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SMES backbone of UAE’S ‘Operation 300Bn’, GMIS summit hears

By JT - Nov 23,2021 - Last updated at Nov 23,2021

DUBAI —With a special emphasis on the summit’s host country, a dedicated session at the fourth edition of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (#GMIS2021) explored the role of the UAE’s National Strategy for Industry and Advanced Technology in driving the development of a diversified industrial economy in the country over the next 30 years.

The strategy, “Operation 300Bn”, stems from “an integrated vision of the UAE Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT) to strengthen the UAE’s industrial sector and establish the country as a global hub for future industries”, read a GMIS statement.

Abdallah Al Shamsi, assistant undersecretary for the Industrial Growth Sector at MoIAT, noted that the UAE is well-placed to diversify its economy.

Speaking at the panel discussion titled “Operation 300Bn: Make it in the Emirates” on the second day of #GMIS2021, he said: “There is a lot we can do within existing sectors to go to the next level to increase value added, and we have the capital, know-how, and comparative advantages to help us develop new sectors.” 

He added that coordinating efforts between government entities and national industrial champions will be a critical success factor in paving the way for industrial growth.

During the session, Saeed Ghumran Al Remeithi, CEO of Emirates Steel, said “Operation 300Bn” was an ambitious but important target, and that SMEs were at the heart of the strategy.

He added that public-private partnerships are necessary to bring efficiency to the system and to inject foreign direct investments (FDI) into the economy.

Ahmed Mohamed Al Naqbi, CEO of Emirates Development Bank (EDB), said the bank was adapting to diversification by focusing on accelerating industrial development in the UAE and enabling SMEs to be a core piece of the ecosystem.

He added that EDB was filling gaps by facilitating entrepreneurship and supporting start-ups through initiatives such as this year’s launch of the first digital business bank in partnership with MoIAT. 

Abdulnasser Bin Kalban, CEO of Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), said that post-pandemic demand for products was outstripping supply, and that sustainability was top of the company’s agenda and a high priority for customers. SMEs are crucial for Operation 300Bn, he added.

Khaleefa Yousef Al Mheiri, acting CEO of TA’ZIZ, said the chemical sector plays a vital role in diverse manufacturing sectors, and there will be opportunities down the value chain, as most projects will be producing chemicals for the first time.

Saud Abu Al Shawareb, managing director of Dubai Industrial City, spoke about demand in the industrial sector and growth at Dubai Industrial City. Existing and new partners alike are getting support with commercial incentives and government approvals, he said, adding that he looked forward to working with the government to attract more sophisticated, high-end industries, such as mechanical and equipment process line manufacturing and pharma.

Co-chaired by the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), #GMIS2021 convened over 250 policymakers and industry leaders from around the world to engage in 70 sessions from November 22 to 27 at Expo’s Dubai Exhibition Centre.

Under the theme “Rewiring Societies: Repurposing Digitalisation for Prosperity”, the summit explored the role of data and connectivity in shaping the future of supply chains, green manufacturing, sustainable energy, climate action, policymaking, and resilient global economies, according to the statement.


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