Dubai Industrial Strategy – The path ahead
Rushika Bhatia

Dubai Industrial Strategy – The path ahead

Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030 is a key initiative catalysing the transition towards more sustainable economic growth. After its recent unveiling, we look ahead to the opportunities it presents. SME Advisor speaks to Hamdah Bin Kalban, Senior Consultant Socioeconomic Development Department, Strategy Management and Governance Sector at The General Secretariat of the Executive Council of Dubai…

What does the Dubai Industrial Strategy aim to achieve? What are its objectives and action points?
The Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030 is one of the most important elements in achieving the objectives of Dubai Plan 2021. It emphasises on reinforcing the emirates position as a global centre as well as a preferred destination for a number of industries and sectors under the leadership of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and pursued thoroughly by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council.
Dubai Industrial Strategy identified a strategic vision and set five key objectives until 2030. Its aim for Dubai is to become a global platform for knowledge-based, sustainable and innovative industries. The strategy focuses on six main sub sectors: Aerospace, Maritime, Pharmaceuticals & Medical Equipment, Aluminium & Fabricated Metals, Fast Moving Consumable Goods, and Machinery and Equipment.

The five key objectives are:
1. Growth engine: increase total GDP and value-added of manufacturing.
2. Innovation-based: enhance depth of knowledge and innovation.
3. Home for global business: become the preferred manufacturing platform for global businesses.
4. Environmentally sustainable: promote environmentally friendly and energy efficient manufacturing.
5. Adopting Islamic standards: become a centre for the global Islamic products market.

Why is manufacturing important as part of the country’s diversification agenda?
The industrial sector is considered the fourth largest strategic sector and has recorded a CAGR of five per cent over the past few years and contributes ~10 per cent to Dubai’s economy. The reasons are: to increase the resilience and diversification of the Dubai economy; increase exports and convert re-exports to value-added exports; serve local market demand; focus on specialised niche industries for Dubai where suitable; and support the services sector.

What are key initiatives in the pipeline to nurture the growth of the manufacturing sector?
The implementation of the Industrial Strategy has started in September 2016. The strategic initiatives will be executed through specialised teams; the key responsibility of the teams is to oversee and ensure implementation of programmes and execution of deals. The teams are currently working on profiling the initiatives and setting an implementation plan, which will be announced by Q1 2017.

Is Dubai set to become the next global manufacturing hub? What are strategies in place to achieve this vision?
The Industrial Strategy, with its six priority sub-sectors, is closely linked to the emirates knowledge and innovation strategy and its aim is to make Dubai knowledge-based, innovative and sustainable industrial centre. This could be achieved through boosting Emiratisation in Dubai’s industrial sector through universities and entrepreneurial projects, open door meetings with the private sector, providing finance and credit as well as stimulating banks to support manufacturing companies, especially SMEs, and promotion of research and development by creating a collaborative platform between universities to work together in the area of R&D. This is vital to the advancement of the industrial sector and to further strengthen its important role as a pillar of Dubai’s economy.

Is there any advice you would like to give to manufacturing businesses in the country?
My advice is to be innovative and to keep innovating and not wait for government announcements and directions. The private sector is the main driver of this strategy and it cannot be achieved without their mobilisation. Therefore, their support is required in two critical ways: investing in the six sectors of focus and channelling their requirements to the government to ensure support is provided adequately and on time. We have assigned a team leader for each of those sectors where the private sector can have direct access. They are as follows: Dubai South for Aerospace, Dubai Maritime City Authority for Maritime, Dubai Science Park for Pharmaceuticals & Medical Equipment, JAFZA for Aluminium & Fabricated Metals, JAFZA & Dubai Wholesale City for Fast Moving Consumable Goods, and Dubai Wholesale City and JAFZA for Machinery and Equipment.