The UAE is ready for the future

Preparing for what lies ahead is a part of responsible governance

Visitors attend the closing ceremony of Expo 2020, in Dubai on March 31. AFP
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Innovation is characteristic of life in the the UAE. As is pushing the frontiers of technology to prepare for a future economy.

Yesterday, to further that process, Dubai unveiled a detailed metaverse strategy. The metaverse is still a new and emerging digital space, where people have virtual avatars to participate in a digital world with its own digital economy. It is a growing area, much in demand, and has the potential to create more than 40,000 jobs and add $4 billion to the emirate's economy in the next five years. In launching it, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, spoke of the “next revolution in the technological and economic field" that would "affect all aspects of life over the next two decades”.

It is not just rapid growth in the virtual world that the UAE has ambitions for. Given the UAE's achievements in space exploration, it's not surprising that the country is developing satellites to improve forecasting, monitor oil spills and track climate change. The research and construction in developing these satellites will come from the Dh3 billion National Space Fund. A six-year programme, the launch of the first satellite will be not too far into the future, in a mere three years.

What binds these varied initiatives together is a focus on the future, a keen interest to find solutions to tomorrow's problems, all through international co-operation.

President Sheikh Mohamed referenced the space fund this week saying the new initiative to develop radar satellites would "expand our growing capabilities in this vital sector while accelerating innovation in environmental sustainability".

Another remarkable project in yet a different field in the UAE is the world’s largest vertical farm in Dubai that just opened its doors. At 330,000 square-foot, the hydroponic plant can yield 3,000 kilograms of leafy greens a day. The plant could well serve as an inspiration to other water-scarce regions in the Middle East to grow their food. Not only are indoor farms a pragmatic solution that make eminent sense in water-scarce zones, the techniques and innovations result in an efficient crop yield. Indeed the saving of water could counter the global affects of climate change. Abu Dhabi has also committed to agri-tech with a number of major farms and firms setting up in the emirate.

The world is continually reminded by scientists that in the coming decades, several countries could likely face increasing and more frequent food shortages. Preparing for that possibility is a part of responsible governance. There is a sagacity in national policies that look ahead and factor in uncertain food futures. Countries are that are creating long-term plan to respond to food crises are constructing a safe buffer for their populations.

The Emirates is already on the right path in its pursuit of achieving self-sustainable food security. The benefit of drastically lower carbon footprints that the UAE's innovations in hydroponics, for instance, will achieve, is in harmony with the UAE's National Food Strategy 2051 agenda.

In responding to not just today's crisis, but looking ahead and making strategic provisions for what may malign the world tomorrow, the UAE by all standards, and in diverse sectors, is vastly ahead of the curve.

Published: July 20, 2022, 2:00 AM
EDITORIAL