* UAE will mark its 45th National Day On December 2
* UAE has come a long way since 1971, from a desert country to a modern marvel
* Country has many firsts to its name, including world’s tallest building and longest fully automated metro network
* Major investments in energy also underway with Barakah nuclear plant and Solar Park
* Expo 2020 and Hope Mars Mission are two other major milestones
The United Arab Emirates is going to mark the 45th anniversary of the country’s establishment on December 2. Since 1971, it has travelled a long way from a desert country to a modern marvel.
Under the leadership of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Arab country at the southeast end of the Arabian Peninsula on the Arabian Gulf has made several major achievments in the past ten years.
Here are the top seven:
UAE is home to the tallest structure in the world, The Burj Khalifa. Located in Downtown Dubai, the skyscraper stands at 829.8 metres. The construction of 163-storey mixed use development began in January 2004 and was completed December 2009 at a cost of $1.5 billion.
The Emaar Properties-owned tower opened its doors on January 4, 2010. The Tower at Dubai Creek Harbour, another mega project under construction in Dubai, is expected to beat the record of Burj Khalifa as the highest building when completed in 2020. It will stand 829.8m tall.
The world’s longest fully automated metro network also is in the UAE. Dubai Metro, which opened to the public on September 9, 2009, is the most used transportation mode in the multicultural emirate.
With two lines –the Red Line and the Green Line – and 49 stations, the driverless Dubai Metro transports more than 400,000 people daily. Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority is in the process of extending the rail network to link it to the site of Expo 2020.
When the extended line goes operational on May 20, 2020, it will add another 15km to the 74.6km-long rail network with an additional seven stations.
Also Read: Dubai in 2020: What will it look like?
Barakah Nuclear Power Plant
Following the signing of Section 123 Agreement for peaceful nuclear cooperation with the US in December, 2009, the UAE began the construction of Barakah Nuclear Power Plant in 2012 to meet its growing electricity demand.
The construction of the first reactor unit in the plant was completed in 2015. The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has said the plant will start partial operation in 2017. When all four units are completed in 2020, the plant is expected to provide nearly a quarter of the nation’s electricity needs.
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park
Dubai has another dream to chase: the largest single-site solar park in the world. As part of Sheikh Mohammed’s vision to meet 75 per cent of all the emirate’s energy needs from sustainable sources by 2050, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park was launched.
The first phase of the proposed 1,000 MW park was completed in 2013 and the second phase is expected to be concluded in April 2017. The total capacity of the entire project is planned to reach 5,000 MW when it goes fully operational in 2030.
Also Read: Dubai makes big steps to chase solar dreams
The oil-rich country does care about the environment. Masdar City, located in the capital emirate of Abu Dhabi, is the living proof. The project, billed to be the world’s most sustainable eco-city, was built by Masdar, a subsidiary of Mubadala Development Company, and it relies on solar energy and other renewable energy sources. Construction of the 6 square kilometre-city project began in 2008 , and nearly 300,000 square metres were completed in 2016. The city is already a hub for cleantech companies such as Siemens and Mitsubishi. It is also home to the energy watch dog International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)’s headquarters. The project estimated to cost US$18-22 billion.
Hope Mars Mission
Mars is the ultimate limit of the country’s dreams. President Sheikh Khalifa announced in July 2014 that the UAE will send an unmanned probe to the Red Planet by 2020.
If realised, this will become the first-ever mission to Mars by any Arab country. The probe, called Hope, under the Emirates Mars Mission, is scheduled to reach Mars in 2021, which coincides with the 50th anniversary of the country’s formation.
In 2015, the UAE won the race to hold the Expo 2020. Dubai will be hosting Expo 2020, the first World Expo to take place in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region.
The organisers of the six-month mega event are expecting 25 million unique visitors from more than 180 nations between October 20, 2020, and April 10, 2021.
In September 2015, the initial development of the 438-hectare site, which is connected to three international airports, began. Today, more than 4.7 million cubic metres at the site in the Dubai South district have been excavated as part of the construction. Till date, more than 8,000 local and international companies have registered on the procurement portal for the event, billed as the third-largest in the world, after the Olympics and the Football World Cup.