Operation 300bn & ‘Make it in the Emirates’ roll out

Eudore R. Chand

ABU DHABI 23 March 2021: The UAE’s new industrial strategy ‘Operation 300bn’ was yesterday launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The 10-year strategy aims to empower and expand the industrial sector to become the driving force of a sustainable national economy, increasing its contribution to the GDP from the current Dh133 billion to Dh300 billion by 2031.

Leading the strategy, the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology will roll out programmes and initiatives to support 13,500 industrial small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Focusing primarily on future industries that implement advanced technology and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) solutions and applications, the strategy will work towards advancing the national economy and contributing to the sustainable development, said official news agency Wam.

It aims to increase the in-country value through improving and promoting local products on a global level and building an attractive business environment for local and international investors to boost productivity. The plan provides a competitive package of facilities and incentives with the aim of positioning the UAE as a global industrial hub that attracts talents, developers and experts from all over the world.

Make it in the Emirates

Sheikh Mohammed also launched the Unified Industrial Brand Identity under the slogan ‘Make it in the Emirates’. As an extension of the UAE Nation Brand, the new campaign stems from a vision based on distinction, uniqueness and the efforts to build the credentials of UAE products by enhancing their quality and global competitiveness. Ultimately, every product made in UAE will comply with the highest international quality standards and have its rightful place among the best international products.

“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 Sheikh Mohammed. “The industrial sector is the backbone of large economies, and the UAE has effective resources, policies and leadership to build a global economic base.”

His Highness noted that “developing the industrial sector and achieving self-sufficiency in some vital sectors safeguards our economy against emerging global crises.

“The industrial sector in the UAE has made great strides. With competitive national products we take pride in, our mission is to double our success, increase the in-country value and build an export ecosystem that enhances the global competitiveness of local products.

“We aim to launch new industrial projects in a futuristic framework that creates out-of-the-box solutions to address challenges in a timely manner.” He stressed that “strengthening the industrial sector will establish our economic stability, global status and the future of our next generation,” he said.

Empower our national industries

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, said, “the industrial strategy will empower our national industries and lead the country’s efforts to advance the industrial sector as a major driver of the national economy over the next 50 years.”

Presenting a giant developmental leap, he noted, the industrial sector is an essential source of economic diversification, job creation and a wider sustainable development.

He noted, “We need to unify efforts of national teams to achieve the objectives of the strategy and support the country’s sustainable economic diversification efforts.”

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed stressed on the necessity to empower youth to adapt to the rapidly-growing technological advancements and harness their talents to expand vital future industrial sectors, Artificial Intelligence, space technologies, energy and pharmaceuticals. These efforts, he said, ensure a sustainable economic growth to build a safe and secure future for the next generation.

“The UAE has succeeded in establishing its status as an economic capital in the region and an ideal business landscape with world-class digital infrastructure, services, security and competitive investment benefits.”

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed added, “the industrial strategy establishes an ambitious objective to double the industrial sector’s contribution to the GDP and increase the in-country value. The comprehensive national programme builds on the country’s investment benefits to lead a sustainable economic development in line with national priorities for the post-COVID-19 phase.”

He concluded, “the industrial strategy brings together the efforts of government and private sectors to spearhead the country’s developmental sectors towards our next 50-year journey and build a future country based on a stable and solid economy.”

Giant Industrial Leap

Presenting the Operation 300bn, Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, affirmed that the strategic national programme aims to deliver sustainable economic growth for the UAE’s industrial sector by enhancing its competitiveness at a regional and global level.

He said, “The strategy aims to increase the industrial sector’s annual GDP contribution to Dh300 billion by 2031, while boosting productivity, creating new jobs, enhancing local skillsets, and increasing national competitiveness.”

Operation 300bn will support more than 13,500 SMEs by 2031, as they are major drivers of shaping a productive industrial sector and sustainable economy. More than 33,000 industrial enterprises operate in the UAE, comprising 95 percent of small and medium-sized businesses.

The volume of spending on Research and Development in the industrial sector will increase from Dh21 billion, constituting 1.3 percent of the GDP, to Dh57 billion in 2031, bringing the contribution to the GDP to 2 percent.

Operation 300bn will focus on promoting existing industries, building on their successes, and enhance their contributions to the GDP, thereby adding value to the UAE’s export ecosystem. At the same time, it will focus on developing a new industrial ecosystem, primarily high-tech industries and 4IR ventures that form the basis of a knowledge-based economy.

Future industries that the strategy will focus on are:

  • Space technology
  • Medical supplies and pharmaceuticals
  • Clean and renewable energy (hydrogen production)
  • Machinery and equipment
  • Rubber and plastic
  • Chemicals
  • Metals
  • Advanced technologies manufacturing
  • Electronics and electrical gadgets and
  • Food and beverage

He added, “a key enabler of the strategy will be updating the existing law that regulates industrial affairs in the UAE to encourage local entrepreneurs and attract Foreign Direct Investment. This will allow for 100 per cent foreign ownership of individual enterprises. In addition, SME growth will be targeted by making more flexible, preferred financing available through a number of facilities.”

Al Jaber noted that Operation 300bn aims to increase the UAE’s global ranking on the Competitive Industrial Performance Index (CIP).

The industrial strategy aligns with the In-Country Value (ICV) Programme, which aims to enhance the in-country value of industrial goods and services, boost demand for local products, promote investment in R&D and incentivise advanced technology adoption across the value chain.

It also seeks to boost the UAE’s exports while ensuring reducing reliance on imports and increasing the contribution of industrial SMEs in the national economy.

Specifications and standards

Al Jaber also highlighted that “Among its key initiatives, the new strategy is set to significantly increase in-country value and redirect funds into the local economy. Furthermore, it will drive the development of specifications and standards to ensure the continued competitiveness and value of locally manufactured products fit for global export markets.”

He addressed the current challenges facing the industrial sector including the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, the rapidly-changing technological sphere that calls for a swift adaptation, and the rising regional transformations in line with the new globalisation trends that produce a critical need to achieve self-sufficiency in viral industries and prepare for emerging challenges that may hurdle the supply chain.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has compelled countries around the world to redefine their priorities. The UAE has demonstrated great resilience and agility in its post-pandemic recovery. In order to ensure the UAE’s continued competitiveness, and maintain its strong international standing, as the country embarks on preparations for the next 50 years, Operation 300bn is focused on knowledge, innovation, advanced technology, and Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) solutions and applications. The strategy will significantly reduce the UAE’s reliance on imports in vital industries as it supports the building of new capabilities in future industries,” he added.

“Implementing this strategy successfully will require a concerted effort from all stakeholders to collaborate and integrate their capabilities. Increased cooperation and coordination between the public and private sector will positively impact the growth and development of the industrial and advanced technology sectors.”

Vision and Objectives

Seeking to maximise the industrial sector’s revenue, Operation 300bn is a nationwide action plan to strengthen enabling mechanisms and tools, and build the most resilient logistical and legislative framework of its kind. The plan provides an unprecedented package of facilities, incentives and customs exemptions with the aim of attracting foreign investments to the industrial sector, creating a world-class industrial ecosystem.

Under the Unified Industrial Brand Identity, the strategy aims to transform the country’s industrial products into a reflection of the UAE’s identity, built on the pursuit of excellence through unified national standards, and highlight the unique features and superior quality of products made in UAE. It also aims to enhance the competitiveness of national products, increase their recognition, encourage demand and promote them internationally.

Four Main objectives

The industrial strategy “Operation 300bn” pursues four main objectives. The first is to create an attractive business environment for local and international investors in the industrial sector through updating the Industrial Law to support local entrepreneurs and attract foreign direct investment.

The law will include flexible conditions to provide opportunities to small and medium-sized companies and industrial enterprises while allowing foreigners to own 100 percent of their industrial establishments. To achieve the first objective, the strategy will also offer financing facilities to priority industrial sectors, develop industrial quality infrastructure to support existing and new local industries as part of a vision that forecasts enablers and mechanisms to address future challenges with the aim of driving sustainable industrial development and enhancing competitiveness.

The second objective is to catalyse industrial development and stimulate the national economy through launching a programme to enhance in-country value and increase the demand for UAE products with the aim of boosting their contribution to the GDP, increasing their exports and finding new markets for them.

The third objective is to encourage innovation, and the adoption of advanced technology and Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) solutions through setting the advanced technology agenda to accelerate the development of innovative products, taking into consideration all factors that ensure commercial viability. The strategy also looks to design programmes to adopt 4IR solutions to boost the productivity of priority industries as part of the third objective.

The fourth objective is to create strong foundations to enhance the UAE’s position as a leading global hub for future industries through designing initiatives that establish the country’s status as a leading business and technology hub.

Make it in the Emirates

As part of industrial strategy, the Unified Industrial brand Identity is an extension of the UAE Nation Brand that stems from a vision based on distinction, uniqueness and the efforts to build the credentials of UAE products by enhancing their quality and global competitiveness.

The Unified Industrial Identity supports the diversification of the national industrial base, and contributes to positioning the country as an incubator of innovation and creativity. Ultimately, every product made in UAE will comply with the highest international quality standards and have its rightful place among the best international products.

Just as the UAE Nation Brand seeks to share the UAE’s story with the world as a pioneer in sustainable development, the Unified Industrial Identity aims to develop UAE products within an attractive industrial sector that has limitless potential for growth, and establish the sector as an integral part of the UAE’s unique success story and a key contributor to the country’s development journey.

As part of the Unified Industrial brand Identity, ‘Make it in the Emirates’ is the first campaign of its kind in the UAE that encourages local and international investors, innovators and developers to benefit from the facilities and incentives offered by the country’s industrial sector, and to fulfill their ambitions of developing, manufacturing and exporting their products.

The unified industrial brand identity aims to create a sense of pride in locally made products, so that the ‘Made in UAE’ label on a product motivates people around the world to buy it for its superior quality.

Stringent production standards

The new Identity seeks to build trust in UAE products by setting stringent production standards that ensure the highest levels of excellence, efficiency and quality, ranking them among similar reputable global products, if not better. It also encourages the UAE’s highly diversified business sector to move towards industrial projects and contribute to the development of local industries across the country.

The unified industrial identity promotes the adoption of the ‘manufacturer mentality’ among the UAE’s business community – including citizens, residents and foreign investors – based on the culture of possibilities that enables any innovative idea to be translated into reality. The manufacturer is adventurous, thinks outside the box and is willing to seize any available opportunity to invest in the industrial sector while benefiting from the UAE’s conducive investment environment and strategic location.

As a national strategic framework, the Identity serves as a guarantee, protection and support framework that subjects all UAE products to the same specifications based on the highest standards of quality and excellence. It also provides exceptional support mechanisms to ensure product conformity with national and international quality standards, enhancing their local, regional and global competitiveness.


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