The UAE is moving rapidly towards the post-oil era, acutely aware that the resources we built this great nation on are finite.
Today, we are seeing a paradigm shift into new industries and bold, visionary moves towards embracing whole new areas of technology.
One of the most significant growth areas in technology is the rise of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
The UAE Central Bank, Securities and Commodities Authority, DFSA and ADGM are all working on building a robust regulatory framework for crypto trading, but at present, the UAE Dirham remains the only legal tender.
I predict 2022 will see more and more blockchain and crypto-asset companies setting up in the UAE as the regulatory framework emerges and companies such as crypto.com – one of the largest cryptocurrency exchange apps globally – set-up local offices.
4IR – the fourth industrial revolution – is absolutely fascinating, and I believe it is the backbone of our collective technological future.
According to the official portal of the UAE government, the UAE has created a 4IR strategy to “strengthen the country’s position as a global hub for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and to increase its contribution to the national economy by advancing innovation and future technologies. It also aims to position the UAE as a global model in adopting leading-edge technologies to serve society and achieve happiness and sustainability.”
In practical terms, what this means is that we will see investment and support for emerging tech industries right on our doorstep. Expect more start-ups in blockchain and the digital economy (such as the nascent metaverse). Financial transactions and services will become more secure by utilising these technologies.
With government-backed encouragement, we will see more nanotechnology applications, while data wrangling, AI, and machine learning will come to the fore. The strategy also includes and encourages investment in robotics and autonomous vehicle technologies.
The Projects of the 50 – 50 wide-reaching plans to mark the UAE’s 50th anniversary, include several technology-based and driven concepts. One of the project’s overarching aims is that “The digital, technical and scientific excellence of the UAE will define its new development and economic frontiers.”
Under the ambitious projects, AED5 billion has been allocated by Emirates Development Bank to help fund the transformation of the industrial sector towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution over the next five years.
The Expo 2020 Dubai site is also being turned into a people-first, sustainable, hi-tech city. Those entrepreneurs looking to set-up a business within the re-developed site will receive free business set-up, a free visa for two years, two years’ free workspace, advice and mentoring and support.
Key sectors include smart cities, smart logistics, smart mobility and 4IR, utilising techs such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, 3D Printing, Robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT) and other advanced technologies.
It’s a truly exciting horizon, and I’m excited to see where all these incredible, ambitious projects combined take us.
The UAE is still blazing a trail in terms of traditional energy sources – shifting to reduced and zero emissions – and investing in new sources of power such as nuclear and hydrogen. But where the future lies is clearly in embracing technology, and thanks to the vision of our leaders, the UAE looks set to become a global game-changer in advanced technologies.