Dubai Chamber extension 2
Dubai Chamber played the role of an interlocutor between the government and the private sector, thus helping businesses cope with the strains set off by COVID-19. These lessons will come in handy in scripting a digital economy transition. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Every cloud has space for a silver lining. In the case of COVID-19, the virus created a moment of truth for governments and businesses, having to quickly respond to the unprecedented challenges and adapt to a new reality.

Despite its widespread impact, this pandemic, like global crises that came before it, created a new breeding ground for innovation. History has shown us time and time again how disruption has left organisations with no choice but to explore new ideas and solutions.

Same for all

Chambers of commerce, like businesses and governments, are experiencing challenges and opportunities. Dubai Chamber, with the support of ICC-WCF, recently published a report, which provided clarity on how chambers of commerce dealt with the impact of COVID-19.

We discovered that chambers, for the most part, were effective in responding to the changing needs of members and ensuring continuity of value-added services. Along with the monumental challenges came an opportunity to support business communities in their hour of need and create a roadmap for an economic recovery.

Digital led innovations

Through this transitional period, we learned many valuable lessons as a chamber, including the important role of digital preparedness and collaboration in ensuring business continuity and enhancing competitiveness.

Dubai is a prime example of an economy at the forefront of the digital evolution. Startups and SMEs are rising to the occasion as they bring out solutions in the areas of fintech, healthtech, education and e-commerce. I expect this dynamic segment to play a crucial role in supporting the emirate’s growth going forward as it transitions into a digitally-driven economy.

After shifting nearly all of our core services, activities and events to digital channels earlier this year, we are now doubling down efforts to help businesses across the UAE strengthen their online presence and benefit from e-commerce platforms.

Through the newly launched Chamber Connect Series, we have created a platform for knowledge sharing and cross-border collaboration. The series has opened an important conversation about how chambers of commerce are realigning their resources in line with changing market conditions and embraced digital transformation as the way of the future.

Power of ‘Triple P’

Another positive change we have seen is a stronger commitment among public and private sector players to work together to address common challenges. The successful and gradual reopening of Dubai’s economy would not have been possible without the seamless public-private sector cooperation that exists.

As a bridge between government and business spheres, Dubai Chamber is playing a crucial role in facilitating public-private sector partnerships that foster economic growth and innovation. While our wise leadership lays the groundwork for the UAE’s economic recovery and for the next 50 years, we are now exploring new ways to involve the private sector in discussions and plans that will shape the UAE’s future.

It is our shared responsibility to build on this momentum, remain united in the face of new challenges, and keep the UAE on a steady path of progress.

- Hamad Buamim is the President and CEO – Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Chairman of ICC – World Chambers Federation.