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Economic sustainability: Nafis programme achieves remarkable Emiratisation success

Economic sustainability: Nafis programme achieves remarkable Emiratisation success
27 Nov 2023 09:35

Sami Abdel Raouf (Dubai) - The UAE envisions sustainability as a comprehensive term, and one that encompasses various aspects of life, including Emiratisation, which aims to support the country’s sustainable economic growth. This comprehensive approach achieves the most important goal of the UAE leadership, which is to improve living standards for citizens through ambitious plans to employ graduates and others of working age in alignment with the strategic vision to make the UAE among the fastest growing economies in the world, and one of the world’s most attractive investment destinations.

Emiratisation in the private sector, and specificially in economically vital industries, is of paramount importance to this vision of sustainability, as the private sector is considered a strategic partner in the country’s development and plays an important role in developing the nation’s human resources.

Record Results

Since the launch of the Nafis employment programme in September 2021 - which is intended to raise the competitive efficiency of the Emirati workforce and to increase the Emiratisation rate in the private sector – the programme has achieved great success with unlimited support from the UAE’s wise leadership.  

The latest official data issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation showed that more than 84,000 citizens are working in the private sector, including 54,000 who joined the private sector in the last two years, representing an increase of 134% compared to data from the time of the programme’s launch in September 2021.  

The data also indicated that 18,000 private companies currently employ citizens, an increase of 150% compared to the quantity at the launch of the programme.  

Government entities are now preparing policy proposals to ensure the sustainability of Emiratisation, including a list of additional sectors outside the umbrella of the private sector to be targeted, and plans to launch further training programmes for citizens. 

Empowerment Measures

The Emirati Human Resources Competitiveness Council and the Nafis programme have not only increased local Emiratisation rates, but also have supported many strategic achievements in line with the council’s goals, such as making a number of amendments to keep pace with developments in the labour market.

The Council has reviewed policies, eligibility conditions, and coverage scope, and has issued decisions and amendments to serve citizens in the private sector with the intention to expand the programme to include as many citizens as possible. 


Furthermore, the Nafis Award was launched to motivate and honour outstanding individuals and companies, and the Nafis Youth Council initiative was launched to be a bridge for direct and effective communication with the community and young citizens. Additionally, the Nafis Leadership Programme helps these endeavours by supporting qualified employees to take up leadership positions within their private sector workplaces.  

The programme’s crowning achievement, however, is seen in citizens’ increased interest in working in the private sector, as youth are increasingly seizing private sector employment opportunities. 

Programme Achievements

The programme’s launch has contributed to increasing the number of citizens working within the private sector, in line with the Emiratisation target to achieve a growth rate of 1% on a semi-annual basis, reaching 2% by the end of the year. Furthermore, the programme has identified 14 economic sectors, under which 71 sub-sections fall, to be included in Emiratisation targets for private sector establishments with 20 to 49 workers activities.

These establishments are required to employ at least one citizen in 2024 and another citizen in 2025.

Over its two years of operation, Nafis has witnessed many updates and improvements, such as the introduction of two packages of programmes supporting citizens, the first specialising in financial support programmes, including the Citizens’ Salary Support Programme, the Temporary Support Programme, Allowances for Children of Private Sector Workers, the Subscription Programme, On-the-Job Training Programmes, and Financial Support for the Experience and Advantages Programme.

The second package, launched in March 2022, includes a series of training programmes, notably the Competence Programme and the development of medical and health sector professionals, along with the Professional Guidance Programme, among others, implemented in partnership with leading academic and training institutions and universities across the country.

The recently launched Nafis Leaders Programme has become a bridge connecting ambitions and reality, and serves as symbol of national achievement that places the citizen at the core of its efforts. 

The Nafis programme also aims to build partnerships with the private sector and banking industry to support 170,000 beneficiaries over 5 years, with a budget estimated at Dh24 billion, reflecting the leadership’s commitment to supporting and empowering the nation’s youth.

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