The United Arab Emirates will launch 50 new economic initiatives to boost the country’s economic competitiveness and attract $150 bln (AED 550 bln) in foreign direct investment in the next nine years, government officials announced on Sunday.
Some of the initiatives unveiled on Sunday include investing in technology and creating new visas to attract and retain residents and skilled workers.
Among the projects, the UAE and the Emirates Development Bank will invest 5 bln dirhams in industrial technology and technology-heavy sectors, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology Sultan al-Jaber said during a media briefing.
The “Projects of the 50” is a series of developmental and economic projects marking the UAE’s jubilee since its founding in 1971 and its vision for the next 50 years is to “make the UAE the global capital of investment and economic creativity, an integrated incubator for entrepreneurship and emerging projects, and an advanced laboratory for new economic opportunities.”
Here’s a roundup of the initiatives announced so far:
Modernization of visa and work permits
One of the key legislative changes being introduced as part of “Projects of the 50” is a restructuring of the entry and residency system.
Among the package of new regulations is the introduction of the “Green Visa”, which expands the self-residency status to investors, entrepreneurs, highly skilled individuals, top students and graduates, and the federal freelancers visa for self-employed workers based in the UAE and overseas in specialized fields such as artificial intelligence, Blockchain and digital currencies.
The new regulations also include expanding the “Golden Visa” eligibility to include managers, CEOs, specialists in science, engineering, health, education, business management and technology, while the pathway has been smoothed for highly skilled and specialized residents, investors, entrepreneurs, scientists, pioneers, leading students and graduates.
New visa schemes include:
Green Visa: which distinguishes between work permits and residencies, enables highly skilled individuals, investors, entrepreneurs and top students and graduates to sponsor themselves. Green Visa will allow the sponsorship of young people until the age of 25 instead of 18, extending the grace period for leaving the country upon job loss or retirement to 90-180 days instead of 30, and the sponsorship of parents.
Freelancers Visa: which is the first federal scheme of its kind, and enables self-employers to sponsor themselves.
Other specific regulatory changes include: extension of business trip permits from three months to six months, sponsorship of parents under the visa of direct family members, one-year residency extension for humanitarian cases, extension of children’s age limit on parents’ residency from 18 to 25 years and an extension of grace period upon job loss or retirement to 90-180 days.
Comprehensive economic partnership agreements with eight global markets:
The UAE government announced it will be undertaking comprehensive economic partnership agreements with eight key global markets. The agreements aim to achieve an AED40 bln annual increase to the UAE’s current AED257 bln trade volume with these markets. The agreements fall under the UAE’s global economic partnerships strategy, which aims to double the size of the national economy from AED1.4 trln to AED3 trln over the next 10 years.
The countries with which deals were signed are distinguished by large markets that constitute 10 percent of the world’s GDP, with an economic exchange among these countries worth $80 bln. Besides being home to 26 percent of the world’s population, the eight countries possess large markets with high demand for goods and services, in addition to strong trade and economic relations in their respective regions.
UAE Data Law: The UAE Data Law is the first federal law to be drafted in partnership with major technology companies. The law will empower individuals to control how their personal data is used, stored and shared in a move that aims to protect privacy of individuals and institutions and limit entities’ use of personal data for profit.
100 Coders Every Day: This program aims to attract 3,000 coders every month to the country’s workforce, increasing the number of coders from 64,000 to 100,000 in 12 months, and to facilitate the establishment of programming companies in the UAE through a set of incentives and benefits.
PyCon Summit: The UAE will host “PyCon Summit”, the largest programming summit to be held in the Middle East. The event, set to take place in the second half of 2022, will help develop digital talent and expertise, inspire innovative technology projects, and connect a global community of programmers with the public and private sectors, as well as academic institutions.
The summit will bring together experts, leaders, talents, specialists and interests in the field from all over the world, and hold workshops, panel discussions and training sessions to showcase the latest trends and developments in programming and the digital economy.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution Network to establish 500 national technology companies:
As part of the “Projects of the 50,” the UAE government launched the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network to promote the adoption of advanced technologies in the national industrial sector. The project, which aims to establish and grow 500 national companies equipped with the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. and technologically advanced workforce.
The network is designed to provide a platform that brings together 15 leading national companies in technology adoption to transfer knowledge, share best practices and train 100 CEOs in the industrial sector on the latest digital trends.
Through the network, the Smart Industry Readiness Index will be developed to support the digital transformation of 200 industrial companies after evaluating the efficiency of digital operations.
ADNOC, Strata, EDGE and Emirates Global Aluminium will be joined by leading global companies in technology development such as Siemens, Microsoft, Cisco and IBM to share successful implementation of advanced technology and applications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Enhancing the competitiveness of the UAE business environment:
As part of “Projects of the 50”, the UAE government has launched three initiatives designed to strengthen the UAE’s ability to keep pace with the ever-evolving global economy.
10×10: The 10×10 program aims to achieve an annual increase in the country’s exports by 10 percent in 10 key markets: China, the UK, the Netherlands, Italy, Russia, Poland, Luxembourg, Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia.
Through an integrated system of incentives and benefits, the project will work to achieve a 14 percent growth in cumulative foreign direct investment (FDI) outflow by 2030, and a growth of FDI directed to the targeted countries of 24 percent by 2030.
Invest.ae: Launch of a new electronic portal – invest.ae – that will act as an umbrella for all investment-related local entities and 14 state economic entities and present all investment opportunities across the UAE. The portal will also provide comprehensive information on the local investment environment, as well as business and bank account set-up services. It will also highlight entrepreneurial success stories.
The Emirates Investment Summit: The UAE will host the Emirates Investment Summit, a global summit that will connect investment funds with the public and private sectors to create investment opportunities that will attract AED550 bln in FDI over the next nine years. Scheduled to take place during the first quarter of 2022, the Summit seeks to build lasting partnerships between public and private sectors.
National In-Country Value Program:
Adoption of the “National In-Country Value Program” at a federal level, which will facilitate the redirection of procurement and contract expenses to the local economy.
By 2025, the program aims to create a demand for local products and services by redirecting more than 42 percent of procurement of the federal government and major UAE companies to local products and services, gradually implementing the program through 45 federal entities and 15 major national companies, and increasing local suppliers from 5,000 to 7,300.
It aims to contribute to advancing the economic and social development of the country by redirecting more than 50 percent of the spending of government agencies and national companies on purchases and services to the national economy by 2031. It will seek to raise the procurement volume from AED33 bln to AED55 bln by 2025 and to provide competitive financing solutions to local suppliers.
The program was first adopted in Abu Dhabi in 2018, and resulted in the redirection of nearly AED88 bln to the local economy, while the number of approved suppliers exceeded 5,000 in various sectors.
Allocation of AED5 bln to support Emirati projects:
“Project 5Bn” will involve the allocation of AED5 bln to support Emirati projects in priority sectors. The AED5 bln is part of the Emirates Development Bank’s April 2021 allocation of AED30 bln to help accelerate industrial development, adopt advanced technology, and support entrepreneurship and innovation by 2025 – all to support its wider mission of increasing productivity, enhancing the industrial sector’s contribution to GDP and creating job opportunities for UAE’s citizens.
Tech Drive to support Fourth Industrial Revolution in the industrial sector:
The “Tech Drive” program worth AED5 bln will support advanced technology adoption in the industrial sector. Established in partnership with the Emirates Development Bank, the fund will support the industrial sector’s shift towards the applications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution over the next five years. It will also provide programs and incentives to support entrepreneurs in the industrial sector, aiming to achieve a AED25 bln contribution to the GDP and raise productivity by 30 percent.