INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVE: The next frontier of business innovation
G20 Summit

INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVE: The next frontier of business innovation

The impact of COVID-19 on the business community has been profound, accelerating economy 4.0 and triggering a new age of knowledge – the bedrock for the G20’s priorities of planet, prosperity and people

Under the Italian presidency, the G20 has highlighted that the challenges we face today can only be solved by shared, coordinated and equitable responses – and that these challenges go beyond the pandemic, from environmental concerns to ensuring sustained prosperity. A prosperous future relies on our ability to adapt and innovate, and technology is being used like never before to respond to our collective challenges. As the voice of the business community, the ICC-WCF knows that for everyone to prosper, we must bridge the digital divide. It’s a position that aligns with the G20’s work to make digitalisation an opportunity for all with a long-term view to improve productivity and leave no one behind. We have long championed economy 4.0, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, in which we are transitioning into a knowledge economy. It’s an exciting time for our planet, our prosperity and our people.


In response to our evolving economies, Dubai Chamber is changing the way it serves its members. It has been restructured as three separate entities – each adopting a specialised approach to promoting and driving commerce, international trade and digital economy, reinforce Dubai’s position as a global business hub and catalyse the city’s economic transformation. HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai, has approved a new board of directors, reflecting Dubai’s proactive approach to enhancing its economic competitiveness in the global arena.

The pandemic highlighted the need for Dubai to build new competencies for sustainable business development, including digitalisation, data analysis, financial planning, crisis management and supply chain automation. In response to new challenges in the COVID-19 era, Dubai Chamber was swift in its response to ensuring business continuity and accelerating digital transformation. Dubai Chamber’s network of international offices supported businesses facing supply chain disruptions by identifying alternative suppliers on a global level, helping companies to continue operations while establishing new business links. Similarly, some brick-and-mortar businesses struggled with the initial shift to online, but by rapidly digitising, businesses benefited from new cost structures, improved services, reduced delivery times and better monitoring of inventory levels.

What Dubai has done exceptionally well is turn global challenges into growth opportunities. The emirate has adopted a new plan to boost its foreign trade to Dh2 trillion – part of the new five-year Dubai International Trade Roadmap, which will also establish new shipping and air routes to connect Dubai to more than 400 cities around the world. These new linkages will further improve the ease of doing business in Dubai and the wider region. Following a forward-looking and proactive approach to business, the emirate is looking to expand and diversify its economic partnerships, leveraging Expo 2020 Dubai as the main platform to accomplish this goal.


It is in this spirit that we’re bringing the world together – not only by connecting the global business community, but also in Dubai’s hosting of Expo 2020, which takes place from October this year through to March 2022 and which Dubai Chamber is supporting as the Official Business Integration Partner. The Expo is a meeting of minds and a major attraction that will see countries and companies from around the world showcase their innovations, with the mega event’s programme built around people and planet – themes that link closely to the G20’s 2021 agenda.

Another landmark event positioning Dubai as a global innovation hub is the 12th World Chambers Congress in Dubai. The Congress is the largest event of its kind, bringing together chamber leaders to discuss and explore new ways that chambers of commerce can leverage technology and foster innovation as they look to meet the changing needs of their digital-savvy members.


The evolution in the business world is mirrored in the UAE’s development. Fifty new projects and initiatives are planned, with many of the 13 recently announced connected to economy 4.0. DH5 billion has been earmarked to fund advanced technology adoption, while the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network aims to grow 500 national companies through the application of such technologies over five years. PyCon MEA, the biggest programming summit in the Middle East, aims to connect coders with the public and private sectors, and to develop digital talent and creative programming projects, plus there’s the 100 Coders Every Day initiative, whose goal is to increase the number of coders from 64,000 to 100,000 in one year and support the establishment of programming companies through incentives and benefits.

As Dubai pushes ahead with its innovation mission, it will continue to look outwards as it doubles down on efforts to attract leading companies and specialised talent from around the world that can accelerate the growth of its digital economy. Attracting FDI is a major component of future plans, and the Emirates Investment Summit, scheduled for next spring, will connect investment funds with the public and private sectors to create investment opportunities that attract Dh550 billion of inward foreign direct investment to the UAE over the next nine years.

The G20 – and the world – is intent on rebuilding differently. Dubai, with its history of innovation and its status as a pioneer of global business, is committed to joining the group in realising this ambition.