The UAE government’s plan to expand the industrial sector in next 10 years will encourage entrepreneurship and boost small and medium enterprises Corporate executives, industrialists and entrepreneurs welcome the UAE’s industrial strategy ‘Operation 300 billion’ and said it will boost the country’s global competitiveness and benefit the small and medium enterprises. They said the 10-year comprehensive strategy aims to empower and expand the industrial sector to become the driving force of a sustainable national economy, increasing its contribution to the GDP from the current Dh133 billion to Dh300 billion by 2031. Sami Al Qamzi, director-general, Dubai Economy, said the UAE is taking a fundamental step towards developing the industrial sector and growing into a global hub for advanced industry. “We in Dubai have worked to develop an integrated industrial ecosystem and promote future projects outside traditional frameworks to accelerate progress in the sectors emphasised in the Dubai Industrial Strategy, of which innovation and sustainability are the main pillars. We will continue to work with the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology to formulate programmes that support emerging trends in the UAE industrial sector,” he said. Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, said the national strategy unveiled by the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology and the Emirates Development Bank sets out a clear roadmap to develop the advanced industries needed to diversify and future-proof the UAE’s economy. “At Masdar, we look forward to working with the Ministry and the Bank in implementing this strategy, and ensuring that clean energy and sustainable technologies play an increased role in the UAE’s continued growth,” he said. Saud Abu Al Shawareb, managing director of Dubai Industrial City and a steering member of the Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030, said manufacturing has been a catalyst of the UAE’s growth and diversification for decades, creating thousands of jobs and investment opportunities. “By boosting R&D and building on our achievements, ‘Operation Dh300 billion’ will boost our knowledge and innovation-based economy and strengthen the emirate’s attractiveness as a global business destination,” he said. He said Dubai Industrial City has played a key role in the expansion of local production. From concrete to coffee, the diversity of high-quality products made in the UAE has continued to rise year-on-year. “Dubai’s world-class infrastructure and business-friendly ecosystem enables companies to reach two-thirds of the world’s population in eight hours. As the region’s largest manufacturing and logistics hub covering more than 550 million square foot, we are proud to have contributed to the country’s highly-skilled talent pool. And with solar powered factories that leverage artificial intelligence, robotics and 3D printing, our business partners have a lot to offer this bold new agenda,” he said. Tareq Abdulraheem Al Hosani, chief executive officer of Tawazun Economic Council (Tawazun), said today’s announcement of the Industrial Strategy ‘Operation Dh300 billion’ bodes well for the industrial sector development, in line with the 4th industrial revolution. “Operation Dh300 billion will help boost the sector’s contribution to building a knowledge-based economy and to sustaining the UAE’s comprehensive development drive,” he said. Over the past 29 years, Tawazun has enabled creation of more than 111 companies and investment vehicles, covering 12 sectors, including 40 companies in defense manufacturing. It also provided 100,000 job opportunities, hence contributing to the Emiratisation of the defense and security industries sector. “The strategy provides a solid foundation for the development of an agile industrial sector to enhance UAE’s competitive advantages and to strengthen Public-Private Partnerships,” Al Hosani stated. Abdulnasser bin Kalban, chief executive officer of Emirates Global Aluminium, said the aluminium sector, with Emirates Global Aluminium at its heart, is a great example of what can be achieved and “we look forward to further advances for our nation” through this important new strategy from MoIAT and Emirates Development Bank. Faisal Al Bannai, CEO and managing director, EDGE, welcomed the strategy and said it is set to shape the future of a more integrated ecosystem, where collectively. “We will be able to upscale for a more sustainable industrial base, better leverage advanced technologies that are fit for the future, and leverage R&D spend and talent attraction for the most impactful outcomes. As we look ahead with confidence to the opportunities that advanced technology offers us, at EDGE we are excited by the role that the new ministry plays in bringing all critical sectors, together,” he added. SHIFTING FOCUS OF ECONOMY Bharat Bhatia, chief executive of Conares, the second largest steel manufacturer in the Middle East, said it is great to know that the UAE is gradually shifting the focus of its economy towards industrial sector as its backbone for growth. “Industry is the only way forward for the long-term sustainable growth of any economy in the world. Industries create innumerable employment opportunities in line with the business evolution, infrastructure investment, increased consumption and individual purchase power resulting in greater economic growth,” Bhatia told Khaleej Times. “With the government safeguarding industrial interests, more industries are being encouraged to come forward and set up their businesses. This will help to make the ‘Made in UAE’ brand reaching new heights, and export the products manufactured in the UAE to be well recognised across the globe. It is a magnificent achievement to see the transformation of this market from consumer to manufacturing. The UAE believes in the future of its industrial assets,” he added. Shailesh Dash, entrepreneur and financier, said, the UAE government’s plan to expand the industrial sector in next 10 years will encourage entrepreneurship and boost small and medium enterprises. “The strategy will not only be boosting productivity, creating new job opportunities, polishing skills of local talent and increasing national competitiveness but also strengthened the national economy,” he said. He said more than 13,500 SMEs and 33,000 industrial enterprises operating across the UAE will be major beneficiary of the strategy and provide growth impetus to new entrepreneurs to lay foundation for ‘Made in UAE’ products in years to come. Lal Bhatia, chairman, Hilshaw Group, said all UAE growth and advancement initiatives and efforts are a diligently thought out strategy framework. “Operation Dh300 billion is a remarkable milestone to set as ‘In Country’ value creation, economic diversification and moving the economy towards a more export focused mindset needs to be a parallel focus alongside creating opportunities for international businesses. While UAE is known for its many offerings and opportunities, being an industrial hub is a sure fire path to resilient and buoyant economy,” he said. Mansoor AlMansoori, group chief operating officer, G42, said the UAE has been at the forefront of harnessing technology and innovation to enhance our communities and benefit society at large. “We applaud the Strategy by the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology which, once more, recognizes the importance of digital transformation for organisations’ survival and ability to adapt to today’s fast-changing environment,” he said. Saleh Abdulla Lootah, chairman of Food & Beverage Manufacturing Group, said the new industrial strategy announced by the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT) can be termed as UAE’s Industrial Revolution that aligns all stakeholders onto one road map, making it more effective for the overall economy. “This strategy will accelerate progressive adoption of advanced technology in the industrial sector and ensure that our F&B industry is resilient and future proof – helping us achieve our national goals of Food Security and proudly placing the UAE F&B industry as a global food hub,” he added. Hazeem Sultan Al Suwaidi, chief executive officer, Borouge, said: “We are proud of our collaboration with the MoIAT in driving progress for the long-term strategic growth and diversification of the UAE’s economy and unlocking further value for our nation. By supporting local businesses and playing our part in producing polymers proudly made in UAE, and collaborating with our value chain partners, we enhance our contribution to the In-Country Value programme, reinforce making it in the Emirates and advance the petrochemicals industry’s development.” Abdallah Massaad, group chief executive officer RAK Ceramics, said this initiative will pave the way for further industrial growth. “We are very proud to be a global company, but at the same time, we are honoured to be UAE homegrown brand,” he said. STRATEGIC LONG-TERM PLANS Abdul Jebbar PB, managing director of Hotpack Global, a food packaging products manufacturer with an annual group turnover of Dh950 million and with a strength of 2,250 employees, said Rulers of the UAE do not cease to amaze the rest of the world with many strategic long-term developmental plans that would elevate the position of the nation among most developed world nations. “With manufacturing sector contributing close to 20 per cent of the UAE GDP, the newly launched Industrial strategy would definitely lead to unprecedented growth of the sector. With new manufacturing protocols and unified industrial identity planned for ensuring global production standards, the “Made in UAE” tag would soon be synonymous with products of unmatched quality standards and features,” he said. “I am sure ‘Operation Dh300 billion’ strategy would achieve its objectives ahead of time and would create many investment opportunities in the manufacturing sector, which in turn strengthen the UAE’s unique position as leading global business hub,” he said. Yasir Jamal, VP Supply Chain, Unilever Mena, said the new strategy is an inspiring push-forward for the nation’s economic industrial progress. “This new strategy marks a new era of renewed commitment to drive growth through powerful partnerships with all relevant parties,” he said. Dietmar Siersdorfer, managing director, Siemens Energy Middle East, said, the new strategy of the UAE MoIAT is testament to the innovative spirit of the UAE and the guidance of the wise and visionary leadership. “We look forward to strengthening and expanding our valued partnership in the decades to come,” he said. GREAT INITIATIVE TO ENHANCE GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS Professor Ammar Kaka, provost and vice-principal of Heriot-Watt University Dubai, said ‘Operation 300 billion’ is a great initiative to build credibility for products made in the UAE and to enhance global competitiveness. “We laud the country’s visionary leadership in developing the industrial sector in order to achieve self-sufficiency and protect the economy from global crises. With a focus on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the UAE is becoming a front runner in a sector expected to globally reach $214 billion by 2023,” he said. “In the UAE itself, Industry 4.0 has tremendous potential to attract additional revenue from digitisation and integration, results in cost savings and drives sustainability thereby benefiting the UAE economy. The industrial sector has already taken a head start in being future forward and this announcement will only propel it further,” he said. “As with any growing industry, we know that talent is key to enhancing its value and being future ready. Higher education today focuses on ensuring students develop skills that boost their employability and make them future ready, and we look forward to supporting the growth of a sustainable national economy by nurturing quality talent that can harness it,” he added. PLAN TO ATTRACT MORE INVESTMENT Shihas Kizhisseri, CEO of Pixcom Group of Companies, said the UAE will achieve higher growth and attract more investment domestically and internationally. “Key sectors where UAE can continue growth area infrastructure, tourism, space programs, automobiles, IT, pharma, ports, and hospitality. This announcement also spells good news for the digital signage industry as IOT solutions will eventually become more regionally relevant and economical,” he said. Candid Wuest, VP of Cyber protection research Acronis, said the ‘Operation Dh300 billion’ is expected to support more than 13,500 SMEs and with this growth, cyber protection will continue to play a key role in making the region a safe and secure hub for businesses including manufacturing units to function effectively. “While this decision is part of a larger vision moving towards where UAE wants to be in the future, it does not just make UAE a coveted business destination, but also an epicenter of skilled workforce,” he said. Amine Sadi, regional sales manager MEA Milestone Systems, said this move will utilise the existing talent base and enhance employment opportunities in the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors. “Technology will play an even bigger role to vault towards the industrial growth of ‘Operation Dh300 billion. There is no doubt that UAE will continue to march towards becoming the region’s manufacturing hub,” he said.