Abu Dhabi gives manufacturers a boost with smart initiative

Department of Economic Development will increase financing opportunities through local banks to high-growth manufacturers of food, electronics and pharmaceuticals

Strata, owned by Abu Dhabi government investment firm Mubadala, manufactures and assembles hi-tech components. The government is promoting growth in manufacturing and technology through various programmes. Photo: Mubadala
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Manufacturers of electronics, food and pharmaceutical products in Abu Dhabi are getting a technology push under a new initiative from the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, which has introduced the 'Smart Manufacturing Project' to boost productivity.

The project is expected to open up more financing opportunities from local banks and banks specialised in industrial financing, said Rashed Al Balooshi, the department's undersecretary.

The aim is to encourage new financing solutions to fund the transformation of factories to become more automated, safer and more efficient through technology.

The project comes a week after the UAE Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology announced Industry 4.0, an initiative to accelerate the digital capabilities of thousands of local manufacturers through partnerships with a dozen multinationals including Adnoc, Siemens and Microsoft. The aim is to boost manufacturing by 30 per cent and add Dh25 billion ($6.8bn) to the economy by 2031.

“This initiative is a first of its kind in the Middle East and is a cornerstone of the Projects of the 50,” Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Sciences, said at the launch of the programme.

The Projects of the 50 and the related Principles of the 50 are part of the government's plan to ensure the UAE economy remains dynamic and robust over the next half-century.

Harnessing the potential of automation, additive manufacturing and blockchain, among other technologies, will help to lower the carbon footprint of UAE industry, allow small-and medium-sized companies to become “more innovative and inventive” and give UAE consumers a wider array of available products and services, Ms Al Amiri said.

Abu Dhabi's Industrial Development Bureau is overseeing the Smart Manufacturing Project.

Mohammed Al Mansouri, executive director of the IDB, said that industrial entities can register a request to join the project until February 2022.

Requests will be subject to technical assessment by the IDB. He added that the first phase of the project will focus on small- and medium-sized enterprises, with between 10 and 250 employees.

Updated: October 20, 2021, 3:09 PM