The UAE's Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology held the third of its Future of Industry Dialogue online meetings, exploring ways of increasing the advanced technology sector’s contribution to the country's economic growth.
The first in the series, which began this month, focused on the heavy industries and the second on supporting a resilient food and beverage sector in the UAE.
In the third dialogue, Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, and Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology, met Faisal Al Bannai, secretary general of the Advanced Technology Research Council, Badr Al Olama, executive director at Mubadala Investment Company, Ismail Abdulla, chief executive of aircraft parts manufacturer Strata, chief executive of clean energy company Masdar, Mohamed Al Ramahi, Dr Eric Xing, president of the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence, AI and cloud computing group G42's chief executive Peng Xiao, multinational GE's gulf president Dalya Al Muthanna and Honeywell's president of high growth regions Norm Gilsdorf, Siemens Energy's regional managing director Dietmar Siersdorfer, Abdul Rahman Al Thehaiba of Oracle, Unilever's Yasir Jamal, Google's Selim Edde and IT company Cisco's Reem Assad.
Dr Al Jaber said that although the industrial sector has been impacted by the pandemic, technology companies "have played a vital role in ensuring we can adapt and survive".
"Covid-19 has completely transformed the way we use technology, from working remotely to exploring virtual solutions in healthcare to the enhanced uptake for e-commerce and distance learning, among so many others,” he said.
The UAE's resilience can also be attributed in "large measure to the continuous investments in advanced technology and artificial intelligence, as well as to our strategic partnerships with the private sector,” Dr Al Jaber said.
With regards to the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the changes being made to jobs and the way businesses operate thanks to rapid technological advances, "the UAE has begun to build new, agile policy frameworks and shape cybersecurity regulations ... building cutting-edge infrastructure that can support and spur future industrial growth", said Dr Al Jaber.
He encouraged advanced technology companies to enhance their contribution to national R&D efforts through sustained education initiatives and research grants to enable young Emiratis to begin their careers in these vital fields.
Ms Al Amiri said the advanced technology and future focused industries are a national priority for the UAE in navigating the critical post-Covid-19 pandemic recovery phase.
“Embracing technology during the pandemic has been the key to resilience and sustainability. Recognising that the future lies within the realms of knowledge, R&D and technology, the UAE has established [the ministry] to realise its ambition to lead the Fourth Industrial Revolution and fast-track the transition to a knowledge-based economy."
This includes shaping emerging industries such as space and medical technology and such aims can only be achieved with a comprehensive ecosystem in place, she said.