Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, during the launch event at Innovation Hub in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) on Saturday
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, during the launch event at Innovation Hub in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) on Saturday Image Credit: X/@DXBMediaOffice

Dubai: The first phase of the Dubai AI Campus was launched on Saturday at Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, launched the first phase of the campus, set to become the largest dedicated hub for AI (artificial intelligence) and technology companies in the Middle East and North Africa.

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In a post on X account, Sheikh Hamdan said: “Startups will have access to supercomputers for training AI algorithms and a supportive legislative environment to foster the growth of next-generation AI companies. The campus aims to attract over 500 companies, create more than 3,000 job opportunities, and expand to over 100,000 square feet by 2028. Additionally, we will establish global technological partnerships with leading companies in the sector.”

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He added that guided by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the emirate of Dubai is seeing a new era of sustainable economic growth driven by innovation and future technologies.

“This initiative is aligned with the Dubai Economic Agenda D33, which seeks to generate an annual contribution of Dh100 billion from digital transformation projects to Dubai’s economy over the next decade. From realising ambitious projects to creating unique new growth opportunities, Dubai’s remarkable vision for the future makes it a city that inspires greatness.”

Region’s top AI destination

Announced in 2023, the Dubai AI Campus is the largest dedicated cluster of AI and advanced tech in the MENA region.

The new campus also aligns with Dubai’s vision to emerge as the chosen destination among tech businesses and will drive its contribution to innovation and tech integration across all sectors. It is estimated that AI will contribute $230 billion to the Middle East’s economy by 2030, while making up 14 per cent of the UAE’s GDP by 2030.

The inaugural ceremony was attended by Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications; Issa Kazim, Governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre; and Arif Amiri, CEO of the DIFC Authority.

The Dubai AI Campus cluster will be part of the DIFC Innovation Hub, which offers dedicated co-working spaces to tech startups, including AI businesses. Phase one of the campus is already complete with more than 75 businesses registered on a 10,000-square-foot campus. Phase two of the campus will extend over 100,000 square feet and is set to attract over 500 companies creating more than 3,000 jobs by 2028.

A global hub

Kazim welcomed Sheikh Hamdan to the opening of the Dubai AI Campus, saying the cluster will accelerate the realisation of goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda while supporting future technology and digital economy strategies of the emirate.

“The opening of Dubai AI Campus is part of the first phase of the annual Dubai Universal Blueprint for Artificial Intelligence [DUB.AI], acting as a key enabler that will bolster Dubai’s position as a global hub accelerating the adoption of advanced technology,” he said.

Easy investor access

"Through Dubai and DIFC’s innovative structure, startups have direct access to investors, investment funds, major corporations and traditional financial institutions. This ensures that high-potential businesses receive the necessary funding needed to achieve their goals."

Catalyst for fintech ecosystem

Arif Amiri, CEO of the DIFC Authority, said: “Dubai AI Campus helps accelerate the objectives of DIFC’s 2030 Strategy, which aims to further empower our growing fintech and innovation ecosystem."

“The cluster will also cement DIFC’s position as the largest incubator of the financial sector across the MEASA region as we look forward to collaborating with regional players to help them simplify and expand their business through AI,” he added.

Tech partnerships

The Dubai AI Campus facilitates multinational tech partnerships with leading tech companies such as Amazon Web Services, HP, Microsoft, Oracle and Nvidia, who will join the cluster as key partners, further highlighting its empowering nature and making it home to the first innovation lab offering AI solutions to the UAE’s small businesses, in collaboration with du.

Additionally, the cluster will provide high computing capabilities, including DGX platforms, and state-of-the-art business accelerator programmes that advance implementation of AI applications in the private sector.

Unique licences

The Dubai AI Campus will be offering a unique AI licence specially designed to meet the requirements of the next generation of AI-dependent businesses. This licence utilises DIFC’s independent legal framework.

Businesses within the cluster will also benefit from DIFC’s Digital Assets Law, the first of its kind globally, offering legal certainty to investors and users of digital assets.

Future tech showcase

Further testifying to its leadership and focus on leveraging technological advancements for the greater good, Dubai is set to host the premier Dubai AI and Web3 Festival, organised by Dubai AI Campus in collaboration with the Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications Office, and DIFC, on September 11 and 12 at Madinat Jumeirah.

The event, highlighting Dubai’s unwavering commitment to promote future technology, is expected to attract over 5,000 visitors and participants, besides more than 500 investors and 100 exhibitors.

Since its launch in 2021, DIFC’s Innovation Hub continues to grow and forge milestone partnerships while driving innovation and helping shape forward-looking plans. It is now home to over 1,000 startups. As part of the Dubai Metaverse Strategy, the Innovation Hub launched the Metaverse Accelerator Program, which enrolled more than 150 students in its first cohort.