DIFC launches AI and coding licence to attract tech talent

New licence will offer an opportunity for employees working in those companies to obtain UAE golden visas

DIFC is the biggest financial centre in the Middle East and Africa. Antonie Robertson / The National
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Dubai International Financial Centre and the UAE Artificial Intelligence Office launched an AI and coding licence to attract technology companies and coders from around the world.

Companies holding the licence will be able to work at the DIFC Innovation Hub, which is the largest cluster of FinTech and innovation companies in the region, DIFC said on Tuesday.

The hub hosts more than 500 firms, including start-ups and global unicorns, and represents more than 60 per cent of all GCC FinTechs.

The new licence will also offer an opportunity for employees working in those companies to obtain UAE golden visas, DIFC said.

Such initiatives reflect positively on the country's readiness to become a global destination for the industries of the future by adopting advanced technology, said Omar Al Olama, the UAE’s Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications.

“The UAE government is keen to support digital transformation processes … this is being achieved by developing digital activities and providing innovative solutions that contribute to improving the performance of governments and the lives of communities,” Mr Al Olama said.

The UAE, the Arab world's second-largest economy, is projected to benefit the most in the Middle East from AI adoption. The technology is expected to contribute up to 14 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product — equivalent to $97.9 billion — by 2030, a report from consultancy PwC showed.

“Dubai and DIFC are global ambassadors for AI,” said DIFC governor Essa Kazim.

“Financial services companies in DIFC and a broad spectrum of other industries across the emirate are setting the standard which is also contributing to the UAE’s ambitious goal to have an internationally competitive, knowledge-based economy.”

The new initiative also aims to support the national AI strategy 2031 that the UAE Cabinet adopted in April 2019.

The strategy is a wide-ranging initiative that will involve the rapidly developing technology being integrated into all sections of society — from government services to education.

The country has also established the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence to support the advancement of research, development, transfer and practical use of AI.

Last week, the UAE Council for Artificial Intelligence and Digital Transactions said it plans to boost the number of specialised AI laboratories in the country and accelerate research initiatives.

Updated: March 01, 2022, 4:12 PM
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