Abu Dhabi government launches initiative to promote basic industries

Emirate looks to strengthen food production, medical supplies, power generation and materials such as aluminium, cement and iron

An Emirates Global Aluminium employee at the company's Taweelah refinery. Aluminium production is one of the core sectors of the economy that will come under focus as part of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development's Basic Industries Project. Image courtesy of EGA
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Abu Dhabi’s Department of Economic Development is launching a basic industries project aimed at making the emirate "self-sufficient in the production of basic and consumer commodities".

The project, being undertaken by the department’s Industrial Development Bureau, will look to strengthen investment in four major sectors.

They are food production, medical supplies, power generation and important materials such as iron, aluminium and cement.

The project is in response to government "directives to support key industries and supply the domestic market with competitive and high-end local products", said Mohammed Al Shorafa, chairman of the Department of Economic Development.

The project has identified eight investment fields related to food, 14 in pharmaceutical and medical supplies, and four supporting power generation, he said.

Mr Al Shorafa said the initiative also linked up with Abu Dhabi's local content programme, which relies on increasing local purchases and Emiratisation, and strengthening the local supply chain.

The bureau has already held meetings with government and semi-government entities.

They include the emirate's departments of health and energy, the Agriculture and Food Safety Authority, Abu Dhabi Investment Office, Senaat General Holding and Emirates Global Aluminium.

"The meetings have also served as a fitting venue to suggest and create new mechanisms and guidelines to be used in the further development of local industries," Mr Al Shorafa said.

Food production has become a key focus for the UAE in recent years as it looks to improve its security by encouraging local production and reducing its reliance on exports.

This month, a shipment of about 4,500 cows arrived at Khalifa Port in Abu Dhabi from Uruguay to increase local production of dairy products.

Local production of medical supplies has also been increased during Covid-19, with the Mubadala-owned Strata agreeing to a deal in May with Honeywell to produce up to 30 million N95 face masks a year.

Meanwhile, in power generation, the recent reverse takeover of Taqa by Abu Dhabi Power Corporation has opened the potential for one of the region’s biggest utilities companies to attract greater external investment.

The Industrial Development Bureau will be responsible for maintaining communication between the strategic partners, identifying obstacles to local industry development and coming up with suggestions to foster investment.