There is a plethora of new technology emerging within the UAE, from blockchain, to artificial intelligence, to robotics. This report will be focusing more on the rise of artificial intelligence within the country and how the country has been actively pushing the growth of these emerging technologies through initiatives that provide incentives to tech companies and investment.
The Rise of AI in the UAE’s Sectors
One sector in which the use of artificial intelligence is becoming more frequent is healthcare. During this year’s Arab Health Exhibition and Congress, Dr Buhamaid of Mohammed Bin Rashid University stressed the role of technology in providing a better experience for patients – seconds or minutes could potentially outcome medical outcomes, and this is why new technologies are useful in emergency care. The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) also announced during Arab Health 2023 that it would be formally introducing EJADAH into healthcare, a value-based model that will aim to cover a range of 30 diseases by 2025. This AI model will not only promote early disease detection, but will also play a role in disease prevention. Another sector that is increasingly using AI is education. In March, Minister of Education Ahmed Belhoul Al Falasi announced that the UAE education system will be introducing digital teaching supported by AI to boost academic performance. He said that the ministry planned on completely modernising and transforming education in the UAE, through the use of AI chatbot tutors that implement technology similar to that of the renowned ChatGPT. The incorporation of AI into education is with the hope of bettering student assessments, as Falasi admits that the UAE was ‘late to formal education,’ meaning worldwide, results are not the highest. Finally, we can observe the use of artificial intelligence in the transport sector of the UAE. This year, the Integrated Transport Centre (ITC) of Abu Dhabi launched two initiatives with Google – firstly, Project Green Light, which is an analytical system using AI technology to collect and analyse traffic data, and offer recommendations to improve traffic light efficiency in Abu Dhabi. Secondly, Google’s AI platform will be utilised to analyse data provided by Google Maps, in order to predict traffic beforehand, as well as forecast areas of high congestion. The RTA’s AI-powered Remote Bus Performance Monitoring Centre has also improved public bus services and their efficiency, reducing fuel consumption and road faults by 5-10% in 2022. It is therefore evident that there are many sectors within the UAE that artificial intelligence plays a growing role in. With such a wide range of use for this technology, there are naturally many opportunities to break into the industry, and this is why the country is pushing the growth of these technologies.
Government Initiatives that Support Emerging Technology in the UAE
There are a wide range of government initiatives solely created with the purpose of growing the tech industry within the UAE, through attracting tech companies to the region via incentives such as funding. A prime example of this is the NextGen FDI initiative within the UAE, which provides certain incentives to tech businesses or ‘digitally enabled’ businesses in order to attract them to the country. For example, they offer faster licensing, aid in the issuing of visas, and incentives in regards to commercial leasing and residential housing. For example, Holiday Swap, a vacation exchange and booking platform with more than 1 million monthly users worldwide, joined the initiative this August, and were assisted in their consolidation of global operations in the UAE. Another example is one revealed by the Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy this June; an initiative with the aim of assisting tech companies establishing their presence in the Emirate. This initiative boasts access to a range of incentives, such as streamlined access to licensing, provided office space, online cloud services, and banking solutions. This is with the goal of attracting 300 digital startups to Dubai by 2024. There is also the Entrepreneurial Nation initiative, re-launched in October 2022, which helps entrepreneurs set up their businesses within the country through the use of public-private partnerships. Once again, the main target of this initiative is tech-enabled companies, and this move aims to enable the growth of 8000 UAE-based SMEs, make the UAE home to 20 unicorns by 2030, and also attract foreign investment through the creation of an investor friendly ecosystem.
The abundance of examples provided in this report makes it clear that the UAE will continue to make an active effort to catalyse the growth of the technology industry within the country. Whether it be through funding or just making the process of starting up in the country significantly easier, these initiatives have a distinct aim at the forefront of all their efforts, which is to attract tech companies looking to invest or establish their presence in the UAE. This, married with the fact that an increasing number of sectors have begun incorporating AI in their operations, increases the probability of a successful tech venture in the country, simply because there is so much use for it and equal amounts of enthusiasm for its incorporation.
Author: Manaar Vakil, Legal Intern
Politics and International Relations Student at the London School of Economics
The article presented here is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice. If any of this information is to be acted upon, it is recommended to seek expert advice.