Dubai blazes a trail with inaugural technology gathering in California

Google and Uber are among the players who are engaged in the emirate.

The Google office in Dubai Internet City. Satish Kumar / The National
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A delegation of senior officials from more than Dubai government entities were in the United States last month as part of Dubai 10X’s inaugural outreach trip to Silicon Valley.

Dubai 10X is an initiative of the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF). The 10X programme is designed to enable the Government “to be 10 times faster, 10 times bolder, and 10 times more creative”, according to the DFF.

The officials met top-tier disruptive companies such as Google, Uber, Airbus Labs, Autodesk and many others to gain insight and exchange ideas on best practices for implementing innovative solutions.

Innovation is a major focus across all UAE sectors to improve services for citizens and residents, especially young people.

In a recent speech at a Majlis for Future Generations, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, said: “Youth need to be better prepared for the post-oil era.”

Launched at the 5th World Government Summit in 2017, Dubai 10X seeks to establish “X Labs” in every government entity, with the goal of putting Dubai 10 years ahead of other cities around the world in terms of technology, government services, health care, education and more.

“The business of government is to unlock human potential,” said Mohammed Al Gergawi, UAE Minister for Cabinet Affairs and the Future, and the vice chairman and managing director of the DFF.

“We are eagerly reaching out to build bridges between global thought leaders and technology companies in Silicon Valley and our country’s innovation task force for knowledge exchange and sharing of best practices.”

Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE Ambassador to the United States highlighted the positive impact of innovation focused outreach trips and partnerships.

“Initiatives like Dubai 10X, Dubai Future Foundation and Masdar are designed to build bridges between the best technology companies in the world – many of which are in the United States – and our UAE government departments,” Mr Al Otaiba said.

“Our country has become the best platform for disruptive technology and ideas that overlap with regulations and policies to advance innovation.”

The ambassador’s senior adviser on innovation, Ruba Al Hassan, said the 10X visit to California had revealed the growing focus US companies have on this country.

“What we have seen … is that American technology companies are more and more interested to come to the UAE to partner with our Government to test new technology and become part of this great vision that …[the UAE] has to accelerate the future.”

* with Dubai Future Foundation

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