UAE launches 10-year industrial strategy ‘Operation 300bn’

By Kate Birch
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launches ‘Make it in the Emirates’ initiative...

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has launched a 10-year strategy to empower and expand the industrial sector to become the driving force of a sustainable national economy. Called Operaton 300bn, the aim is to increase the industrial sector’s contribution to the economy – hit hard by the impact of COVID-19 on tourism – increasing its contribution to GDP from AED133bn to AED300bn (US$81.7bn) by 2031.

The Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology will roll out programmes and initiatives to support 13,500 industrial SMEs.

Focusing on industries using advanced technology and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) solutions and applications, the UAE government hopes the strategy will advance the national economy and, importantly, provide diversity and contribute to sustainable development.

The plan aims to position the UAE as a global industrial hub that attracts talents, developers and experts from around the world.

Sheikh Mohammed also launched the Unified Industrial Brand Identity under the slogan ‘Make it in the Emirates’. As an extension of the UAE Nation Brand, the new campaign stems from a vision based on distinction, uniqueness and the efforts to build the credentials of UAE products by enhancing their quality and global competitiveness.

“The industrial strategy will achieve a giant leap in the UAE’s industrial sector to become the main driving force of the national economy and lead the journey of our next 50 years with greater confidence and speed," says Sheikh Mohammed.

“The industrial sector is the backbone of large economies, and the UAE has effective resources, policies and leadership to build a global economic base. With competitive national products we take pride in, our mission is to double our success, increase the in-country value and build an export ecosystem that enhances the global competitiveness of local products."

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, adds: "The industrial strategy will empower our national industries and lead the country’s efforts to advance the industrial sector as a major driver of the national economy over the next 50 years."

Operation 300bn: Giant Industrial Leap

Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, added that the programme aims to deliver sustainable economic growth for the UAE’s industrial sector by enhancing its competitiveness at a regional and global level.

“The strategy aims to increase the industrial sector’s annual GDP contribution to AED300 billion by 2031, while boosting productivity, creating new jobs, enhancing local skillsets, and increasing national competitiveness," he says.

Operation 300bn will support more than 13,500 SMEs by 2031, as they are major drivers of shaping a productive industrial sector and sustainable economy. More than 33,000 industrial enterprises operate in the UAE, comprising 95 per cent of small and medium-sized businesses.

The volume of spending on Research and Development in the industrial sector will increase from 1.3 per cent of GDP to 2 per cent.

Future industries that the strategy will focus on include:

  • Space technology
  • Medical supplies and pharmaceuticals
  • Clean and renewable energy (hydrogen production)
  • Machinery and equipment
  • Rubber and plastic, chemicals, metals
  • Advanced technologies manufacturing
  • Electronics and electrical gadgets
  • Food and beverage

A key element of the strategy is a change in UAE law that will encourage entrepreneurs and attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) by allowing 100 per cent foreign ownership.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has compelled countries around the world to redefine their priorities,” says Al Jaber. “The UAE has demonstrated great resilience and agility in its post-pandemic recovery. In order to ensure the UAE’s continued competitiveness, and maintain its strong international standing, as the country embarks on preparations for the next 50 years, Operation 300bn is focused on knowledge, innovation, advanced technology, and Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) solutions and applications. The strategy will significantly reduce the UAE’s reliance on imports in vital industries as it supports the building of new capabilities in future industries."

Four Main objectives for Operation 300bn

The industrial strategy ‘Operation 300bn’ has four main objectives. 

  1. To create an attractive business environment for local and international investors in the industrial sector.
  2. To drive industrial development and stimulate the national economy by enhancing in-country value and increasing demand for UAE products.
  3. To encourage innovation, and the adoption of advanced technology and Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) solutions
  4. To create strong foundations to enhance the UAE’s position as a leading global hub for future industries

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