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Advanced Technology

Abu Dhabi’s advanced technology sector is setting precedents in information technology, telecommunication, artificial intelligence, and space.

Being the world’s 1st capital city with 100% fibre-to-home broadband connectivity, boasting the fastest mobile network operator globally, and housing the world’s first AI university, Abu Dhabi is recognised as the smartest city in the MENA region.

Abu Dhabi has a vibrant digital economy and is a leader in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) innovation. 

Over the last few decades, the Emirate has developed necessary infrastructure to adopt next-generation technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT), alongside the launch of the UAE Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Indsutry 4.0), strengthening its position as a global hub for disruptive technologies and innovation. 

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The Industry 4.0 Strategy 

The UAE’s Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) Strategy aims to increase innovation and productivity, reduce the industrial sector’s carbon footprint, and add AED 25 billion to the economy by 2031. Industry 4.0 is a cornerstone of the government’s roadmap to ensure the country supports innovation and opens new economic possibilities for generations to come. The strategy will leverage Indsutry 4.0  technologies such as: 

  • Automation
  • Advanced manufacturing 
  • Blockchain 
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) 
  • Internet of things (IoT) 

With a potential to generate up to AED 335 billion, the UAE offers special emphasis to AI. It provides access to world-leading universities and is a hub for highly skilled professionals to re-skill in the most in-demand AI roles. The country has appointed its first Minister of Artificial Intelligence, and is integrating AI with industries such as education, healthcare, space, transportation, and aviation. 

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A growing market 

Developments in Abu Dhabi’s advanced technology and AI capabilities have unlocked opportunities for all other innovation-focused sectors such as education, renewable energy, healthcare, space, transportation, and aviation. The UAE is taking definitive strides, with a clear vision to further develop this market: 

  • As a national priority, the UAE is investing USD 3 billion in innovation each year 
  • IT spending is projected to increase to a total of USD 8.2 billion by 2023 
  • AI will contribute an estimated USD 98 billion to the UAE’s economy by 2030 
  • Big data and cloud-based solutions are expected to further propel the UAE market over the next few years 
  • The UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence 2031 plans to incorporate AI into all government services and ministries 

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Advanced technology initiatives 

Abu Dhabi has invested heavily in developing first-class IT infrastructure, innovative technologies, and a skilled workforce with exponential efforts in the forms of initiatives, programmes and incentives: 

  • The 5-year Smart Manufacturing Competence Centre and Incentive Programme, designed to transform 30% of manufacturing SMEs in Abu Dhabi into smart manufacturing operations 
  • The Global Valley Initiative to attract global tech talent and establish Abu Dhabi as a hub for technological innovation.
  • Bespin Global, a leading cloud technology company, has established its MEA HQ in Abu Dhabi to accelerate digital transformation across various industries. 
  • An MOU between Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) and Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology to incentivise and support in the industry. 
  • The Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) provided AED 735 million to ICT companies in 2021
  • Establishment of the Open Data platform by the Abu Dhabi Digital Authority for quick and safe access to reliable data 
  • AED 25 billion will be invested by the UAE in the digital industry over the next 10 years
  • 100,000 UAE Golden Visas will be issued to the best coders from around the world 

A booming IT and telecommunication industry

Abu Dhabi offers an advanced technology and telecommunications infrastructure boasting one of the highest smartphone and internet penetration rates in the world. The sector boasts significant achievements like:

  • Over 99% of the UAE’s population enjoys internet connectivity

  • The UAE is among the top ten globally in time spent online and on social media

  • Abu Dhabi ranks among the top three fastest 5G capitals worldwide

  • The UAE was ranked as the most digitally advanced in the Arab world in a survey by the Portulans Institute and Google

  • The UAE ranked third among 27 emerging global economies, according to the Future Readiness Index Survey

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Tech start ups

Abu Dhabi actively promotes small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups with attractive stimulus measures.  

The Emirate boasts a thriving community of start-up incubators and accelerators such as the tech accelerator startAD which nurtures seed-stage start-ups and helps connect them with corporate partners, and Hub71, a tech ecosystem that has attracted more than 102 start-ups in the realms of FinTech, health tech, and AI.  

Hub71 businesses have a combined worth of AED 5.87 billion, and almost 1,000 jobs have been generated since its establishment in 2019.

In addition, the capital is home to Ghadan 21, the government-led AED 50 billion accelerator programme and the twofour54 media zone which is transforming Abu Dhabi into a global media and gaming centre. 

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Space technology

Over the past decade, the UAE has made unprecedented strides in the space sector.  

  • In 2014, it launched the UAE Space Agency (UAESA) headquartered in Abu Dhabi

  • In 2015, Khalifa University opened its new Spacecraft Platform for Astronautic and Celestial Emulation (SPACE) laboratory

  • In 2019, the UAE achieved a historic milestone, when Hazza Al Mansouri became the first astronaut from the UAE to venture into space

Over the next 10 years, the country plans to invest more than AED 3 billion in the private space sector to grow the country’s capabilities in space.

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Page was last updated on: 14 Jun 2024 10:13:01 AM
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