Creating an ideal environment for social and economic development can be a tough balancing act for many developed nations. With these nations, their national agendas often start with good intentions, but often struggle through the various stages of implementation.
Here in the UAE, the ingredients for success are in place and thriving, the results of which are in plain view for all to see. Thanks to a highly advanced technological infrastructure, this success is driving an increasingly diversified economy, a tolerant and open society, and a collective spirit contributing to, and benefiting from, the country’s successes.
These advances in government and business efficiency, as well as technological and scientific infrastructure, have boosted the UAE’s position as a Top 10 economy in the recent IMD World Competitiveness Rankings.
The premise for this is simple. The UAE’s spirit of opportunity starts and ends with embracing innovation. This is something I believe comes down to a willingness to engage with bold, revolutionary ideas that shape the things to come. By creating ecosystems that allow innovation to thrive, emerging technologies are becoming key engines behind driving the country’s progressive outlook.
Investment in these technologies — such as 5G, Blockchain, internet of Things (IoT), and Artificial Intelligence (AI) — is empowering industries and companies of all shapes and sizes to unlock new digital services, solutions and opportunities that create high economic and societal value.
With the launch of innovative models and policies to spur future opportunity — such as the UAE Vision 2021, Blockchain Strategy 2021, and the AI Strategy 2031 — the nation has established itself as a hub for global tech innovation and a role model for future governments to emulate in their quests for enterprising communities and public sector entities to overcome challenges and create opportunity.
These visions are being formulated by an environment that is conducive to transformation on many levels — and emerging technology development is the means to achieve them.
The country’s dominance in the technology sector can be attributed to its rise as a start-up incubator, the formulation of a robust SME ecosystem, an atmosphere that encourages entrepreneurial endeavour, and a strong appetite for technological uptake. For example, the UAE is expected to see the largest impact of AI in the Middle East, with estimates forecasting this to contribute close to 14 per cent of GDP by 2030.
With the emergence of IoT, as 5G connectivity becomes a reality, International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that investment in this technology’s capabilities could reach up to $900 million by 2021 in the UAE alone.
Whether it be social or economic empowerment, the road map for sustainable development and growth has been rectified by setting a foundation to seize opportunity through new technologies and by realising the value of incorporating these into future policy design, policy monitoring and policy assessment.
This is accelerating the UAE’s ability to leverage advanced technologies. The effects of this are already showing on a global scale, with the UAE outpacing global averages in its adaptation of new technologies. This pace of innovation is revolutionising how the country does business and also shaping the future of society.
The UAE is a nation built on opportunity. Resolute and purpose-driven, the UAE’s economic and societal contributors continue to help set the benchmark for what successful nation-building is.
We are fortunate that progressive initiatives driven by our leadership are truly enriching rather than just designed for profit. Launching pioneering models for public and private sector collaboration is positioning the UAE as a global innovation hub and a role model for how governments of the future can inspire progress and redefine opportunity.
This is why the UAE continues to be stay ahead of the curve globally. Opportunity is and always has been at the heart of everything we do — and I believe this is a legacy worth continuing as we look ahead to the future.
Abdulwahed Juma is Executive Vice-President for Brand & Corporate Communications, du.