Dubai launches global development foundation

Friday 16/10/2015
Sheikh Mo­hammed: We will not turn our backs on our region

LONDON - Dubai has launched an ambitious initiative de­signed to consolidate a wide range of charitable and human develop­ment endeavours around the world with a focus on the Middle East.

The “Mohammed Bin Rashid al-Maktoum Global Initiatives” in­cludes 28 organisations under its umbrella, with activities ranging from fighting poverty and illness to supporting education and em­powering communities. The foun­dation will implement about 1,400 human development programmes in more than 100 countries.

“Today we are embarking on a new beginning. My invitation is open to all countries, international foundations and organisations to participate with us in bringing new hope for our region,” Sheikh Mo­hammed Bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the emir of Dubai, said October 4th on the launch of the initiative.

A board of trustees, made up of representatives from the organisa­tions that make up the foundation, will manage the initiative. Sheikh Mohammed is to serve as chair­man.

“The objectives of the founda­tion have been well-received by our community,” Sheikh Ham­dan bin Mohammed al-Maktoum, crown prince of Dubai, said. “The new foundation complements the previous efforts of Sheikh Mo­hammed and its establishment paves the way for a new phase of philanthropic and developmental activities. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid’s philanthropic vision and philosophy is similar to his vision and philosophy for other sectors.”

Sheikh Mohammed instructed the board to prepare an execu­tive plan with the goal of reaching 130 million people in the next ten years. The foundation is to operate in 116 countries but will mostly fo­cus on the Arab region.

“The Arab region is undergoing massive challenges and these chal­lenges will continue for decades to come. We will not turn our backs on our region. We will provide our support, and bring hope in a better future for our youth,” Sheikh Mo­hammed said.

“The world has spent tens of billions on addressing global chal­lenges. If only a quarter of this amount was spent on development in our region, we would overcome our challenges and our people could overcome their difficulties to restore their role in building vi­brant societies which contribute to the development and well-being of mankind.”

“What we will focus on in the near future is the region because this region is going through trouble and a crisis,” Mohammed al-Gerga­wi, the UAE’s minister for cabinet affairs, said, emphasising that the initiative’s primary goal is “human development.”

In the last few years, the organi­sations that make up the new ini­tiative have spent more than $2 bil­lion in more than 100 countries and has benefited millions of people. Those programmes have seen the construction or restoration of more than 2,000 schools and education­al facilities, education initiatives that have supported more than 10 million children and training pro­grammes that have seen more than 400,000 teachers qualified.

Sheikh Mohammed’s new initia­tive will have an annual operating budget of more than $272 million. How much of the overall figure constitutes new funding remains unclear.

The new foundation will also work on supporting innovation and scientific projects.

According to the initiative’s mis­sion statement, 5,000 innovators and researchers are set to benefit from more than $1 billion in grants. The institution will also focus on fostering entrepreneurship by supporting and nurturing 50,000 young entrepreneurs and support­ing the establishment of new com­panies that will provide 500,000 job opportunities in the region.

Concerning the fight against pov­erty and disease, organisations af­filiated with the new foundation have worked on the prevention and treatment of blindness in 23 million people as well as providing more than 81 million vaccines to prevent blindness and eye disease, in addition to treating 3.6 million children for intestinal diseases and the construction and support of 46 hospitals around the world.

They also worked on supporting and providing humanitarian relief to more than 1.5 million families in 40 countries.