Dubai has teamed up with some of the biggest technology giants to launch a national plan for coders to set up 1,000 major digital companies within five years.
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His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, took to Twitter to make the announcement on Saturday.
The new initiative has been launched in cooperation with Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Cisco, IBM, HPE, LinkedIn, Nvidia and Facebook, according to a tweet by Sheikh Mohammed.
"The goal is to train and attract 100,000 programmers and create 1,000 major digital companies within five years," said Sheikh Mohammed, adding that the plan is to ensure more than double the investment directed to start-ups — from Dh1.5 billion to Dh4 billion.
"The National Programme for Programmers is a new step to build our digital economy...," he said.
Last month, the Dubai Digital Authority was established to speed up the transformation of government entities into smart service providers to individuals and businesses besides maintaining a high standard of cybersecurity.
The authority is tasked to accelerate technological advancement and adopt the latest ICT initiatives to support social and economic prosperity of people, as well as boost the value of the digital economy by 100 per cent in the next two years to Dh200 billion. Experts said it will be a real game-changer not only for Dubai, but also for the entire Middle East region.
"The world is changing and the speed of digital change is multiplying. The shape of the economy will be different and the nature of professions will change."
Survival, he said, will be for "the most prepared" and those who are quickest to "keep pace with the new changes in our world".
A smart move
Ali Homadi, CEO of Dubai-based startup Saphyte, homegrown CRM company, said this is a smart move in the right direction that will help boost digital economy by achieving Dh200 billion target in next two years.
"Dubai has always been on the forefront of digital advancement. All global technology giants have already established strong presence in the emirate and setting up 1,000 new digital companies will attract skilled talent from across the globe to get maximum benefits of strong startup ecosystem in the emirate," Homadi said.
Dubai leads digitisation
Atik Munshi, managing partner at Enterprise House, Dubai is quick to adopt latest technology initiatives to diversify its economy.
“We, as a globe, are moving very rapidly to a highly digitised ecosystem. States that recognise this fact and move fast to adopt the next generation changes in the digital world are the ones who will be a force to reckon with. Other states which lag behind on this aspect are sure to suffer.
“Dubai has always been on the forefront of digital advancement and is one of the very few governments who have not only accepted IT technology but also wholeheartedly made super efforts to be among the first most digitized state in the world,” Munshi told Khaleej Times on Saturday.
“Attracting programmers and top IT companies and providing them a conducive environment is one more step in this direction. We all understand that the IT technology and AI shall change the way we do business and the way we live even in a more pervasive way in the very near future – the corporates and the governments who make the necessary moves to provide the platform for such innovation will be the winners. This is a smart move from the state of Dubai and it is expected to reap enormous long-term benefits,” he said.
Creating a sustainable environment
Saad Maniar, senior partner at Crowe, said the cost of employing resources here in comparison of certain low-cost jurisdiction is way expensive. However, having a support from big technology companies may create sustainable environment.
“Such initiatives are needed and participating companies need to be given some incentives for making it attractive for them to join such program,” Maniar told Khaleej Times on Saturday.
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