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Mohammad Bin Rashid launches Dubai Industrial Strategy

28/06/2016 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Free Zone News

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DUBAI: Plan aims to leverage advanced infrastructure and enabling environment to transform emirate into a global platform for innovative industries.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, today launched the Dubai Industrial Strategy that aims to elevate Dubai into a global platform for knowledge-based, sustainable and innovation-focused businesses.

Shaikh Mohammad reiterated that the UAE is on track to achieving its objectives with regard to integrating and complementing its economic sectors and optimising industrial capacity to supplement the gross domestic product (GDP) and other revenue streams to the national economy in the coming years. He said: “The Dubai Industrial Strategy aims to leverage our advanced infrastructure and enabling environment to transform UAE into a global platform for innovative industries and a destination of choice for international companies seeking an integrated and favourable environment for growth and sustainability.”

He added: “With the launch of the Dubai Industrial Strategy, we are taking one more step towards the future. We have laid down a strong foundation that blends our strategic location and infrastructure with our ambition, confidence and experience. Today, we have put in place the basic framework needed to compete globally in the industrial sector and develop national talents. We are one step closer to achieving the goal of making Dubai a homeland for innovators, a favourite place to live and work in, a global economic hub and a preferred destination for visitors.”

Shaikh Mohammad further pointed out: “Sustainable development involves activating all pillars of the economy. A conducive environment is required to achieve our targets that focus on knowledge, science and research, which form the foundation for the development of industries.”

He added that a sound economy today means a diverse and integrated economy led by the industry and manufacturing sectors and built on pillars of innovation and creativity. The UAE Vice-President said: “Nations are recognised for what they produce and offer in products and services and the value they add to the global economy.”

The strategy was launched in the presence of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, and Shaikh Maktoum Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai.

The event was also attended by Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and The Future, Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, Mohammad Ebrahim Al Shaibani, Director-General of His Highness the Ruler’s Court of Dubai, Sultan Ahmad Bin Sulayem, Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, in addition to a number of business leaders in Dubai.

The development of the Dubai Industrial Strategy was led by Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (Jafza) and Dubai Industrial Park in Dubai Wholesale City with support from the Executive Council of Dubai. Numerous industry experts from more than 25 government entities and the private sector were also involved during the development phase.

The strategy aims to develop and implement long-term industrial policies to enhance the competitiveness and sustainability of the industrial sector in Dubai and across its free zones. It identifies target industrial sectors and focuses on strengthening industrial integration — connecting the target sector with educational and research institutions to stimulate innovation and creativity with a view to developing strategic industries. In addition, the Dubai Industrial Strategy aims to create an attractive environment for these strategic industries.

The Dubai Industrial Strategy is based on five key objectives that will serve as the foundation for Dubai’s industrial future. The strategy aims 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 environment-friendly and energy-efficient manufacturing and make Dubai a centre for the global Islamic products market.

The Dubai Industrial Strategy has further identified six priority sub-sectors — aerospace, maritime, aluminum and fabricated metals, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment, food and beverages and machinery and equipment. These sub-sectors were chosen based on their importance to the Dubai Industrial Strategy and Dubai Plan 2021, as well as their future growth prospects, export potential and mid-term to long-term economic impact.


In the aerospace sector, Dubai can play a pivotal role through manufacturing spare parts for aircraft and providing maintenance and repair services. As per the strategy, Dubai will leverage its position as a global hub for aviation to increase the market added value (MVA), increase job creation and step-up the levels of research and development in this sector.

The crucially important aviation sector that supports the movement of passengers through Dubai has grown substantially over the years to reach 70 million in 2014. The Dubai-based Emirates airline alone currently owns a fleet of 239 aircraft in service and a further 269 that have been ordered.

Maritime Industry

Dubai is considered a front-runner in the field of maritime maintenance and repair through its Dry Docks World and Dubai Maritime City. The emirate also has a unique global location as a centre of trade and maritime services — comprising Jebel Ali Port, the largest seaport in the Middle East with a capacity of 21 million containers. Dubai is in a prime position to expand its activities to attract more traffic to its facilities, especially larger ships and offshore structures. Dubai can also foray into manufacturing yachts and boats to meet domestic demand.

Aluminium and Fabricated Metals

Dubai is home to one of the largest aluminium smelters worldwide. The UAE is among the top global exporters of aluminium — it exports 88 per cent of the 2.4 million tonnes it produces annually. According to the Dubai Industrial Strategy, the emirate has the opportunity to raise its production capacity in metal fabrication through the development of its current base in aluminium production. This will be achieved by enhancing the capabilities of the downstream and finished goods manufacturing domains to increase the overall added value and maximise benefits from the existing smelters. The downstream activities i.e. the final aluminium products industry will further enhance the global reach of domestic producers and attract players from the international auto and aerospace industry.


The Dubai Industrial Strategy has chosen the pharmaceutical sub-sector for its vital importance and added value. With low local and regional production capacities, the countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region currently import 80 per cent of their pharmaceutical requirements. Lucrative opportunities exist to develop this strategic sector. The first phase of the strategy will focus on manufacturing cosmeceuticals (cosmetics that are claimed to have medicinal properties) to benefit from the growth of this niche market — particularly given the increasing demand for halal cosmeceuticals. The initial focus on this sector will help increase investments in research and development (R&D), infrastructure and building capacity and help step-up to the next phase of manufacturing pharmaceuticals that requires advanced technology, skilled human capital and strong R&D capabilities.

Food and Beverages

The global food and beverages (F&B) market was valued at approximately $4 trillion (Dh14.71 trillion) in 2014. Dubai’s exports in the same year were worth Dh47.7 billion. With countries in the GCC region importing 70 per cent of their food needs and registering an annual growth of more than 3 per cent, Dubai can play a significant role in becoming a major hub for food products in the region. Dubai’s infrastructure, airports and ports, and logistical capabilities serve as drivers for the success of the F&B sector as it relies heavily on ease of access and speed of delivering raw materials and products.

The Dubai Industrial Strategy also aims to leverage the growing demand for halal products to enhance Dubai’s position as the Capital of the Islamic Economy and expand local manufacturing capabilities for producing high quality halal products.

Machinery and Equipment

The Machinery and Equipment sector is one of the largest industrial sub-sectors in Dubai and accounts for about 25 per cent of the industrial GDP due to the high domestic and regional demand for construction machinery and equipment. The global market for Machinery and Equipment is estimated at US$3.5 trillion. Developing this sector will add significant value to the GDP — especially given Dubai’s location and reputation as a hub for machinery and equipment in the region and beyond.

Strategic Initiatives

The Dubai Industrial Strategy has identified 75 initiatives to transform Dubai into a global platform for industries based on knowledge, innovation and sustainability. The strategy is projected to help generate an additional Dh160 billion by 2030.

Sultan Ahmad Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of DP World and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation asserted that the launch of Dubai Industrial Strategy, in line with the vision of Shaikh Mohammad, is aligned with the UAE’s road map for sustainable progress in the post-oil era and reinforce nation’s efforts to diversify the national economic structure. He said: “The launch of Dubai Wholesale City, the world’s largest city for wholesale trade extending over 550 million square feet at a cost of Dh30 billion, reinforces Dubai’s clear economic vision for the future through the creation of dynamic new sectors and the reformatting of existing sectors on a global scale.”

He mentioned that the UAE’s industrial landscape has developed significantly over the years owing to the conscious effort towards increasing the sector’s growth. This growth has been achieved through putting in place a strategic plan to expand and attract foreign and domestic investments by setting up industrial zones across the UAE that provide world-class infrastructure and operational facilities.

Sultan Bin Sulayem pointed out that Dubai is already regarded as a major trading centre on the international map and under the directives of Shaikh Mohammad, the emirate is poised to emerge as a global industrial centre and city of integrated logistics. Dubai will offer all the services that investors seek to push into new and emerging markets of the world.

He stressed that the Dubai Industrial Strategy includes a range of investment incentives to attract more industrial investments to the Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza). These incentives will encourage investors to create production lines locally and use Jafza as a springboard for conveying their products to diverse countries around the world.

Sultan Bin Sulayem highlighted that the strategy also comprised a core developmental aspect — including Emiratis in the nation’s development process and empowering them with knowledge and skills through engaging them in various industrial projects.

Dr Amina Al Rustamani, Group CEO, Tecom Group, developer of specialised parks including Dubai Industrial Park in Dubai Wholesale City, said: “His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum has launched the Dubai Industrial Strategy in line with the economic vision of Dubai. This strategy forms a cornerstone for the development of an industry sector based on innovation, knowledge and creativity.”

She added: “We are keen on increasing the value added of the industrial sector to the Dubai’s GDP as well as that of the UAE. The development of this sector is a main driver for the economy with its high potential and capability. We are committed to implementing this strategy on the ground and benefiting from its potential to significantly build capacities and provide jobs to our national workforce.”

Abdullah Belhoul, CEO, Dubai Wholesale City, which includes the Dubai Industrial Park, said: “The launch of the Dubai Industrial Strategy articulates the vision of our leadership to prepare for a post-oil future and establish a diversified knowledge-based economy. Dubai Industrial Park will play a pivotal role in this transition as a leading destination for industry and logistics — boasting more than 700 local, regional and global companies. The industrial park also features a halal manufacturing zone that will help fulfil the objectives of this strategy. In the next phase of implementation of the strategy, Dubai Industrial Park will collaborate with all the partners on realising initiatives and action plans to accomplish these strategic goals. We will work to translate the leadership vision into reality and support Dubai’s transition into a global platform for industries based on knowledge and innovation.”

Ebrahim Mohammad Al Janahi, Deputy CEO and Chief Commercial Officer of Jafza, said: “The Dubai Industrial Strategy has outlined policies to ensure a steady pace of growth in all sectors and has assigned specific tasks to every economic institution — whether free zones or industrial zones. These promising policies will stimulate the industrial sector and attract more foreign investment to the country.”

Al Janahi pointed out that the strategy helped to foster innovation and provided customised solutions in addition to creating a common language for the stakeholders. Its implementation will further drive the growth of the industrial sector and open new horizons to introduce and consolidate the ‘Made in Dubai’ brand initiative. This branding would build the credibility of the emirate for manufacturing products to highest international standards.

Al Janahi stressed that Jafza is developing a marketing plan tailored to the Dubai Industrial Strategy to attract more global industrial companies to the free zone and provide incentives to successful businesses based within the zone.

He said: “Jebel Ali Free Zone has more than 765 industrial companies from 73 countries. These companies employ nearly 73,000 employees and operate over an area of 14 million square meters. We intend to increase these numbers in the coming years and contribute to the quantum leap that the national economy will achieve through implementing this strategy.”

According to the Dubai Industrial Strategy, the industrial sector is expected to grow by an additional Dh18 billion by 2030, creating 27,000 jobs with exports forecast to increase by Dh16 billion. Meanwhile, investment in research and development will increase by an additional Dh700 million by 2030.

The contribution of the industrial sector to the GDP was around 14 per cent in 2014. The sector’s resilience and competency led to its continued growth over the past years — even during the global financial crisis.