UAE unveils programme to develop 1,000 tech projects

Initiative aims to boost the technological transformation of the industrial sector and lead to the export of $4.1bn worth of advanced Emirati products annually

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, said the UAE's goal 'is a paradigm shift' for the automation of the industry. Photo: @HHShkMohd via Twitter
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The UAE has launched a national programme to boost the pace of the technological transformation of its industrial and production sector, as the Arab world’s second-largest economy continues to pursue its goal of making the Emirates a global industrial centre by 2031.

The aim is to develop 1,000 technological projects, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.

The programme includes the establishment of national centres for industrial empowerment and plans to export Dh15 billion ($4.1bn) worth of advanced Emirati technological products a year.

“Our goal is a paradigm shift for the automation of the industry,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

Developing the UAE's industrial sector and expanding its manufacturing base are central planks of the country's economic diversification strategy as the nation charts course for the next 50 years of development.

In March 2021, the UAE launched Operation 300bn, an overarching strategy to position the country as a global industrial centre by the end of this decade.

The 10-year plan focuses on increasing the industrial sector's contribution to the country's gross domestic product to Dh300bn by 2031, from last year's Dh133bn.

Innovation and the adoption of advanced technologies in the industrial sector are key components of the strategy. The UAE has enhanced the attractiveness of its industrial sector for investors by updating legislation, including allowing 100 per cent foreign ownership of projects and making dedicated financing available.

The strategy aims to improve the UAE's ranking on the Competitive Industrial Performance Index to 25th place globally from 35th. It focuses on 11 sectors, under which fall areas such as petrochemicals, plastics, metals, food, agriculture, water, health care, space, biotech, medi-tech, pharmaceuticals, clean and renewable energy, including hydrogen production, machinery and equipment, rubber and plastic and electronics and electrical gadgets.

The government plans to support 13,500 small and medium enterprises over the next decade through an in-country value programme that directs spending towards local products and suppliers.

The UAE economy bounced back strongly last year from the pandemic and the economic momentum has picked up this year and is expected to expand at the strongest pace in 11 years after growing 8.4 per cent in the first quarter.

In June, Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, said the country has emerged from the pandemic stronger, helped by its strategy to further strengthen its industrial sector to boost economic resilience in the face of global challenges.

Top UAE companies such as Mubadala Investment Company, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, ADQ, Taqa and Masdar are offering $30bn in deals to UAE manufacturers to localise their supply chains and boost the country's industrial production, Dr Al Jaber told the two-day Make it in the Emirates forum in Abu Dhabi.

More than 300 products are available in the 11 priority sectors for local manufacturers and more than $11bn has so far been redirected into the national economy through the national In-Country Value scheme, he said at the time.

Updated: October 12, 2022, 12:57 PM