The UAE's Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology has held the fifth of its Future of Industry Dialogue online meetings, which explored the future of the country's defence sector.
The first in the series, which began last month, focused on heavy industries, the second on supporting resilient food and beverage manufacturing, the third on ways to increase the advanced technology sector’s contribution to economic growth, while the fourth focused on the role that artificial intelligence can play in enhancing local production of medicines and medical equipment..
Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, led the session, which was also attended by Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology.
Dr Al Jaber said the UAE's industrial sector provided an advanced infrastructure and a flexible legislative framework to the defence sector, supporting innovation and increased productivity.
He said the ministry "seeks to establish a framework for the sustainable development of the industrial sector, reduce its reliance on imports, and build an integrated national industry ecosystem based on the adoption of advanced technology and Fourth Industrial Revolution solutions".
"We aspire to keep pace with global advancements and highlight the UAE’s competitive advantages to attract foreign direct investment.”
Defence is an integral part of the UAE's economic diversification strategy. The UAE Armed Forces signed deals worth $5.7 billion at Idex, Abu Dhabi's biennial international defence exhibition, in February. Out of 86 deals signed by the UAE Armed Forces, 53 of them, worth $2.9bn, were signed with local defence companies.
At the online meeting, Dr Al Jaber discussed the ancillary benefits of the defence sector and its positive impact on other industries such as information technologies, medicine, F&B, space and advanced technology.
Meanwhile, Ms Al Amiri said the defence industry has the potential to drive growth in sectors such as the minerals and chemicals industries, while stimulating growth in other sectors to manufacture specialised products for the defence industry.
She explained that the defence sector has in the past helped fuel innovation, citing examples of the internet and telecommunications as industries that have stemmed from this sector.
Ms Al Amiri also highlighted a need to develop a mechanism to maximise the benefits of this technology transfer model for other sectors.
Brig Dr Eng Mubarak Al Jabri, head of communications and IT at the UAE Armed Forces; Tareq Al Hosani, chief executive of the Tawazun Economic Council; Matar Al Romaithi, chief economic development officer of the Tawazun Economic Council; Anas Al Otaiba, director general of the Emirates Defence Companies Council; Faisal Al Bannai, chief executive and managing director of Edge; Khaled Al Ali, chief executive and chairman of Etimad Holding; Basel Shuhaiber, chief executive of Al Marakeb Boat Manufacturing Company, and Khamis Al Muwaiji, chief executive of Al Fattan Ship Industry, attended the meeting.
Also taking part were AbdulRahman Al Blooshi, chief executive of EOS Advanced Technologies; Tim Allen, chief executive of Houbara Defence and Security; Sultan Al Nuaimi, chairman of Premier Composite Technologies; Rashid Al Mutawaa, chief executive and founder of Cablecorp General Industry; Mohammed Al Suwaidi, chief executive of Emirates Defence Technology; Faris Al Mazrouei, adviser at the Ministry of Presidential Affairs and chairman of Calidus, and Fadel Al Kaabi, chief executive of the International Golden Group.