Dubai ranks first in Arab world on latest innovation index

The emirate placed 20th globally ahead of cities that include Beijing, Shanghai and Sao Paulo

Dubai Paperless Strategy, which aims to achieve a paperless government by the end of this year, was highlighted in the latest innovation report. Reem Mohammed / The National
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Dubai led the Arab world and stood 20th globally last year in the Dubai Innovation Index that was released on Wednesday.

The index report, which was developed by the Dubai Chamber in collaboration with PwC, analysed 39 cities. The emirate ranked ahead of global cities that include Beijing, Shanghai and Sao Paulo, as it scored high in the categories of infrastructure, government and society.

Launched in 2014, Dubai Innovation Index has influenced a raft of new measures, including strategic policies and procedures introduced in areas such as public-private partnerships, robotics, blockchain, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and 3D printing. The assessment categories include agile government, infrastructure, funding, business environment and society.

Dubai’s performance reflects its ability to deliver “innovation-driven development” to transform the emirate into a global innovation hub, said Hamad Buamim, president and chief executive of Dubai Chamber.

“By providing a supportive environment, a robust regulatory and legislative framework and highly developed infrastructure and comprehensively addressing various vital enabling drivers, Dubai is on track to achieve its aspirations,” Mr Buamim said.

Singapore and Hong Kong maintained their first and second places on the index. Stockholm jumped three places to replace London in third position, with the UK capital dropping five places to eighth this year.

Toronto made the biggest jump of all the 39 cities on the index, rising seven places to reach 10th place from its 17th position in 2019.

Under the agile government category, Dubai scored high for its e-government services. Dubai Paperless Strategy, which aims to achieve a paperless government by the end of this year, was highlighted in the report.

As part of the transformation, 41 government entities have already halved their paper use and are moving towards 100 per cent digitalisation.

Also supporting Dubai’s performance on the index is the Dubai Blockchain Strategy, which has enabled the city’s adoption of blockchain records in 24 applications in various industries.

Under the infrastructure category, Dubai was recognised for its academic institutions, boosting innovation by sharing their resources with start-ups and entrepreneurs.

With regards to funding, Dubai performed well in the area of venture capital, due to government-led incentives and support of global VCs looking to enter the market and those already invested.

Incentivisation approaches include tax incentives for venture capital funds, public-sector matching of investments and government support for early and mid-stage start-ups through additional services.

“By embracing new ideas to raise excellence and rapidly implementing dynamic creative solutions, Dubai is raising the performance of sectors across its economy,” Mr Buamim said.

The index shows digitalisation underpins the transformation of the most innovative cities and governments in top innovative cities do more to promote innovation.

It also shows that Covid-induced collaboration has accelerated innovation by offering innovators better opportunities to share knowledge, market access and funding.

Updated: November 25, 2021, 2:43 AM