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UAE announces ten-year plan to double industrial output, bolster post-COVID economy

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The United Arab Emirates will implement a ten-year plan to more than double the country's industrial output and help to bolster its economy after the COVID-19 pandemic, it was announced Monday.

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Operation 300bn outlines a strategy to increase the industrial sector’s contribution to the UAE’s GDP from its current $36 billion (AED133 billion) to $82 billion (AED300 billion) by 2031 – reducing reliance on imports, according to the Dubai Media Office.

The country’s leaders also aim to increase spending on Research and Development in the industrial sector from $6bn (AED 21 billion – 1.3 percent of GDP), to $16 billion (AED 57 billion – 2 percent of GDP) by 2031.

The plan focuses on four main objectives. The first involves offering financing facilities to support 13,500 industrial small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and develop the UAE’s industrial infrastructure.

The second objective involves improving the quality standards of UAE-made goods with the aim of increasing the export market’s value as well as boosting demand domestically, under the slogan ‘Make it in the Emirates’. Operation 300bn’s third objective focuses on developing high-tech industry, and the fourth objective aims to establish the country as an international hub for industry – attracting talent and investment from overseas.

An image from the launch of the Make it in the Emirates campaign, part of Operation 300bn. (Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum via Twitter)
An image from the launch of the Make it in the Emirates campaign, part of Operation 300bn. (Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum via Twitter)

“The industrial strategy will achieve a giant leap in the UAE’s industrial sector to become the main driving force of the national economy and lead the journey of our next 50 years with greater confidence and speed,” said Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in a statement.

“The comprehensive national program builds on the country’s investment benefits to lead a sustainable economic development in line with national priorities for the post-COVID-19 phase,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi added in the statement.

There are currently more than 33,000 industrial enterprises operating in the UAE, comprising 95 percent of SMEs. Sheikh Mohammed called these, in a statement, the “backbone” of the UAE’s economy.

“[Operation 300bn] will significantly accelerate the process of economic diversification already underway in key industrial sectors, where the UAE already has an established presence and expertise, including energy, petrochemicals, plastics, metals and manufacturing; sectors that reinforce the country’s resilience and reduce dependence on global supply chains, such as food, agriculture, water, and healthcare; and industries of the future, including space, biotech, medi-tech and other sectors that are enabled by fourth industrial revolution technologies,” Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology said in a statement.

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