UAE Cabinet approves strategy for 20% digital contribution to non-oil economy

Government also gives go-ahead to additional organisational framework to support overseas humanitarian aid work

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The UAE Cabinet has approved a strategy in which the digital economy will contribute 20 per cent to the gross non-oil national economy in the coming years.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, said the Cabinet also approved the formation of a digital economy council.

"I chaired a Cabinet meeting at Al Watan Palace in Abu Dhabi, during which we approved the UAE’s strategy for the digital economy," Sheikh Mohammed said.

"Our goal is for this sector to contribute 20 per cent of our gross non-oil national economy in the coming years. And we have formed a Digital Economy Council headed by Minister of Artificial Intelligence Omar Al Olama."

The strategy aims to double the contribution of the digital economy to the UAE's GDP from 9.7 per cent to 19.4 per cent within the next 10 years.

The plan includes more than 30 initiatives, projects and programmes and five new areas of growth, news agency Wam reported.

In November, a report from management consultants Strategy& found that the digital economies of GCC countries are growing twice as fast as their advanced economy counterparts and their pace of expansion has the potential to add up to $255 billion to regional gross domestic product.

The maturity of GCC digital economies could match that of Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries within five years if they continue at the same pace, the report said.

The UAE leads the Arab world in its digital progress and preparedness for the future, a survey by the Portulans Institute conducted in collaboration with Google indicates.

The Emirates was ranked third — with Singapore claiming the number one spot — among 27 emerging global economies, the Future Readiness Index survey said.

Humanitarian aid work support

The Cabinet also approved the framework for co-ordinating and organising humanitarian aid for foreign countries, which includes the establishment of overseas offices.

"Today, during the session, we approved an additional organisational framework to support external humanitarian work," Sheikh Mohammed said.

"It includes the establishment of co-ordination offices for humanitarian aid within the UAE’s foreign missions in a number of countries.

"Our humanitarian work is on the rise and increasing, praise be to God. The UAE will remain the capital of goodness, God willing, and preserved with this goodness."

The UAE recently launched a campaign to donate one billion meals to the poor and hungry around the world.

The One Billion Meals initiative is organised by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI) and supports the underprivileged and hungry in 50 countries.

The campaign has already received enough donations to provide 76 million meals to people in need around the world.

The Cabinet also adopted a set of international agreements, including a pact to link the payment systems of the GCC countries and agreements with the United States, Denmark and Brazil.

It approved plans to join an international body that oversees the development and introduction of hydrogen and fuel cell technology.

"We have also approved the country's joining the International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy to support our goals in the field of clean energy," Sheikh Mohammed said.

The Cabinet approved unified standards at state level to license and encourage family counselling professions and also approved the restructuring of the board of directors of the Higher Colleges of Technology.

"The goal is to raise quality, increase efficiency and help families by providing the best specialists to provide counselling and advice in all family matters," Sheikh Mohammed said.

"We also approved the restructuring of the Board of Directors of the Higher Colleges of Technology headed by Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi. Education needs to develop outputs, raise skills and prepare for a future full of changes."

Updated: April 11, 2022, 2:57 PM