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The UAE launched a state-owned bank on Wednesday to finance housing and other projects for UAE citizens, in a fresh round of intervention to promote the government's social policy objectives.

In the last several years, the government has stepped up efforts to ensure social peace by providing housing and jobs to UAE citizens, who account for only about 1 million of the country's total population of roughly eight million.

Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Development Bank (EDB), created by the merger of Emirates Industrial Bank and Emirates Real Estate Bank, will serve that purpose.

With authorised capital of Dh10 billion ($2.7 billion), the EDB will allocate Dh5 billion to financing housing, industrial and other schemes for UAE nationals, the bank said on Wednesday.

It plans to provide low-cost housing finance to around 30,000 UAE citizens by 2021. It will also allocate Dh500 million to a credit guarantee scheme with other banks that will support local owners of small businesses, which the government hopes will create private sector jobs for citizens.

The EDB joins 23 local banks and 28 foreign banks in the UAE; the government owns major stakes in many of the local institutions.