SMEs set to accelerate UAE’s economic diversification

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The UAE has the capital, know-how, and competitive advantages to develop new sectors.


Issac John

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Published: Tue 23 Nov 2021, 11:41 PM

Last updated: Tue 23 Nov 2021, 11:42 PM

SMEs, who are at the heart of “Operation 300Bn” — the ambitious target set by the UAE to position it as a global hub for future industries — are expected to accelerate the nation’s economic diversification, the UAE Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology said on Tuesday.

Abdallah Al Shamsi, Assistant Undersecretary for the Industrial Growth Sector at MoIAT, said the UAE is well-placed to diversify its economy. “There is a lot we can do within existing sectors to go to the next level to increase value added, and we have the capital, know-how, and comparative advantages to help us develop new sectors,” he said in his address at the panel discussion entitled ‘Operation 300Bn: Make it in the Emirates,’ on the second day of GMIS.

The UAE has the capital, know-how, and competitive advantages to develop new sectors, Al Shamsi said, noting that coordinating efforts between government entities and national industrial champions would be a critical success factor in paving the way for industrial growth.

Saeed Ghumran Al Remeithi, CEO of Emirates Steel, said Operation 300Bn is an ambitious but important target, and that SMEs were at the heart of the strategy. He added that public-private partnerships are necessary to bring efficiency to the system and to inject foreign direct investments (FDI) into the economy.

Ahmed Mohamed Al Naqbi, CEO of Emirates Development Bank (EDB), said the bank was adapting to diversification by focusing on accelerating industrial development in the UAE and enabling SMEs to be a core piece of the ecosystem. He added that EDB was filling gaps by facilitating entrepreneurship and supporting start-ups through initiatives such as this year’s launch of the first digital business bank in partnership with MoIAT.

Abdulnasser bin Kalban, CEO of Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), said that post-pandemic demand for products was outstripping supply, and that sustainability was top of the company’s agenda and a high priority for customers. SMEs are crucial for Operation 300Bn, he added.

Khaleefa Yousef Al Mheiri, the acting CEO of TA’ZIZ, said the chemical sector plays a vital role in diverse manufacturing sectors, and there will be opportunities down the value chain, as most projects will be producing chemicals for the first time.

Saud Abu Al Shawareb, managing director of Dubai Industrial City, spoke about demand in the industrial sector and growth at Dubai Industrial City. Existing and new partners alike are getting support with commercial incentives and government approvals, he said, adding that he looked forward to working with the government to attract more sophisticated, high-end industries, such as mechanical and equipment process line manufacturing and pharma. —

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