"One thing you can't accuse the United Arab Emirates of lacking is vision." In a report published in mid-November, this was how the BBC summarized UAE efforts to plan for the future.

This report came as the UAE revealed an initiative to promote specialized research on the possibility of date palm and lettuce cultivation on the planet Mars. Before that, a plan was announced to explore the red planet and launch a research probe from Japan. It is set to leave planet Earth heading to Mars in 2020.

These goals may seem to some fictional, but the Emirates plans for the post-oil era are about real strategies and goals set under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the armed forces.

In the 46th anniversary of its founding, the UAE is looking towards the future. One developmental success after another, the country has been employing natural resources for the benefit of people. In 2015, a "second foundation" of the State was declared by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Addressing Government Summit in Dubai during February in 2015, he said "if we are making a good investment today, I bet we would celebrate exporting the last barrel of oil 50 years from now," announcing the start of planning and hard work in preparation for the post-oil economy.

In late January 2016, an extended ministerial meeting on sustainably diversifying the economy was held by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. During the meeting, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum focused on investing on human resources as the "global currency of the economies of the 21st century" and the only way to address future challenges and present a positive image of the UAE to the world.

Planning for the post-oil economy is a natural response to development in the world economy and the fourth industrial revolution. There is a need to alleviate pressure on the public budgets affected by declining global oil prices in recent years after crude oil prices dropped from $120 per barrel in July 2014 to lower levels.

There is no doubt that The UAE found a great opportunity for a systematic transition into a diversified economy based on innovation and knowledge. We want to become a developed nation in terms of economic growth rates and maintain the highest levels of welfare and prosperity. We also must keep up with the economic, financial, technological and social developments of the future in sustainable and innovative ways.

Also helping in this regard is the fact that the UAE spends more than 4% of the GDP on education—the highest spending on education in the Middle East. This results in high attendance in secondary education and high literacy rate of over 99%. With a majorly youth population, the Gulf country has enough potential workforce to keep pace with technological advancements.

A major plan valued at $82 billion concerns renewable energy. A peaceful nuclear project is another one, one of the largest in the world. It will provide about 25 percent of power demand by the year 2020. The UAE ranks first on the list of the countries of the future in 2015/2016 in the Middle East and North Africa and the 41st in the World Bank's knowledge index from 145 countries.

In 2016, the Emirates announced a plan to develop 4IR technology. The government created the Fourth Industrial Revolution Council, the first of its kind worldwide. The Emirates will also become the first international open laboratory of 4IR technology. The government is committed to implement a range of strategies for the future in areas such as autonomous vehicles and 3D printing.