UAE to boost industrial sector with additional $6.3bn in financing

The achievements of the industry over the past few years are 'just the tip of the iceberg', Dr Sultan Al Jaber says

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The UAE's industrial sector will receive an additional Dh23 billion ($6.3 billion) in funding, backed by major companies, as the country intensifies its plans to expand its domestic manufacturing capabilities and boost self-sufficiency.

Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Presidential Court, said that the industrial sector is one of the main pillars of the national economy's progress and diversification, as he visited the third Make it in the Emirates forum in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

“Our nation's skilled workforce and companies are now vying for success on both regional and global stages. This is a testament to the capabilities of our people and the high quality of our products,” he said, as quoted by state news agency Wam.

The industrial sector's growth will be supported by funding from two of the UAE's major companies. Adnoc will contribute a further Dh20 billion while Pure Health, the largest healthcare group in the Emirates, will provide another Dh3 billion, Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, said.

That would raise total funding for the industrial sector to more than Dh143 billion, which is being used to support the domestic manufacturing of more than 2,000 products, he said.

“The initiatives, encompassing legislation, support structures, financial benefits, and cutting-edge infrastructure provided by the state, coupled with a welcoming business environment, are all instrumental in attracting investments and talented individuals from around the world.”

The forum has been able to highlight the advantages of investing in UAE industry and being able to “respond to demand to ensure investors will have visibility and viable projects”, Dr Al Jaber said.

Also announced was a new lending programme worth Dh1 billion to support small and medium enterprises, in co-ordination with Emirates Development Bank and other commercial banks.

In addition, a new scheme to provide competitive electricity prices for industrial companies in Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah was launched, in partnership with the Ministry of Energy and Emirates Water and Electricity Company.

“Our objectives are developing the UAE industrial ecosystem, enabling the industrial community, creating more investment opportunities and strengthening our economy’s resilience,” Dr Al Jaber said.

“We enhance the self-sufficiency of our supply chains … together we can establish the principle of self-reliance and self-sufficiency, particularly through providing the basic needs that the [business] community requires.”

EDB will also provide financing worth Dh370 million to support artificial intelligence start-ups, in a boost to the fast-growing technology.

“The UAE leadership is very focused on adopting and applying the latest technologies and, in particular, AI across all our industrial sectors. AI is already streamlining production processes, slashing costs and boosting efficiency across industries in the UAE and beyond,” Dr Al Jaber said.

“AI has become the backbone of next-gen industrial innovation. AI doesn’t just automate tasks; it redefines them, paving the way for smarter, safer and more sustainable operations.”

The initiatives and achievements of the UAE's industrial sector over the past few years are “just the tip of the iceberg”, Dr Al Jaber said.

“In just under three years … with our collective efforts, we are starting to see real, true tangible, positive, sustainable socioeconomic impact across our economy.”

Separately, Adnoc said at the forum that it is increasing its local manufacturing goal for critical industrial products in its procurement pipeline to Dh90 billion, after its previous Dh70 billion target was delivered ahead of schedule.

It is part of the energy major's expanded in-country value programme, which seeks to drive an additional Dh178 billion back into the UAE economy by 2028.

The initiative aims to “support the UAE’s economic diversification, attract local and international investors, and provide high-skilled private sector jobs for UAE nationals”, Dr Al Jaber said.

Adnoc’s ICV programme has been successful in generating 11,500 local jobs as of last year, according to a senior official.

“This is a significant number … we get these individuals [newly employed people] trained in different aspects of products and supply chain and this we find is very valuable,” Dr Saleh Al Hashemi, director of Adnoc’s commercial and ICV directorate, told The National.

He also said Adnoc’s additional Dh20 billion funding will support local industries and help more companies set up their operations in the UAE.

“So any product related to our supply chain, drilling activities, carbon capture and many other fields, even if it is a service we need for our employees like medical service, we prefer things that are basically done and produced here.”

The UAE aims to boost the momentum of industrial investments at Make it in the Emirates, underpinning the vital role the sector plays in the country's economic and diversification strategies.

The country has recorded a 49 per cent increase in the industrial sector's contribution to the GDP, reaching Dh197 billion, from the creation of Make it in the Emirates in 2020 until December 2023, while industrial exports have surged 60 per cent to Dh187 billion, it was reported in March.

In addition, the Emirates has been able to direct Dh67 billion towards in-country value, which is a 109 per cent increase since 2020.

Industrial productivity has increased by 18 per cent compared to 2020 and the UAE was ranked first regionally and 29th globally last year in the UN Industrial Development Organisation's competitive industrial performance index, climbing seven spots since 2020.

“We do have global economic challenges, geopolitical conflicts, climate change and their impact on the supply chain,” Dr Al Jaber said.

“With all of these, we are striving to always be ready and pre-emptive … and have the agility and flexibility to transform all these challenges into opportunities.”

This year's event will highlight investment opportunities in several crucial industries, foremost of which are energy, telecoms, aerospace, health care, and food and beverage.

Topics dominating the two-day forum include the growth of UAE's Operation 300bn industrial initiative, using AI in industry, the Emirates' space ambitions and boosting young people's role in the industrial sector, among others.

Updated: May 28, 2024, 2:10 AM