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AI and advanced tech will drive UAE’s future sustainable growth

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When it comes to delivering on a future vision, the UAE has set the standard in the Middle East. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, has said that industries of the future are central to the UAE government’s efforts to secure sustainable long-term economic growth.

This focus on the future and the inherent understanding of the transformations required in the global industrial landscape are fundamental to the philosophy of the National Strategy for Industry and Advanced Technology, known as Operation 300bn.

The government’s 10-year strategy is the most comprehensive of its kind. It seeks to advance and expand the nation’s vibrant industrial sector and shape it into a key driver of the national economy.

As well as enhancing industries where the UAE already has a strong and establish presence, and strategic sectors to reduce dependencies on global supply chains, Operation 300bn zooms in on future industries. Those driven by artificial intelligence (AI) and advance technology adoption, where knowledge and innovation form the foundations of their economic growth. Space technology, clean energy sources, medical technology, and clean and renewable energy all fall under the microscope of this section of the strategy

To achieve its topline goal of increasing the industrial sector’s GDP contribution to AED300 billion by 2031, these industries of the future will play a critical role while stimulating entrepreneurship, innovation and new avenues of economic productivity.

The UAE is already off to a good start in these sectors. AI has become a characteristic of the UAE’s future-forward direction. The Strategy for AI announced in 2017 and the establishment of the UAE Space Agency in 2014 has done much to facilitate and accelerate the UAE’s status as a global leader of AI solutions.

Consequently, the UAE has achieved some historic milestones in the space sector in recent years. Most recently, the arrival of the Hope Probe to the orbit of Mars, under the Emirates Mars Mission, on 9 February 2021, becoming the first satellite from the Arab world to achieve this feat.

Notably, the team was led by a team of young Emirati scientists and engineers – a clear demonstration of the upwards ascent of the nation’s ambitious young workforce and their advanced technology capabilities. Building on this historic success, it’s clear that the space sector will become a key contributor to GDP growth.

With steadfast support from the UAEs leadership, the national space sector has developed remarkably in the past seven years, after receiving AED22 of investment in that time. 

Today, it boasts 13 orbiting satellites, five new satellites under development, and more than 50 companies, institutions and space facilities operating within the country, including international companies and start-ups, and three satellite operating institutions are the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Establishment, and the Yahsat with Thuraya, , five research centers for space sciences, and three university programs in space science. Moreover, space sector is currently employing more than 3,100 engineers, experts, technicians and other skills related to the space sector.

It’s not just space that the space sector will prove impactful in the long term. The industrial applications of space science technologies are vital. Artificial limbs for people of determination, scratch-resistant lenses, solar cells, telephone cameras, MRI imaging devices, insulating building materials, laptops and dozens of other products would not have been possible without space programs. Most of these high-tech advances were originally invented by scientists working on space missions, before they became commercially available to citizens of earth. Space programs are key developers for the innovation-based economy and smart technology solutions, which accompany the emergence of entirely new economic sectors.

Beyond the space sector, AI applications are used in a wide array of fields, including medical diagnostics, stock trading, machine control, video game industries, internet search engine software agriculture, transport and logistics, in addition to IoT (Internet of Things). Moreover, AI and 4IR technology solutions are vital to anticipating manufacturing faults and avoiding disruptions to global supply chains. It is here, also, through the accelerating of advanced technology adoption that Operation 300bn can enhance the UAE’s infrastructure to reinforce the nation’s resilience in vital sectors.

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