The UAE's Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT), Emirates Development Bank EDB) and defence technology company Edge Group signed an agreement to boost manufacturing in the defence sector.
The agreement, signed at the Make it in the Emirates forum held in Abu Dhabi, includes financing of up to Dh1 billion ($272.29 million) provided by the bank to support and accelerate the industrialisation of Edge’s offerings, the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
Under the agreement, the ministry will support Edge to expand global exports of more than 40 domestically manufactured products and solutions.
It will also provide Edge with a “robust road map” to enable it to become one of the world’s “most financially sound suppliers of military hardware and technology”, the statement said.
The agreement will support the diversification of the UAE's economy, achieve sustainable development and enhance the country’s value proposition, said Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology.
“The ministry and EDB are committed to supporting leading national companies like Edge to leverage the growth opportunities in the country,” he added.
“The financing will support Edge’s efforts to adopt advanced technologies and manufacturing processes and will contribute to increasing its exports, supporting the growth of the national economy.”
Launched in 2019, defence technology group Edge consolidates more than 20 entities in four core clusters, including platforms and systems, missiles and weapons, electronic warfare and cyber technologies, and trading and mission support.
It works on the development of sovereign capabilities for global export, working with front-line operators and adopting advanced technologies such as autonomous capabilities, cyber-physical systems, advanced propulsion systems, robotics and smart materials.
Edge also collaborates with international partners to co-develop intellectual property and future products, with an emphasis on small- and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups.
The latest agreement is in line with the Industry 4.0 initiative and aims to support growth in the defence sector, one of the key industries of the future, MoIAT said.
The Industry 4.0 initiative, launched by the ministry last year, is designed to accelerate the integration of 4IR solutions and applications — such as cloud, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things — across the country’s industrial sector.
The initiative aims to boost manufacturing by 30 per cent and add Dh25bn to the country's economy by 2031.
“Edge has an aggressive product development road map and has been building a strong industrial blueprint as a pioneer of indigenous capabilities and advanced technologies,” said Faisal Al Bannai, chairman of Edge Group.
“Our work with MoIAT is allowing Edge … to adopt best-in-class frameworks and Industry 4.0 technologies across our operations, as we aspire to become a global lighthouse of modern digitisation.
“MoIAT will also support Edge to expand the services of our recently launched Learning and Innovation Factory to a wider industrial base within the UAE by focusing on the training and upskilling of national talent.”
Edge also signed a preliminary agreement at the Make it at the Emirates forum with Abu Dhabi-based Troossmil Trading for the supply of coating materials for munitions, as well as other locally manufactured specialty products.
The deal is part of Edge's efforts to support local businesses and ensure the "sustainable development" of the UAE's industrial sector, the company said.
The Make it in the Emirates forum has brought together more than 1,300 delegates, including representatives from national companies, manufacturers and investors.
It aims to promote the growth of national industries and discuss opportunities for partnership and co-operation in the industrial sector, present opportunities for product localisation and redirect the value of purchases into the national economy.