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Dubai Industrial Strategy sees significant progress through first year of implementation


Strategy aims to elevate Dubai into a global platform for knowledge-based, sustainable and innovation-focused industries

  • Industrial GDP grew by 3.4%
  • Total manufactured exports grew by 8.6%
  • 93% of manufacturing facilities in Dubai are in compliance with environmental regulations
  • Industrial labor productivity grew by 3.2%
  • 24 new companies were awarded “Hala” certification

Dubai’s industrial sector has seen significant progress this year, under a new strategy launched by the UAE’s Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum last year. The Dubai Industrial Strategy, which entered the implementation phase earlier this year, aims to elevate the emirate into a global platform for knowledge-based, sustainable and innovation-focused businesses, in line with the framework of Dubai Plan 2021.

The progress indicates overall implementation of the directives, and assists in the continuous development of Dubai’s economic capabilities and its policy of diversifying income sources. More broadly, it has provided decision makers with a clear government operational plan, paving the way for innovative ideas and acceleration of the strategy’s objectives.

The strategy prioritises the development of aerospace, maritime, aluminium and fabricated metals, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment, fast moving consumable goods, and machinery and equipment industries. The General Secretariat of the Executive Council began coordinating the implementation plan since last year by organising a series of meetings and workshops with the entities that are executing its objectives. The Dubai Industrial Strategy focuses on enhancing industrial coherence and integration with other economic sectors - linking the target sectors to education and research institutions, with a view towards stimulating innovation and creativity, as well as creating an attractive investment environment for the targeted industries. The strategy is projected to increase Dubai's total GDP by Dh165 billion by 2030.

Commenting on the announcement, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Second Deputy Chairman of The Executive Council and Chairman of the Economic Development Sector Committee, said: “These initial indicators are a reflection of the industrial sector’s increasingly strong performance, and a direct translation of our leadership’s vision for a globally competitive economic base. It indicates to us that Dubai’s economic model is a sustainable one, underpinned by a diversified base of economic activity, and enhances our resiliency, in line with key aims of Dubai Plan 2021.”

“As we continue to build on this early success, the support of both the public and private sectors will be crucial. This is because our standing as a global economic center has helped to produce companies across a number of industries that are competitive on a global level – and we want to help build industries that support them. Already, some of the completed initiatives in the strategy have helped to facilitate industrial exports, and our job moving forward will be to build on this. It is a testament to Dubai’s thirst for continued and sustainable growth, led by an ambitious leadership that refuses to rest on its laurels,” he continued.

In total, the strategy has identified 70 initiatives that will help generate an additional Dhs 160bn by 2030. These initiatives were chosen based on their ability to:

  • Increase the total output and value-addition of the manufacturing sector

  • Enhance the depth of knowledge and innovation

  • Make Dubai a preferred manufacturing platform for global businesses

  • Promote environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient manufacturing

  • Make Dubai a centre for the global Islamic products market

Already, industrial GDP growth has risen significantly – from only 0.6% in 2015, to 3.4% in 2016. And under the strategy, the industrial sector is expected to grow by an additional Dhs 18bn by 2030 creating 27,000 jobs with exports forecast to increase by Dhs 16bn. Initiatives that have already been completed since the implementation plan started include:

  • Launch of Industrial Aerospace hub by Dubai South

  • Launch of SkyPharma by Emirates SkyCargo - a new purpose-built facility dedicated to pharmaceutical shipments at Dubai International Airport.

  • Inauguration of the region’s largest personal care products manufacturing plant, by consumer goods giant Unilever, at Dubai Industrial Park, with an investment exceeding AED 1 billion. The plan will create around 400 jobs, and exports will constitute 80% of its turnover.

  • Launch of the SME Credit Bureau, which includes industrial manufacturers by DED-Dubai SME.

Research and development spend is expected to reach 2-3% of industrial GDP from the current estimated 0.5%. The DIS implementation team is already working on rolling out some of the longer-term initiatives.

For his part, H.E. Abdullah Al Shaibani, Secretary General of The Executive Council of Dubai, said: “The signs through the early stages of implementation are promising, and I’d like to congratulate all the various parties involved on the strategy’s initial realization. Work must now continue if we are to build on our leadership’s ambitions, reinforcing Dubai’s position as a key player in the global economy, and one of the world’s most business-friendly environments.”

“Dubai’s economic model is a sustainable one, driven by innovation, and productivity in capital and labor – creating an attractive investment environment. The Dubai Industrial Strategy has worked to support Dubai Plan 2021, helping us to build on our diversified economic base - a crucial determinant of our nation’s global competitiveness in the coming period. All the working teams involved will continue to build on this early success, supported the General Secretariat of the Executive Council, as we look to build on this early success and realize the strategy’s goals.”

Dr Amina Al Rustamani, Group Chief Executive Officer of TECOM Group, a member of Dubai Holding, said: “With the implementation of the Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030 off to a strong start, TECOM Group is pleased to be instrumental in supporting a number of its taskforces demonstrating our commitment to helping the realization of the emirate’s economic diversification mandate across our business communities and contributing to the enhancement of a sustainable, knowledge-based economy with innovation at its core.

A prime example of this is our active support for Dubai’s science sector through our efforts to attract large investments and innovators from around the world to Dubai Science Park, our science-focused community. Today the community hosts a broad range of companies and professionals in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sector, among others, significantly contributing to establishing Dubai as a leading scientific hub that pushes the boundaries of R&D and innovation.” 

She added: “One of the pillars of the Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030, the fast-moving consumer goods sector is also gaining strategic importance today. As part of Dubai Wholesale City, Dubai Industrial Park works relentlessly to identify and develop key opportunities in FMCG through attracting manufacturers to the emirate. Its mandate has expanded since its inception, as evidenced by the recent launch of Dubai Food Park, an innovative one-stop shop for a comprehensive range of trade, logistics and transformation services related to the food industry.”