefits for Saudis worth $36 billion, while permanent state jobs were ordered for those on temporary contracts to possibly keep protests at bay.
While no one is saying the UAE is at risk for revolt, the UAE federal government does seems to be making some pre-emptive efforts as well. As early as mid-February, Sheikh Mohammad visited the Northern Emirates reportedly on directives from President HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to meet with local officials and with hosts of nationals to learn about their conditions and needs. Special attention was given to advancing living standards from healthcare to housing and education.
The visit resulted in the UAE Executive Council doubling money available to the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development to $2 billion this month and “expanding it to include financing for projects in the Northern Emirates” to boost entrepreneurship, as The National reports. The fund is set to also open branches in Fujairah and Ajman before the summer.
This follows news of the President approving a $1.6 billion investment to boost water and electricity networks in the Northern Emirates, from Umm Al Quwain to Fujairah, as reported in Arab News. And the 50 villas that will be reportedly replaced in Kalba and 50 more in Umm Al Quwain, as reported in Gulf News.
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