UAE Ministers Announce First Set of 'Projects of the 50'
UAE ministers have announced the first set of bold strategic projects aimed at fostering the UAE’s new phase of growth – both domestically and internationally – and embarking on an ambitious growth strategy as the nation celebrates its golden jubilee and embarks on the 50 years to come.
The “Projects of the 50” is a series of developmental and economic projects that will be rolled out throughout September, which aim to accelerate the UAE’s development and consolidate into a comprehensive hub in all sectors and establish its status as an ideal destination for talents and investors.
In a press conference held on Sunday, UAE ministers and senior officials announced the first set of projects, which include new and amended visa schemes, comprehensive global campaigns to attract foreign investment, national initiatives to support emerging Emirati companies and boost the quality of national products.
The program will also cover partnerships with major economies across the world, and programmes to support the applications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in all sectors. All of these projects seek to establish the UAE as a global nation and a testbed for technologies and innovation.
The ministers and officials who spoke at the conference on Sunday were: His Excellency Mohammad Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs; His Excellency Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and His Excellency Abdulla bin Touq, Minister of Economy.
Also present were His Excellency Omar AlOlama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications; His Excellency Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade; Her Excellency Sarah Yousef Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology; and His Excellency Saeed Al Eter, Chairman of the UAE Government Media Office.
Al Gergawi explained that the 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.
He said: “Over the past five decades, the UAE has opened its doors, ports, skies and economic sectors to become a destination for all, and we will continue on this path as we establish a pathway for 50 more years of development and opportunity.
"Projects of the 50 presents to the world a unified economic and investment identity for the next developmental stage in the UAE, establishing an agenda for the next 50 years based on development and opportunity.”
Modernisation 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, which is being upgraded to confirm the UAE’s position as an ideal destination for work, investment, entrepreneurship, education and life.
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.
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 specialised residents, investors, entrepreneurs, scientists, pioneers, leading students and graduates.
Other specific regulatory changes include:
Extension of business trip permits from 3 months to 6 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
Extension of grace period upon job loss or retirement to 90-180 days
Comprehensive economic partnership agreements
As part of the efforts to consolidate the UAE’s position as a main gateway for global trade and investment, the UAE Government is undertaking comprehensive economic partnership agreements with eight key global markets around the world.
The agreements aim to achieve an AED40 billion annual increase to the UAE’s current $70 billion trade volume with these markets.
The countries with which deals were signed are distinguished by large markets that constitute 10% of the world’s GDP, with an economic exchange among these countries worth $80 billion.
Besides being home to 26% 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.
In conjunction, the UAE Government also approved the “Higher Committee for Economic Agreements” to oversee the expansion of partnerships with new markets and seize new investment and economic opportunities to sustain the growth of the national economy.
His Excellency Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, was appointed as the committee’s chairman, while His Excellency Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei, the Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, has been appointed as the vice chairman.
Digital initiatives to prepare for the UAE’s future
The digital economy will be a major element of “Projects of the 50”, reflecting the integral role that technologies and artificial intelligence will play in driving the country’s next phase of its development.
UAE Data Law: 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: As part of the nation’s drive towards a knowledge economy, 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.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution Network to establish 500 national technology companies
As part of the “Projects of the 50”, theUAE 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, will be key in creating an attractive business environment to meet the needs of local and international investors.
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”, theUAE Government has launched three initiatives to consolidate its position as one of the world’s most attractive countries for foreign direct investment.
10x10: The 10x10 program aims to achieve an annual increase in the country’s exports by 10% 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% growth in cumulative foreign direct investment (FDI) outflow by 2030, and a growth of FDI directed to the targeted countries of 24% by 2030.
Invest.ae: The UAE Government has also announced the 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 $150 billion 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
One of the key elements of “Projects of the 50” is the 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.
The program reflects the UAE government’s commitment to enhancing the competitiveness of the national economy, promoting domestic products and supporting local small and medium-sized companies.
By 2025, the program aims to create a demand for local products and services by redirecting more than 42% of procurement of the federal government and major UAE companies to local products and services.
Implemented under the supervision of the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, the program will enable the UAE to reduce its dependence on imports in priority sectors, localize supply chains, support the national industrial sector and increase manufacturing output.
The program was first adopted in Abu Dhabi in 2018, and resulted in the redirection of nearly $24 billion to the local economy, while the number of approved suppliers exceeded 5,000 in various sectors.
To help facilitate the goals of “Projects of the 50”, the UAE Government has announced Project 5Bn, which involves the allocation of $1.4 billion to support Emirati projects in priority sectors.
Tech Drive to support Fourth Industrial Revolution in the industrial sector
The UAE Government launched “Tech Drive”, a $1.4 billion programme to 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 programmes and incentives to support entrepreneurs in the industrial sector, aiming to achieve a $7 billion contribution to the GDP and raise productivity by 30%.