UAE leverages technology to drive sustainable economic progress - GulfToday

UAE leverages technology to drive sustainable economic progress


Dr Sultan Bin Ahmed Al Jaber addresses a virtual session of the 3rd Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit on Friday. WAM

Dr Sultan Bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Cabinet Member and Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, on Friday addressed the third global Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit, GIMS, which convened virtually.

Speaking alongside UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and UNIDO Director General Li Yong to an audience of global leaders, policymakers, and chief executives, Dr Al Jaber, who serves as the UAE co-chair of GMIS, said COVID-19 is accelerating a digital revolution that was already underway across every segment of society and this underlines the importance of the basic mission of GMIS which is to harness the potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).

He highlighted how the UAE was early to recognise the potential of technology to enhance industrial development and cited the recently created Ministry for Industry and Advanced Technology as an example of how the country is leveraging technology to enable industrial development and drive sustainable economic growth.

Dr Al Jaber said: “The UAE leadership has set the direction for the core mandate of the ministry, which is to enhance national industrial development, increase our competitiveness, reinforce our resilience, and build long-lasting in-country value by accelerating economic diversification. At the centre of this mandate is breakthrough technology, which we will leverage to enhance industrial performance and enable better integration between sectors.

“By embracing technology, we will also nurture a knowledge-based economy and create an ecosystem that supports and creates sustainable jobs. We will unlock greater value from sectors where we have existing strengths, including energy, petrochemicals, metals, and logistics. We will target sectors that strengthen our self-sufficiency, including water and food and agriculture. And we will create value in new high growth sectors like biotech, health, and pharma,” he added.

He emphasised that the pandemic has shown that global supply chains are only as strong as their weakest link and the UAE is harnessing technology to reinforce its supply chains.

“The pandemic has pushed countries to build buffers into their inventories, reinforce their resilience, and embrace the innovations of the 4IR. The UAE believes that advanced technologies have a vital role to play in protecting and enhancing global supply chains from global shocks.

“AI can transform the performance of our industrial and manufacturing sectors. Big data can give us faster insights into gaps and vulnerabilities. And machine learning can transfer essential knowledge and expertise from one sector to another,” Dr Al Jaber said.

Dr Al Jaber concluded by sending an open invitation for cooperation saying. “In fact, throughout the UAE’s history, the spirit of partnership has defined our approach to providing positive solutions to global challenges, and the UAE is more than ready to play its part as a constructive partner to all who wish to work with us.” The GMIS was established in 2015 as an industry platform to build bridges between manufacturers, governments & NGOs, technologists, and investors in harnessing the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s transformation of manufacturing to the regeneration of the global economy.

A joint initiative by the United Arab Emirates and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, UNIDO, GMIS is a platform that presents the manufacturing sector with an opportunity to contribute towards global good, working to the benefit of all. Dr. Al Jaber serves as the co-chair of GMIS, alongside Mr. Li Yong, Director General of UNIDO.

Lack of investment: Lack of investment and the rise of protectionism threaten the world’s ability to spread internet connectivity to almost half of the global population who currently live without it, according to LI Yong, Director-General, United Nations Industrial Development organisation, UNIDO, and Houlin Zhao, Secretary-General, International Telecommunication Union, ITU, who addressed the Virtual Edition of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit, #GMIS2020, being held on September 4-5.

“More than half the world’s population is now online, however connecting the rest of the world’s citizens, estimated at around 3.8 billion people, could prove far tougher and take many more years as they reside in developing or Least Developed Countries, LDCs, where connectivity rates can be below 20 per cent. Information and Communications Technology, ICT, is considered a prerequisite for countries to achieve sustainable development and adopt the technologies of the fourth industrial revolution.

He said the pandemic had demonstrated that ICT is more important than ever for human society. However, he pointed out that, by some estimates, investment of around $100 billion could be required to achieve universal, affordable and good quality internet access just in Africa by 2030.

 “We would like to see everybody connected affordably by 2030, so this is a real challenge,” Zhao said. “Those that are not connected yet live mainly in poor or remote areas, and you cannot just use the same strategy to bring these people online. This will require investment and the only way is through public-private partnerships. And in the ICT field, we know that the majority of investments come from private sector.”


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