Wed 03-11-2021 22:06 PM
ABU DHABI, 3rd November, 2021 (WAM) - The UAE’s Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT) hosted its second "Sci-Tech Virtual Tour" for a high-level Spanish delegation to highlight the UAE’s advanced science and technology ecosystem, the role of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies, and opportunities for global investors, innovators, and business leaders in the life sciences and healthcare sectors.
The second in the series of virtual tours that aim to showcase research and development (R&D) in addition to investment opportunities in the UAE to international partners, the two-day event was organized in cooperation with the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the UAE Embassy in the Kingdom of Spain. It welcomed researchers, start-ups, SMEs, and representatives of major businesses in the fields of science and technology from both the UAE and Spain.
Across two days, a series of panels and discussions explored the ways in which the UAE is deploying advanced technologies and Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) solutions and applications in the life sciences sector, including the UAE’s genomics program, and the research opportunities presented by the UAE’s science and technology ecosystem.
In addition to offering information on the UAE’s R&D, business, and industrial investment climate, the virtual tour also provided a platform for stakeholders to network, engage, and exchange ideas on the best ways to ensure sustainable long-term social and economic progress following the pandemic.
The discussions also highlighted Operation 300bn, the ten-year national industrial strategy developed by MoIAT that seeks to enhance the industrial sector’s role in stimulating the economy, driving industrial innovation, and accelerating the adoption of advanced technologies.
Speakers and panelists said the bilateral relationship between Spain and the UAE, especially in the fields of science and technology, would play an important role in accelerating this process and, ultimately, helping the UAE increase the industrial sector’s contribution to national GDP to AED300 billion by 2031.
Omar Ghobash, Assistant Minister for Culture and Public Diplomacy at the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said: "In the last two years, despite the challenges faced by the entire global community, the UAE boldly demonstrated its steadfast commitment to economic diversification for a post-oil era and the transformation of our society into a diverse, knowledge-based economy.
"So, it's no surprise that the robust expansion of the science and advanced technology ecosystem in the UAE is an area of particular interest for the leadership of our country and to our business community."
He added: "In 2021, the science and advanced technology industries received a powerful boost in the UAE from Operation 300bn. The comprehensive strategy is designed to support the development of science and advanced technologies by creating attractive opportunities for international partnership growth and investments.
"Under the strategy, around 14,000 small and medium enterprises in key industrial sectors will be supported with financial incentive packages and new laws in the UAE that permit 100 percent foreign ownership of businesses set up by global investors."
During his opening remarks on the first day, Majid Al Suwaidi, the UAE’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Spain, explained how, as the gateway to the Middle East, the UAE has become a second home to international businesses focused on unlocking the potential of the region, spurred by the country’s ambitious social and economic development plans.
"The UAE is fully immersed in a process of economic diversification away from oil and gas through the development of future looking industries such as the life sciences sector.
"Even though we are among the world's top producers of oil and gas, more than 70 percent of our economy today is based on non-oil and gas sectors. And this number continues to grow dramatically."
He added: "As of today, more than 200 Spanish companies and more than 40,000 Spaniards call the UAE home. And this virtual tour comes at a perfect time. Our bilateral relations are very strong, particularly at the political level, and the good news is there is a lot of room for growth in our economic relations.
"Even though they are already strong and stable, our bilateral investment flows are valued at more than $9 billion. This year, we're seeing promising results, with our bilateral trade expected to see further growth, as representatives of our business communities and the UAE International Investors Council have recently signed an MoU to collaborate further.
"Indeed, our two countries are advancing negotiations to sign a bilateral investment treaty, which will bring even more momentum to our economic relations."
Amna Al Saleh, Head of the Technology Development section at MoIAT, expressed the importance of forging strategic international partnerships to enable a resilient, knowledge- and innovation-based economy powered by science and technology.
Al Saleh said: "Global partnerships are key to utilizing science and technology to address pressing global challenges. We hope to shed light on the UAE’s science and technology ecosystem and showcase what it offers to our international partners.
"With this virtual tour, we’re looking to create bridges between the two countries, our institutions and industries, and to open the doors to exploring further opportunities to collaborate in the life sciences and healthcare sectors."
She added: "Ultimately, we are aiming to foster ongoing knowledge-sharing and technology transfer between our two countries, where our researchers are empowered to co-create a collaborative R&D framework for working on projects in the life sciences and healthcare sectors."
A group of major national companies participated in the discussions, including Emirates Development Bank, Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, Dubai Health Authority, Dubai Future Foundation, Sheraa, Mubadala Healthcare, G42, Mohamed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences, the Centre for Genomic Regulation in Spain, Khalifa University, Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence, United Arab Emirates University, and Pfizer-University of Granada-Junta de Andalucía Centre for Genomics in Spain.