The UAE Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology and Abu Dhabi defence technology company Edge Group have signed a preliminary agreement to establish the Emirates' first Industry 4.0 Enablement Centre.
The centre aims to enable the adoption of Fourth Industrial Revolution technology in the country’s manufacturing sector.
The centre will help manufacturers beef up their operations by guiding them on how they can use automation and data-driven business expansion, the ministry said on Friday.
The ministry, which has been given the task of strengthening the UAE’s industrial sector, is driving the adoption of Fourth Industrial Revolution technology across the value chain.
The agreement was signed by Mohammed Al Qassim, director of technology development and adoption at the ministry, and Reda Nidhakou, senior vice president of strategy and portfolio management at the Edge group, in Abu Dhabi.
Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology; Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Future Technology; Faisal Al Bannai, Edge chairman, and Mansour AlMulla, managing director and chief executive of Edge, witnessed the signing ceremony.
“The ministry’s strategy is committed to supporting local manufacturers to adopt advanced technologies and 4IR solutions,” Dr Al Jaber said.
“Advanced technologies help to enhance efficiency, productivity, safety and quality while reducing costs, optimising supply chains and creating jobs.”
“The agreement will empower our industrial resilience, increase competitiveness, accelerate economic diversification and nurture a knowledge-based economy supported by advanced technology,” he added.
The manufacturing industry is one of the key drivers of the global economy, accounting for about 22 per cent of employment worldwide, according to the World Economic Forum.
It was severely hampered by the coronavirus-induced slowdown but has since made a significant rebound, helping to stabilise supply chains.
The WEF also said the Fourth Industrial Revolution had the potential to create 133 million jobs in the next four years, which would help to raise global income levels and improve the quality of life around the world.
Meanwhile, the global market for Fourth Industrial Revolution technology was valued at $65 billion in 2021, and is projected to grow to $165.5bn by 2026, at a compound annual rate of about 21 per cent, according to research company Markets and Markets.
Boosting the UAE’s manufacturing sector and adoption of advanced technologies is among the central planks of the UAE’s economic diversification strategy.
In October, it introduced the Industry 4.0 plan, which aims to boost productivity and the development of innovative products, increase manufacturing by 30 per cent and add Dh25 billion ($6.8bn) to the nation's economy by 2031.
This will be done by increasing access to financing, further improving the ease of doing business and attracting foreign direct investment.
Edge was among the first entities to sign up for the programme, along with the departments of economic development in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Ajman, Emirates Global Aluminium and global technology companies Microsoft and Siemens.
Last year, the UAE also introduced Operation 300bn, a 10-year strategy to increase the industrial sector's contribution to the country's gross domestic product to Dh300bn, and strengthen the “Make it in the Emirates” initiative, both of which have the goal of transforming the nation into a manufacturing powerhouse.
In November, the ministry announced that it would adopt the Smart Industry Readiness Index, the global standard used by the WEF, to help local companies use Fourth Industrial Revolution technology to boost productivity and their contribution to the economy.
The partnership will also focus on upskilling the workforce and making them familiar with emerging and future technology, key pillars of an increasingly evolving economy. It will also encourage knowledge exchanges.
The entities are looking forward to the “continued upskilling of our national workforce and development of the national R&D [research and development] ecosystem to achieve the objectives of our strategy”, Dr Al Jaber said.
Under the partnership, Edge will host a series of initiatives such as training courses and programmes from September.
Ms Al Amiri said one key reason for the UAE’s “continued emergence as a global industrial hub is its rich R&D ecosystem, fuelled by a skilled workforce and a culture of innovation”.
“The centre will help to empower industry by supporting companies to adopt advanced technology and upskilling the workforce, thereby boosting productivity and efficiency,” she said.