Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, expressed the country’s desire to deepen co-operation, co-ordination and knowledge exchange in support of the regional economy.
Speaking during the 48th meeting of the GCC Industrial Co-operation Committee in Bahrain, he commended the co-operation between members of the bloc as they prepared for a post-pandemic world, and said this ought to remain a priority for joint Gulf action in the near future.
A focus of the event will be efforts to integrate advanced technology, innovation and Fourth Industrial Revolution technology into the region’s industrial sector.
Delegates said areas that incorporate advanced technology such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, were particularly important for economic diversification.
The discussions also covered the development of regulations, policies and laws, and the support for local products.
“In line with the directives of our wise leadership, we always seek to enhance co-operation and co-ordination with our brothers in the GCC to achieve mutually beneficial results,” Dr Sultan Al Jaber said.
“Positive indicators point to growth in the GCC’s industrial sector, through providing support to the industry, increased innovation and the adoption of advanced technology applications and Fourth Industrial Revolution solutions.
“There has also been considerable co-ordination in priority industrial sectors to enhance their overall performance and global competitiveness.”
He said national efforts to develop the Emirates’ industrial sector through the UAE Industry 4.0 programme were designed to increase industrial productivity by 30 per cent and add Dh25 billion ($6.80bn) to GDP in the next 10 years.
The programme is a pillar of UAE’s national industrial strategy, Operation 300Bn, which is in line with the national phase of growth and development in the next 50 years and will enhance its position as an incubator of innovative ideas and future industries.
Dr Al Jaber said the Covid-19 pandemic had accelerated efforts to improve collaboration among GCC states and develop strategies. He said this comes in parallel with current efforts to update the GCC Unified Industrial Development Strategy document in a way that enhances industrial integration, accelerates the development and implementation of programmes in strategic industries, and capitalises on each country’s strengths.
The minister expressed his hope for more co-ordination between member states in the pursuit of common interests, especially in knowledge exchange, training, and research and development.
He also noted the available capabilities among the Gulf countries that supports trade exchange between GCC states and to encourage the private sector to boost both the efficiency of its operations and the quality of its products, especially in light of opportunities presented by the applications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The minister explained that achieving comprehensive industrial development in the GCC states will reflect in enhanced production efficiencies and higher-quality outputs.
It will also have positive social effects, from enhancing safety and security to improving services, developing economic opportunities, and increasing the sector’s contribution to GDP, as well as promoting investment opportunities in priority industrial sectors.
The meeting’s agenda included defining a set of Gulf priorities in a post-Covid world, focusing on technology-dependent industries, developing joint systems and policies for the industrial sector.
This included supporting innovation centres and encouraging the establishment of joint industrial projects, and supporting local products by giving them priority in government procurement procedures.
The meeting also included an agreement to issue Gulf regulations and programmes that contribute to the expansion of national projects that add value to members’ economies, develop plans for manufacturing during health pandemics, enhance co-operation among Gulf government agencies and departments related to industry, and to exchange experiences, information and training.
Last week, the 40th preparatory meeting for the Undersecretaries of the Ministries of Industry was held at the headquarters of the General Secretariat of the Gulf Co-operation Council, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The attendees were briefed on the vision to strengthen joint Gulf action.
Their recommendations included joining the Gulf Organisation for Industrial Consulting as a member of the Industrial Development Committee, and for the topic of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to the Gulf Organisation for Industrial Consulting to be considered for inclusion in the updated Unified Industrial Strategy.
The committee also agreed on a framework for enhancing the role of the industrial sector in GCC to promote industrial development at national and Gulf levels.