With the participation of 30 speakers, including leaders, officials, experts and advisors
The Department of Economic Development - Abu Dhabi organized today the first virtual edition of the "The Future Economy" forum under the theme "Abu Dhabi Economy... The Leaders’ Vision for a Sustainable Future,” with the participation of 30 speakers including leaders, senior officials, experts and economic advisors. More than a thousand participants from 70 countries attended the forum along with 80 local entities and companies from Abu Dhabi that participated in the virtual exhibition.
The event served as a powerful platform to showcase how the Abu Dhabi government’s policies and emergency measures have succeeded in stimulating growth in private sector companies, achieving business sustainability, and attracting more investments in spite of the economic repercussions felt on a global scale as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.
In his speech, His Excellency Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy said: “The UAE, since its inception, has been working to fulfill the requirements of sustainable development, which is translated by the advanced position it enjoys today as a regional and global destination for investment, business and tourism, and a preferred destination to live, indicating that in light of the government’s wise leadership, all government agencies are working to continue the development process according to an ambitious vision to move towards a more flexible model and a sustainable future.””
“The country's economic priorities for the next phase are based on achieving the fastest economic recovery and restoring growth rates according to a gradual and studied path of transformation towards a sustainable economic and development model based on investment in knowledge, innovation and creativity that establish the pillars and strengthening the UAE's position as a regional and global destination for minds and talents," H.E. Al Marri added.
H.E. Al Marri explained that in order to fulfill these ambitious goals, 10 main directions can be identified that serve this direction, including developing the entrepreneurship sector and small and medium enterprises, developing new business partnerships, attracting more foreign investments, especially in the sectors of the new economy, and establishing the UAE's position as a global destination for attracting talents and minds; while working to enhance the ease of doing business in the country, reducing business costs, engaging the private sector in developing economic policies that support it, raising the level of coordination and integration among government efforts at the federal and local levels, and developing flexible economic policies, in a way that serves the state’s orientations and contributes to bringing about the required transformations in the economic environment, business climate, trade and investment, benefiting the national economy and enhancing its competitiveness regionally and globally.
For his part, H.E. Mohamed Ali Al Shorafa Al Hammadi, the Chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED), highlighted Abu Dhabi’s efforts before and during the pandemic that have contributed to the emirate’s economic success.
“The Abu Dhabi Government has been taking proactive measures to support the private sector long before the pandemic. Such measures include the Ghadan 21 accelerators program as well as a broad range of initiatives that incentivized companies and institutions enabling them to become more sustainable, thus making investment easier and increasing their contribution to the emirate’s GDP,” stated H.E. Al Hammadi.
“In line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Abu Dhabi Government has made intensive efforts since the start of the pandemic to respond to the needs of the Abu Dhabi community. One of the principal aims was to support companies through these challenging economic times. The government allocated AED 5 million as water and electricity subsidies for citizens and commercial and industrial sectors; AED 3 billion for the credit guarantee program to stimulate financing SMEs and AED 1 billion for financial markets. Resilient Investment loan was also enacted to maintain Abu Dhabi’s economic prosperity,” H.E. Al Hammadi added.
H.E. Mohamed Ali Al Shorafa stressed the Abu Dhabi government’s eagerness to create more investment opportunities by encouraging innovation, research and development, and raising the level of the workforce in the private sector. These efforts are in light of Abu Dhabi’s continued implementation of its strategies to preserve its gains and achieve a growth rate of between 6% - 8% over the next two years. Growth is predicted to come from the oil sector, government spending, financial services and foreign direct investment. "
“At the same time, the emirate’s economic strategy involves targeting specific economic sectors in which government entities can partner with the private sector to enhance their contribution to the emirates GDP. This will be bolstered by new investments and implementation of development projects that enhance the governments’ competitiveness regionally and internationally,” emphasized H.E. Al Hammadi.”
H.E. Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Chairman of the Department of Community Development (DCD) in Abu Dhabi, participated in the event as a Keynote Speaker. He stressed the role of the DCD in improving the social services in Abu Dhabi and the importance of awareness of the complementary role between the social and economic sectors.
“We renew our commitment in the Department of Community Development to consolidate fruitful cooperation and effective partnership between the government and private sectors to improve the quality of services and build an integrated and cohesive society that provides a decent life and happiness for all individuals. We look forward to continuing the qualitative initiatives that support the wheel of economic and social growth and consolidate the prestigious reputation of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi as the ideal place to live, work and thrive,” said H.E. Dr. Al Khaili.
H.E. Rashed Abdulkarim Al Blooshi, the Undersecretary of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, highlighted during his one to one interview, the primary strategies that the emirate is undertaking in order to achieve a more sustainable economy. He discussed the emirate's readiness to implement several major strategies that achieve sustainable economic diversification and enhance the emirate's competitiveness.
“We know that 51% of our economy relies on oil and 49% on non -oil sectors. Therefore, the DED is keen to focus its strategic plan for the coming years on developing non-oil sectors, especially promising strategic sectors such as industry, agriculture, tourism, energy, health, education, SMEs, technology and innovation."
His Excellency Al Blooshi explained that the Abu Dhabi Government is keen to provide capabilities for current and targeted foreign investors, as the department works to facilitate the investor's journey to start their investment activity through easy access to the market, easy export of their products, and easy access to raw materials to start the processing and manufacturing.
During the sessions of the ‘The Future Economy’ forum, the needs of investors, startups, SMEs, entrepreneurs, and Special Economic Zones were discussed to support an integrated business environment and shape sustainable strategies to build a stronger post-pandemic economy. The interactive forum helped identify risks, challenges, and opportunities in various sectors and discussed strategies towards building a more robust and resilient economy.
“The Abu Dhabi Experience” session featured different businesses and discussed the vital factors that make Abu Dhabi an ideal city to set up a business with the views to expand and grow. A group of experts and advisors from the UAE International Investors Council, Tabreed, EGA, and Boston Consulting Group participated in the session.
The session “Accelerating Digital Transformation of the Economy & Instilling a Culture of Leadership and Innovation Among the Youth” highlighted the initiatives and measures taken by the government and the private sector to boost and contribute towards the digital transformation of the economy. Officials from Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX), ADIB, Huawei Middle East, Accenture, and Takamul Academy for Talented Children Development participated in this session.
“Abu Dhabi Free Zones Attraction” session addressed how Special Economic Zones in the city can kick start economic growth, diversify economies, and trigger Industry 4.0 developments. The session was attended by chief executives from Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD), ADGM Financial Services Regulatory Authority, twofour54 Abu Dhabi & Image Nation Abu Dhabi (INAD), and Al Tamimi & Co.
“Strengthening the Startup Ecosystem in Abu Dhabi” session tackled how to strengthen and boost the startup ecosystem in Abu Dhabi; with the participation of Microsoft for StartUps MEA , NYU Abu Dhabi, startAD, Lamsa, Mubadala Investment Company, MidChains, and Bayzat.
The session “Made in Abu Dhabi – Empower SME Futurists” discussed the commitments of the Abu Dhabi Government entities and the private sector to strengthen SMEs' role in economic development by enabling them to contribute effectively to the emirate’s gross domestic product, with the participation of the UAE Ministry Of Economy, Strategy& Middle East, Abu Dhabi Customs, Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development (KFED), Etihad Credit Insurance (ECI), DeliveryZone, and Daman - National Health Insurance Company.
Several industrial companies in Abu Dhabi participated in the “Made in Abu Dhabi Virtual Exhibition” organised as part of the event. The exhibition served as a platform for SMEs and startups in the emirate to showcase their products and services.
The World Competitiveness Yearbook 2020 released by the IMD revealed that Abu Dhabi ranked 9th worldwide and 2nd regionally in ‘Economic Performance’ and 12th for ‘Government Efficiency’ indicators, out of 63 globally competitive economies in the world.