Dubai has the ecosystem to continue attracting innovation

Dubai has all the features, including the comprehensive ecosystem, required to continue attracting innovation, delegates heard at the region’s first INSEAD NAA UAE Leadership Forum held in Dubai.

Speaking at a panel discussion titled ‘Innovation Nation: The Changing Face of Investment’, CEO of Dubai Investment Development Agency (DUBAI FDI) His Excellency Fahad Al Gergawi said that what makes Dubai a unique place for investments is the softer elements such as the talent, people and management systems which together facilitate greater efficiency.

“Despite the economic downturn in the last year or two, we have seen resilience within the city of Dubai because of its readiness to face challenges. We have decided to be a city that is ready and able to face different challenges. We have made sure to put great emphasis on readiness,” said HE Al Gergawi.

Al Gergawi said that Dubai’s smart city vision was transformed into a strategy, following which it developed laws and regulations to facilitate innovation in the city. “I think we are one of the only cities in the world whose municipality was mandated to create codes for 3D printing, one of the elements that allowed businesses to thrive. The Roads and Transport Authority is also working hard to implement drone autonomous rides, which shows once again Dubai’s ambitious outlook for an innovative future.”

HE Al Gergawi highlighted Dubai’s position as a gateway and a global centre for investors to thrive. “We are a centre for business, trade and finance and at the same time a platform for multinational companies to grow and access a regional market of 2.4 billion consumers,” he said.

He added that as a global city, Dubai has been able to achieve top rankings. As an FDI centre, we are among the top three destinations. We are also considered as a city with an impact and a city that has a lot of value for investment in the wider region that we cover.”

Also speaking in the session was Chief Commercial Officer of Nakheel Aqil Kazim, who highlighted the dynamism of Dubai’s real estate market. “In the last ten years, the market has matured to a stage where it is about quality rather than quantity,” he said.

“Innovation and technology have become synonymous with changes in real estate as well. One aspect where we see innovation is in the way in which the property market is used. An example is student accommodation. Today, investors and institutional investors in Dubai have opportunities to invest in student accommodation in knowledge clusters or university clusters.”

“Another example where I see technology becoming synonymous with real estate is E-Commerce. With the exponential growth of e-commerce, amazon, noon.com and so on, we have seen changes in the industrial property market where warehouses in its traditional sense have evolved to meet the needs of such businesses in today’s market,” he continued.

Organised by the INSEAD National Alumni Association (NAA) in the UAE and the Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO), the region’s first INSEAD NAA UAE Leadership Forum provided a platform for sharing diverse ideas on promoting sustainable economic growth and creating a brighter future for the region. Speakers engaged in a dialogue on vital topics ranging from the economy, society and culture to technology, entrepreneurship and innovation.

The Forum took a deeper look at the economic and social shifts taking place regionally and globally and explored how countries in the Middle East can ride these waves of change to bring more prosperity to the region.

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