The Dubai Team for Global Promotional Investment Missions attended a series of webinars organised by the Dubai Investment Development Agency (Dubai FDI), an agency of Dubai Economy, over June-July 2020 targeting businesspersons and investors in Australia to explore the opportunities and partnership potential in the food & agribusiness, healthcare, logistics, and technology sectors in Dubai, particularly following COVID-19 pandemic.
Organised in partnership with the Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AACCI) and the Australian Business Council Dubai (ABC Dubai), the webinars replace a Dubai FDI mission to Australia that was scheduled for June 2020 but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Dubai Exports, the export promotion agency of Dubai Economy also attended the webinars.
The first webinar on food & agribusiness, held on 9th June 2020, was attended by His Excellency Ian Halliday, Consul-General of Australia in Dubai and General Manager of Middle East, Africa & Turkey for Austrade, who delivered the opening remarks, in addition to representatives from Dubai Municipality, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA), and Emirates SkyCargo.
Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (DAFZA), Dubai South, JAFZA, and Emirates SkyCargo joined the second webinar on logistics that was held on 17th June. HE Abdulla Ali Ateeq Alsaboosi, UAE Ambassador in Australia, delivered the opening address.
“We have worked hard to build our country up as a model of peace, stability, tolerance and opportunity and all of these form the foundations for our relationship with Australia. Undoubtedly, one of the most successful aspects of the Australia-UAE relationship is our trade and economic partnership, and during these extraordinarily difficult times of COVID-19 we must work together for the long-term economic recovery and wellbeing of our countries. Together, we will continue to have one of the fastest growing bilateral trade relationships in the world promoting growth, jobs and prosperity. We are grateful to the Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry for supporting these four Dubai Advantage webinars, which have become crucial as travel is difficult and communication essential, and I also thank Dubai FDI, for putting them together. As they say in Australia, Good On Ya Dubai FDI," said Ambassador Alsaboosi.
The third webinar on healthcare was hosted on 23rd June with Dubai Health Authority (DHA), Dubai Healthcare City Authority (DHCCA), and Dubai Science Park as partners. The session was opened by HE Dr Nariman Al Mulla, UAE Consul-General in Melbourne, Australia.
Dubai Future Foundation, Smart Dubai, and Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) participated in the fourth webinar that was held on 1st July. Its emphasis was on the conducive environment Dubai has created to advance technology and related research and development. HE Ambassador Abdullah Ali Atiq Alsaboosi delivered the opening remarks.
Dubai FDI sought to reaffirm the continuing interest of Dubai and the UAE in Australia as a key market for developing mutually beneficial business development partnerships across the webinars.
The UAE is Australia’s largest trade partner in the Middle East, with non-oil trade between the two countries reaching AED 14.5 billion in 2019, a 17.4% increase over 2018. The UAE also hosts nearly 25,000 Australians and around 350 Australian businesses engaged in diverse activities, including construction, financial and professional services, tourism, and education.
Fahad Al Gergawi, CEO of Dubai FDI, called on the authorities and the private sector in Australia to capitalise on the existing UAE-Australia engagement and connectivity to channel trade and investment into sectors that hold the highest potential for sustainable growth.
“The past few years saw Dubai rolling out strategic initiatives to attract talent and investments into digital readiness and innovations across services, supply chains, and industries. The pandemic crisis has validated the importance of a digital economy that can connect trade and people across all barriers and ensure food security and advanced healthcare,” Al Gergawi said.
“Dubai already has a unique advantage in connecting people and trade as a gateway to a vast market of 2.4 billion consumers living in the Middle East, Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, and CIS. One can easily establish a business in the emirate, nurture innovations, and remain future-ready. Dubai is home to the ninth-largest container port and one of the largest airlines in the world - connecting to over 150 destinations - and an ultra-modern transport and distribution network,” said Al Gergawi.
Referring to Dubai’s strategy to harness Artificial Intelligence (AI), 3D printing, fintech, and health information technology, Al Gergawi underscored that the emirate has competitively positioned itself as the next growth frontier for the global private sector. The government has also demonstrated a pioneering spirit in working with the private sector, he added.
“Stimulus measures worth AED 282.5 billion were launched by the UAE government, following the global outbreak of COVID-19, to help businesses offset the impact. Dubai’s government also launched various packages and facilities with the same goal under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai,” said A Gergawi.
Dubai Exports highlighted the production and export capabilities Dubai has continued to add to its strategic advantage as a logistics hub. “The food & agribusiness sector in Dubai particularly has achieved remarkable production and export capabilities, with an eye on the growing domestic population and global demand. It is also a major report centre with a strong fresh product facility and climate-controlled warehousing. Research and development in growing technologies and processes are encouraged to promote a variety of crops, yields, and quality,” explained Eng. Saed Al Awadi, CEO of Dubai Exports.
Food & beverages is also one of the six priority sub-sectors in the Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030, aimed to make Dubai a global platform for knowledge-based, sustainable, and innovation-focused industries.
Ibrahim Ahli, Director of Investment Promotion Department in Dubai FDI, commented that the webinars have been a significant opportunity to share updates on emerging sectors and trends with investors in strategic markets. “Dubai FDI is delighted to have sustained our interaction with the private sector and governments worldwide, expanding it to new channels. The level of investor interest we saw was reassuring, and it confirmed that Dubai is in a stronger position to attract investments into innovation.”