ZonesCorp signs deal to develop an innovation hub in Abu Dhabi’s ICAD

The new development will serve as a platform for tech start-ups

Small and medium-sized enterprises account for 98 per cent of all companies in Abu Dhabi, making them a key pillar of the emirate’s economy. Photo: Victor Besa / The National
Small and medium-sized enterprises account for 98 per cent of all companies in Abu Dhabi, making them a key pillar of the emirate’s economy. Photo: Victor Besa / The National

Abu Dhabi’s ZonesCorp signed an agreement with Block 7 Investments to develop an innovation hub in the Industrial City of Abu Dhabi (ICAD).

The new development, named Block 7, will serve sectors such as healthcare, computer science, robotics, mobility, renewable energy and sustainable advanced materials, according to a statement from ZonesCorp.

Block 7 Investments is a joint venture between Abu Dhabi-based investment company EFIRE Capital Holdings and Serba Dinamik Holdings of Malaysia.

Block 7 will be “a breeding ground for innovation-driven industries with ultra-modern infrastructure, robust services and a unique set-up that links intelligent living space leveraging ZonesCorp’s existing manufacturing ecosystem and serves as a platform for tech start-ups”, ZonesCorp said.

Abu Dhabi, which holds about 5.6 per cent of the world’s proven oil reserves, is positioning itself as a technology and industrial hub. It has also introduced various initiatives over the past few years to encourage local manufacturing to improve self-sufficiency.

Spread over 820,000 square metres, Block 7 will also include other facilities including smart office complexes, exhibition centres, as well as retail and entertainment spaces, the statement said.

“This project fits well with our existing plans to advance Abu Dhabi’s industrial and manufacturing sectors bringing R&D, education and technology to the world as well as a model for others to emulate,” Mohamed Al Ahmed, chief executive of ZonesCorp, said.

ZonesCorp, an Abu Dhabi Ports’ company, is responsible for planning, developing and managing economic zones for investors within the emirate. It manages nine economic zones in Abu Dhabi as well as in Al Ain that cover a total area of 145 square kilometres.

“The Innovation Hub’s promise of intelligent living will complement Abu Dhabi’s industrial strength and create numerous opportunities for coming generations of youth to venture into some of the world’s most transformative industrial fields,” Abdullah Al Hameli, head of the industrial cities and free zone cluster at Abu Dhabi Ports, said.

Abu Dhabi’s economy is poised to grow by 6 to 8 per cent over the next two years, driven by the oil sector, government spending, financial services and foreign direct investment, according to Mohammed Al Shorafa, chairman of the emirate's Department of Economic Development.

Published: April 25, 2021 11:18 AM

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