As the world enters the post-Covid-19 era and prepares for any unprecedented crises, the UAE has called for a united front to advance the manufacturing and industry sectors by harnessing new-age technologies and boosting cross-border collaboration.
Global manufacturing, which was severely impacted by the pandemic, has recovered significantly, but the recovery has been uneven, resulting in supply chain bottlenecks and backlogs. This dynamic, if not carefully addressed, has the potential to slow future growth, said Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, on Monday at the opening ceremony of the fourth Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit in Dubai.
“The lessons of the post-pandemic recovery are very visible and, in fact, very clear for industry leaders: true recovery necessitates resilience and agility.” Dr. Al Jaber stated, “We need to strengthen industrial capacity, strengthen supply chains, and control and reduce costs.”
He also urged businesses to adopt more flexible business models and strengthen their balance sheets “with a mix of cash reserves and prudent debt financing,” as well as to form private-public partnerships to collectively manage risks in order to better deal with future disruptions.
The manufacturing sector is an important pillar of the UAE economy, and the government has taken several steps to encourage investment and inclusion.
The UAE announced the Industry 4.0 program last month, with the goal of increasing productivity and developing innovative products, boosting manufacturing by 30% and adding Dh25 billion ($6.8 billion) to the country’s economy by 2031.
Local businesses are stepping up their efforts to help with this drive. Mubadala, based in Abu Dhabi, is actively involved in boosting key sectors such as renewable energy, steel, and space. Tawazun Economic Council of the Capital and Al Yah Satellite Communications Company have agreed to form a joint venture to develop and manufacture satellite communications technology in the UAE.
All of these initiatives will help to diversify the UAE economy and propel it toward an innovation-driven future.
“As the UAE marks its 50th anniversary, our leaders have released a blueprint for prosperity for the next 50 years.” And it is our road map for creating a dynamic, world-leading economy. “Partnership is at the heart of that blueprint,” Dr. Al Jaber said.
“There is no such thing as an economy in a vacuum, and we know that progress is much faster – much faster – when people work together.” In that spirit, I invite all of you to collaborate with the UAE; together, we can strengthen our collective resilience and agility, and we can all succeed and contribute to prosperity through the world.
According to Shadi Malak, chief executive of Etihad Rail, data is the “most important tool” for businesses, and digitisation is something they must leverage in order to speed up decision-making processes and be prepared for unexpected disruptions.
“Companies must be better and more efficient in their use of these platforms, and they must be able to shift more toward data collection rather than leaving it to third-party suppliers.” “This will improve your service and allow you to deliver to your end-customer,” he explained.
According to Omar Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy, and Remote Working System, the workforce will also play an important role in the sector, and finding the right talent will be the most difficult part of creating an ecosystem.
“There are some things that money cannot buy.” You can build the infrastructure and invest in it, but getting people to use it and build something meaningful with it is the most difficult task. “The quality of talent is what allows people to leverage infrastructure to build something meaningful,” he told the audience.
The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development expanded its freelance professional licence programme last week, adding 11 new commercial activities to the list as it seeks to improve the emirate’s business environment and create more technical jobs in order to attract and retain talent.
Attractive pay packages will also be a draw, according to a recent Mercer report, which shows that UAE employers are planning a hiring spree in 2022 and raising salaries by an average of 3.6% as the post-Covid-19 recovery accelerates demand for jobs.
The UAE is taking an inclusive approach to attracting talent, and the government is advocating for more public-private partnerships in order to develop a more sustainable business environment.
“We don’t want to come with a stick, we want to come with a carrot: we want to work with the private sector, invest in their infrastructure and bring the talent – any way that is going to create a paradigm that does not exist anywhere else, and create solutions in a very short period of time that will become globally relevant,” he added.
Meanwhile, Lord Gerry Grimstone, the UK’s Minister for Investment, stated that London is in the process of initiating free trade talks with the GCC, which he hopes to complete within the next 12 months.
He emphasized the importance of combining multilateralism – an alliance of multiple countries working toward a common goal – and free trade flows with technology as an essential part of keeping trade channels open and ready to face any future crises.
“Multilateralism is responsible for the world’s current state. But, for multilateralism to work, it must live up to its responsibilities of being genuine, efficient, and effective, according to Lord Grimstone.
“The benefit of free trade and investment flows is that it greatly accelerates the adoption of new technologies.” Money, of course, flows, but so do technology and expertise. “Investment is becoming more sustainable, and it is frequently driven by digitalization.”
Bradley Jones, executive director of the UK-UAE Business Council, stated in September that any trade agreement between the GCC and the UK will include two key elements: tariff reduction and non-tariff barrier removal.