ADVOCACY: Economies of the future
G20 Summit

ADVOCACY: Economies of the future

International trade and cooperation are the backbone of our global economy, and the United Arab Emirates is a leading example of what can be achieved when we support businesses – from fast-tracking development to enhancing economic competitiveness, and building economies that are not only stronger, but also more inclusive

Cooperation and collaboration are more important than ever before – and the G20 is a shining example of how multilateralism and global partnerships can pave the way for progress. 

The United Arab Emirates, for example, has  shifted its priorities in recent years in order to prepare its economy for the next 50 years and enhance its competitiveness in the global arena. Its new economic vision is ambitious and far-reaching. From the ‘Projects of the 50’ initiative, which will attract foreign direct investment worth more than $150 billion over the coming decade, to a series of measures that includes new free trade agreements and updates to the visa system – encompassing new long-term residency and virtual working visas – it’s a strategy designed to accelerate the UAE’s development and reinforce its position as a preferred destination for investors and talent alike. 

Already, we can see the fruits of this labour. Over the next 10 years, the UAE’s digital economy strategy is forecast to double its contribution to gross domestic product to 19.4%. As the G20’s focus on digital transformation proves, now is the moment to assist businesses operating in this vital, fast-growing and rapidly evolving sector of our economy. We have also recently seen the passing of a new law on public-private partnerships, which supports the UAE’s goal of building a sustainable, competitive, knowledge-based economy.

Dubai, in particular, is exploring new ways to further open up to the world and cement its status as a global economic and investment hub. The government’s focus rests on driving international cooperation and advancing the digital economy, which includes developing a digital asset industry, leveraging public-private partnerships, and boosting its value proposition to businesses and investors through a series of incentives. The work falls within Dubai’s five-year plan, which is aimed at boosting non-oil foreign trade to $544 billion.

A significant restructure

One of the key factors behind Dubai’s remarkable growth story is its ability to push the boundaries, reimagine the future and create new possibilities. In a first-of-its-kind move, three chambers of commerce, namely Dubai Chamber of Commerce, Dubai International Chamber and Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, were established under the restructured Dubai Chambers as part of a strategic move to spearhead Dubai’s economy in the post-pandemic era and create new growth opportunities for businesses in the emirate.

While Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy works on transforming Dubai into an international technology hub, Dubai Chamber of Commerce is playing a major role in representing, supporting and protecting the interests of businesses in Dubai in a fast-changing business landscape, while Dubai International Chamber is forging new economic partnerships worldwide and helping local companies to achieve success in global markets. 

Facilitating global trade is our remit, and our goal is to promote sustainable and inclusive economic development through the participation of micro, small and medium enterprises – especially in the digital economy. It is here that the ambitions of the G20 and Dubai Chambers intersect. Our vision of a digital future is one which is shared, and our ability to rapidly digitalise the global economy, boost international trade and enhance public–private-sector activity rests on cooperation among nations and all stakeholders. It is only through collaboration that we can ensure prosperity for all in the digital age. 

Collaboration for prosperity

To achieve this aim, our focus is trained on attracting business, investors and startups from around the world – and there is much work under way, from roadshows designed to attract rising scaleups specialising in advanced technologies and digital business solutions in fast-growing sectors, to the formation of Dubai Digital Assets Business Group, whose remit is to boost the role of the digital asset industry in the UAE and wider region’s economic development, and support the growth of digital companies operating here.

Amid it all is the singular goal to develop and expand emerging economic sectors. To grow the digital economy and support innovation-focused sectors, this year Dubai has signed landmark free trade agreements with India, Israel, Indonesia and Colombia. As well as supporting the emirate’s ambitions in sustainable development, these agreements build new bridges of cooperation and further crack open the thriving economies of Dubai and the UAE – to the benefit of all.

The three new chambers work in tandem towards these goals and within Dubai’s strategic agenda. The reshuffle has enabled Dubai Chambers to better serve Chamber members, deliver added value, future-proof Dubai’s economy and – crucially – implement a more specialised approach to the specific objectives outlined under Dubai’s new vision. 

Dubai Chambers is among the first chambers in the world to adopt a three-chamber model, and its work will no doubt elevate Dubai in the global arena.

Bridging government and business

In addition to the important work Dubai Chambers is doing to expand trade relations and attract digital businesses and talent to the emirate, it is also serving as a bridge between government and business by creating new channels and platforms to facilitate public–private-sector cooperation. Our work here includes establishing 50 integrated commercial representative offices for Dubai across five continents within the next few years. Named Dubai Global, this initiative will see the network operate as part of Dubai Chambers and in partnership with several government and private-sector entities in Dubai. Its overarching goal is to attract investment, talent and new business to Dubai, while supporting Dubai-based companies in their exploration of economic and commercial opportunities in 30 markets around the globe. 

The global expansion of Dubai companies echoes the G20 priority themes of international cooperation, global trade, an enabled and supported digital economy, and sustainable development – and it is critical work as the world’s economies continue to suffer the effects of the pandemic. As we look to build green markets, diversify trade, create opportunities for underserved markets and enhance competitiveness, we can establish the trade and digital sectors as key pillars of Dubai’s – and the world’s – economy. I look forward to seeing what the G20 and the world’s business community can together achieve.