- The UAE is leading the region in innovation, says H.E. Eng. Mohammed Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz Al Shihhi, Undersecretary, Ministry of Economy
Your Excellency, how have the innovative activations that the Ministry of economy have initiated to enhance UAE’s knowledge-based economy percolated across to the UAE business community?
Vision 2021 is the UAE’s blueprint for the future and underlines the significance of the country’s ambition to establish a diversified global competitive economy based on knowledge and innovation led by national competencies. In line with this, the UAE is committed to ensuring the diversification of its economic foundations and providing continued support to key sectors.
The government remains persistent in its efforts to facilitate a fruitful investment climate and sustainable business infrastructure that will ensure a simple transaction process for local and foreign investors. The UAE’s strategic location is a huge advantage as it has established itself as a regional hub for import and export activities in the GCC. This has presented the country with the opportunity to become a central trading post and gateway for merchandise that go in and out of the region.
The ABLF is a vital platform for global leaders to explore sustainable collaborations and access opportunities within Asia because it enhances dialogue platforms with the country's strategic partners whilst strengthening the links of cooperation between government institutions and private sector entities.
The National Innovation Strategy defines the role of innovation, knowledge, technology and research and development in the growth process. These factors have all contributed to building strong pillars to develop a sustainable and economic environment that boasts unprecedented opportunities.
The UAE has applied an ambitious and progressive development vision based on openness, diversity of cultures and freedom of creativity. The country has made huge progress since its establishment in the development of policies and legislation to support intellectual property rights; forging thriving partnerships globally in the process in order to exchange advanced expertise, knowledge and technologies to provide a modern intellectual property system and manage it more effectively.
Due to these sustained efforts, the UAE Ministry of economy has succeeded in establishing a sophisticated institutional and electronic structure for the patents registration, copyrights and trademarks, and to showcase the innovative transformation of all services related to the protection of intellectual property rights. The competitiveness of the country on many indicators of development and global competiveness has been enhanced through national initiatives and efforts. The Global Innovation Index is a notable example; the UAE has ensured its leadership in the region for three successive years and was ranked 38th worldwide in 2018.
The innovative activations that have been initiated to enhance the UAE’s knowledge-based economy have successfully percolated across the country’s business community and this has been reflected numerous international economic indicators. The UAE ranks number one in the Arab region and 11th worldwide for effectively and efficiently doing business. According to the World Investment Report 2018 issued by the UNCTAD, the UAE ranked 30th on the list of the best countries in the world in attracting foreign direct investment. The country also achieved a substantial growth of 7.8 percent in its FDI inflows in 2017, totalling $10.4 billion, whilst accounting for around 40 per cent of the total incoming investments to the Arab countries and Western Asia.
The UAE Ministry of Economy has been ABLF’s Partner since 2016. How do leadership summits like the ABLF attract foreign investments into the UAE?
We look at leadership summits like the ABLF as versatile platforms that promote and encourage entrepreneurship and innovation through strategic roadmaps aimed at growth and development.
Under the royal patronage of H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Cabinet Member and Minister of Tolerance, and in association with the UAE Ministry of Economy, the ABLF has over the last decade carefully curated exemplars of Asian leadership who have inspired millions of people through their journeys, legacies, global conversations and social mentorship.
This has been achieved by hosting high-profile events that have promoted business networking and knowledge sharing across 26 dedicated forums and 7 annual award events that have recognized more than 100 exemplary leaders in Asia.
The UAE Ministry of Economy remains confident that the direct results of ABLF Dubai 2019 will further enhance the strong bonds with Asian nations and reinforce our relationship as partners and friends working together to explore and execute collaborative strategies to attract investment in key economic sectors.
Why is the ABLF a key platform for global leaders to explore sustainable collaborations and access opportunities within Asia?
The ABLF is a vital platform for global leaders to explore sustainable collaborations and access opportunities within Asia because it enhances dialogue platforms with the country's strategic partners whilst strengthening the links of cooperation between government institutions and private sector entities. It also allows the exchange of knowledge, innovation and best practices between emerging and developed markets within the Asian market, which has gained significant and sustained support from leaders, decision-makers and officials around the world.
Despite the optimism due to improved growth rates and the emergence of short-term positive outlooks for the global economy. Which has been reflected in the IMF's estimate of an average global economic growth of 3.9% between 2018-2019. There is still an urgent need to promote inter-Asian market dialogue and to explore the opportunities for partnerships available. Such gathering aims at creating synergies for strengthening trade and investments by identifying specific areas and boosting key infrastructure projects.
The UAE is poised for great growth with the Expo 2020 Dubai, how can nations of Asia participate and contribute to this growth?
The strong ties between the UAE and Asian markets are founded on a key commitment towards harmonious international trade, economic diversification and a key focus on emerging global trends and sectors. This is made even stronger by a shared desire to further develop and enhance economic and commercial ties based on equity and mutual benefit. The strength of the ties between both sides is evident in the consolidated business partnerships and the continuous growth and development attributed to it strong trade relations.
Expo 2020 will present countless trade and investment opportunities both during and after the event that will strengthen joint relations and create greater opportunities for Asian companies to reinforce their presence in the UAE market. Expo 2020 Dubai is already actively engaging with companies and business chambers on a global scale to ensure they are able to leverage billions of dollars in procurement opportunities before, during and after the event.
Expo 2020’s new business tool, Online Marketplace, will enable increased connectivity and growth among companies all over the world by giving them the opportunity to showcase their expertise and products at the event to participants and partners, licensees and major contractors, as well as other businesses from around the globe. SMEs will also have a unique opportunity to strengthen their product offering, develop their brand and expand their scope to reach new global audiences.
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