His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Launches Foundation to Promote
With $10 Billion
Al Habtoor Information and Research
His Highness, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime
Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, recently launched the
'Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation', a major initiative to promote human
development and provide hope and opportunity by investing in education and
knowledge-development in the region. His Highness, Sheikh Mohammed, made the
announcement in a keynote speech at the World Economic Forum for the Middle East
being held in Jordan.
The Foundation, which will be launched with an endowment of $10 billion, aims to
open doors for future generations of leaders of the region to shape their future
by equipping them with world-class knowledge and education.
The Foundation will source and manage a wide range of initiatives including the
establishment of high-quality research programs and research centers and the
provision of scholarships to students to attend leading universities and
institutes. It will also support research in universities across the region. In
addition, the Foundation will provide leadership programs for youth in
government, the private sector and in non-governmental organizations.
Scholarships and research grants will also be given to authors and researchers
in the region.
His Highness, Sheikh Mohammed said, "It gives me great pleasure to announce a
personal initiative aimed at building a knowledge-based society throughout the
“The Foundation's mission is to invest in knowledge and human development,
focusing specifically on research, education and promoting equal opportunities
for the personal growth and success of our youth. The Foundation's programs are
also aimed at enhancing the standing of scholars and intellectuals in the Arab
The initiative, the largest of its kind in the region, will put in place the
necessary infrastructure to facilitate and encourage knowledge creation and
In his speech, His Highness acknowledged the need to bridge the knowledge gap
between the region and the developed world.
His Highness said “the illiteracy that is still rampant in the region's
communities limits the region's growth and advancement. He said that the most
alarming indicators are the 18% illiteracy in the under-15 age group and the 43%
illiteracy amongst females in the region”.
His Highness also said, “ that if the goal of creating a knowledge-based society
is to be achieved, the levels of knowledge creation need to be increased in the
According to human development reports, literary and intellectual books
published in the Arab world represent only 0.08% of the world's output, less
than those published in Turkey alone. For every 100,000 books published in North
America there are 42,000 published in South America and only 6,500 books
published in the Arab world.
In terms of spending on scientific research, His Highness said, the Arab world
spends only 0.02% of its GDP while the developed countries spend between 2.5%
and 5%. In the Arab world, for every 10,000 people in the workforce we have 3.3
academic scholars, while the developed world has 110 for every 10,000.
His Highness said that unemployment in the region is 14% and that 15 million
jobs are needed right now in the Arab world and 74 million to 85 million new
jobs will be needed over the next 20 years. His Highness said that the business
environment in the Arab world would need to be improved if these jobs were to be
created but there are challenges that will need to be overcome. “On average,
Arab countries ranked 107 out of 175 in terms of the amount of red tape involved
in setting up a business and this situation cannot be allowed to continue” His
His Highness stressed that the Foundation will undertake concrete initiatives to
encourage innovation and entrepreneurship throughout the region, thus creating
significant new employment opportunities and provide hope for the region's
His Highness said “We have a population where half its members are under the age
of 20, and it is our responsibility to develop this human capital to the best of
our ability. We have the vision and the will to set the stage for the benefit of
future generations through the development of this Foundation, which will
provide the prerequisites for moving our region forward”.
Well-known role models will also support the initiative, helping to build and
sustain positive momentum for development of the Foundation.
The Foundation will be based in the United Arab Emirates and will commence
program implementation later this year.