UAE's robust digital infrastructure helped tackle Covid-19 challenge: Minister

Abu Dhabi is ranked 28 globally on the list of the Institute for Management Development (IMD) Smart City Index, while Dubai is 29


Ismail Sebugwaawo

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Published: Tue 23 Nov 2021, 8:53 PM

The UAE’s heavy investment in building its digital and technological infrastructure proved a gamechanger in combating the Covid-19 challenge, a top UAE official said.

Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications, said the Covid-19 pandemic posed major challenges, but the UAE government, private sector, hospitals, schools and other institutions adopted smart technologies and other drastic measures to contain the spread of the virus and to ensure business continuity.

Speaking at the Abu Dhabi Smart Cities Summit on Tuesday, he said: “Communities around the world have moved to remote working and home schooling, while businesses have been forced to innovate and digitally transform on an unprecedented scale to ensure continuity.

“The UAE had invested a lot in smart technologies and artificial intelligence which helped in tackling the challenges of Covid-19.”

Al Olama noted that Abu Dhabi was ranked 28 globally on the list of the Institute for Management Development (IMD) Smart City Index, while Dubai is 29. He said he hopes these two will be among the best smart cities in the years to come.

Falah Muhammad Al Ahbabi, chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Municipalities and Transport, said the municipality is a pioneer in smart city innovation.

“We developed a realistic plan, tested our plans extensively, and are using data and technology to improve lives. These are all the key elements of a smart city,” he said.


Josephine Teo, Singapore Minister for Communications and Information, said building smart cities is not only about smart technologies, but also solving problems in transport and economy.

“A smart city should be able to solve the problems of its people in all areas, including transport, business, education, healthcare. And it should be sustainable,” she said.

The two-day summit has brought together local and international experts to discuss the best practices for developing smart cities and addressing challenges, contributing to enriching participants’ knowledge and developing action plans that will lead to smarter and more efficient solutions. This year’s gathering has been held under the theme “Shaping the Cities of the Future”.

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