Can Dubai be among the top 10 Metaverse economies?

Strategy aims to add $4 billion to GDP, support creation of 40,000 virtual jobs, attract 1,000 technology companies to the emirate


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Fri 23 Dec 2022, 6:00 AM

The outcome of the inaugural Dubai Metaverse Assembly held in September at the Museum of the Future will enable the positioning of Dubai as one of the 10 largest Metaverse economies in the near future.

Dubai Future Foundation has published a report that focuses on Metaverse applications in sectors such as business, communications, education, entertainment, gaming, travel, and real estate has identified four main areas that governments and companies should work on to achieve success on the digital platform.

The Dubai Metaverse Assembly was hosted following the approval by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, to launch the Dubai Metaverse Strategy in July 2022.

The strategy aims to add $4 billion to Dubai's GDP to support the creation of 40,000 virtual jobs by 2030, attract 1,000 technology companies to the emirate, and position Dubai as one of the 10 largest metaverse economies in the world.

The report was prepared in partnership with PwC, the knowledge partner of the Dubai Metaverse Assembly, to highlight the main recommendations that came from the assembly, as well as the major trends and applications that were discussed.

The areas identified include strengthening collaboration between the government and private sectors, developing legislation and regulations related to data protection, privacy and cybersecurity risks, defining clear roles and responsibilities for all stakeholders, and accelerating the adoption of advanced technologies and the exchange of experiences.

Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications, said, “Dubai Metaverse Assembly hosted the largest gathering of experts and organisations concerned with designing the future of the Metaverses. The event highlighted the importance of keeping pace with technological developments and employing new applications in realising future visions and plans and developing governments, economy, health, education and communities. It also showcased the positive impact of using new tools that facilitate people's lives and open promising horizons in the future”.

The report found that governments and corporations should take the initiative to reap the inevitable socio-economic benefits created by the Metaverse, which will grow at a faster rate than internet or mobile connectivity speeds.

All stakeholders are being recommended to continue exploring new pathways for collaboration in the Metaverse.

Khalfan Belhoul, CEO of Dubai Future Foundation, said, “The report aims to share the insights and knowledge revealed by global experts during Dubai Metaverse Assembly with the world through a new report on the untapped potential of the metaverse. We believe it’s crucial to share knowledge on future trends, as it allows governments, businesses, and civil society to take advantage of the immense opportunities presented by advanced technologies. This report will serve as a resource for anyone seeking to understand how the Metaverse will impact vital economic sectors and help create a better future for humankind built on sustainability, wellbeing and prosperity.”

The report highlights how the Metaverse can add value in myriad ways. From enhancing the ability of individuals to control and one day monetise personal data, to helping nations achieve diplomatic parity, as evidenced by Barbados' plans to launch an embassy in the Metaverse, there are endless opportunities.

The control and the monopoly enjoyed by social media platforms today will be challenged by the Metaverse; it has the potential to provide billions of people with richer experiences from enhanced education to intimate live performances from the world’s biggest artists and musicians.

Guy Parsonage, PwC’s Metaverse Lead, said, “The Middle East economy is currently undergoing a rapid digital transformation leading to an industry-wide disruption across various sectors. Dubai is a prime example of this as it aims to become one of the top ten metaverse economies, with an ambition to be a role model in metaverse technologies. In line with The Dubai Metaverse Strategy, our strategic partnership with the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) explores new and advanced technologies to create a better future, allowing us to connect between real and virtual worlds seamlessly. Furthermore, this partnership demonstrates our commitment to helping clients in their digital transformation journeys and ensuring we deliver sustainable outcomes while building trust in our society.”

The assembly was attended by around 600 technology experts and specialists from 50 countries. Over the course of two days, they participated in more than 25 workshops and panel sessions that hosted more than 30 speakers and 40 local and international institutions and technology companies.


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