UAE On Course To Scale Up Manufacturing With An Emphasis On 4IR

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Most visitors to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will see that the country prefers to channel its petrodollar reserves to boost its infrastructure, industry and real estate markets. Visiting the nation gives you the feeling that with every project there is always a desire to grow up both figuratively and physically.

It has already logged a range of distances from the world’s tallest buildings to the tall and regularly used driverless mass transit system. And in a post-Covid world, the UAE intends to move forward with its version of the Fourth Industrial Revolution or ‘4IR’ by encouraging and promoting emerging technologies at a pace and scale that few can or are willing to match .

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At the Global Manufacturing and Industrialization Summit (GMIS) 2021, to be held in the shadow of the Dubai Expo from 22-27 November, much of the Emirati debate focused on strategic investments in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics, Big Data, Machine Learning. and alternative energy sources to boost the UAE’s manufacturing credentials and how it should be targeted.

The UAE Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology has seen its ‘advanced technology’ dispatches steadily grow in prominence. The minister himself, Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, who is also the Managing Director and Group CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and the country’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, is leading the charge.

Al Jaber says that strengthening COVID supply chain resilience depends on managing manufacturing resilience and investing in 4IR. “The two are connected, and here in the UAE, we are prioritizing both sectors, which will provide the highest value addition as well as rapid adoption and implementation of new technologies in our manufacturing and industrial landscape.

“This is exactly the mandate of my ministry, which aims to help diversify our economy, provide sustainable growth and ensure our industrial competitiveness. Ultimately our goal is to increase the GDP of the UAE in less than ten years. The contribution of the industrial sector has to be more than doubled.”

The UAE government’s target areas include energy, chemicals, plastics, metals, heavy manufacturing, health care and electrical equipment, and a renewed focus on agri-tech, biotech, advanced manufacturing and space. So it should come as no surprise that the UAE’s sovereign investment company – Mubadala – is an ardent supporter of advanced manufacturing and AI, according to its CEO Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak.

“State-of-the-art technology will play a vital role in COVID recovery. Machine learning, for example, has migrated to pharmaceuticals and saved countless lives. As demand returns, 4IR will help us deal with supply chain pressures. We are investing heavily in the AI ​​and machine learning space. Ultimately, we aim to pivot and expand on 4IR.”

Mubarak also took the opportunity to invite partners to join the UAE on its industrial development strategy. Looks like it’s an invitation he’s heeded. According to Al Mubarak, major trading partners from the US to the UK, from Australia to Italy, sent GMIS business delegations to a country rated as “the easiest place to do business” by the World Bank.

The UAE’s ‘Make it in the Emirates’ campaign to encourage domestic manufacturing, especially advanced manufacturing, is a key point on the way forward, which has been largely met with success. One case is offered by Mubadala-backed aero composite structure manufacturer Strata.

Founded in 2009, Strata has established partnerships with the world’s leading aircraft manufacturers such as Airbus, Boeing and the Leonardo-Finmeccanica Aerostructure Division, as well as a Tier One supplier to Pilatus, SAAB and SABCA, for less than a decade. is in time.

Strata CEO Ismail Abdullah says his company is a symbol of how advanced manufacturing is progressing in the UAE in line with economic growth. “Our entire site is built from scratch in Al Ain, an area in Emirati sweets. We began production on site in 2010, and most recently as the UAE’s first aerospace joint venture to supply the Boeing 777X. has signed an agreement with Solvay for

“The joint venture makes us only the fourth supplier of specialized pre-pregnant carbon fiber in the entire world. Nearly 90% of our workforce is female and provides a powerful indication of our bid for gender diversity. Look forward to natural progress. The momentum continues as the UAE’s emphasis on advanced manufacturing has gained further momentum.”

That motion would require energy. And despite having one of the largest oil reserves in the world, the UAE has decided to power this momentum by expanding its renewable energy footprint by several multiples and gradually going green. It may just be a dream so far – no pun intended – but Dubai’s green energy strategy offers a glimpse of 2050 ambition.

The strategy has seen that 7% of Dubai’s energy needs in 2021 were met through the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. According to a GMIS spokesperson, this percentage is expected to increase to 25% by 2030 and to 75% by 2050. The entire paradigm and what is visible in bricks and mortar these days is based on the UAE’s technology drive to welcome the world.

Lord Udney-Lister, UK Co-Chair, UAE-UK Business Council believes that the world should look at the UAE’s emerging opportunities as collaboration and not competition. “The British certainly do. For example, a fairly large £1 billion is being transmitted through Mubadala, including £200 million in UK Treasury money plus £800 million. Most of it Life is aimed at science. Our views align and I believe knowledge transfer is a shared benefit.”

Lord Udney-Lister says the UK also sees the UAE as a great gateway to the Indo-Pacific market after Brexit. “The operating benefits are clear. English is widely spoken. Businesses often follow English common law and the UAE has a fintech scene as vibrant as it is in the UK.”

A favorable regulatory framework for setting up a business and a competitive start-up incubator are indications of this. “We deploy the latest technology to invest money directly into renewable energy projects,” says James Spence, co-founder of the Libra Project, a blockchain-based renewable energy impact company. I can’t think of a better place to do this. Could. UAE. My entire renewable energy company is based on blockchain and it is a clear indication that the UAE is going to be a leader in blockchain technology.”

Additionally, Spence says that part of the process of fostering a healthy start-up environment is rigorous scrutiny of entry into incubators, as in the UAE. “It’s about being both supportive and competitive with a long-term outlook.”

There is still a long way to go but the United Arab Emirates has great potential to be among the world’s 4IR leaders.


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