Opportunities in the ICT sector in the UAE

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Tax exemption Free Zones that specialise in the ICT sector Commitment to developing key sub sectors. Smart Cities, Cloud Computing, Cyber Security, 5G, AI and IoT Leaders in the ICT Global Competitiveness Index in 2019 computing companies A key sector…

by | Dec 9, 2020 | 0 comments

  • Tax exemption Free Zones that specialise in the ICT sector
  • Commitment to developing key sub sectors. Smart Cities, Cloud Computing, Cyber Security, 5G, AI and IoT
  • Leaders in the ICT Global Competitiveness Index in 2019

computing companies

A key sector for the UAE

The UAE has identified the ICT sector as a key industry for the nation as they continue to reduce their dependence on oil revenue and grow the private sector. With a combination of UAE Vision 2021 and Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 the government has shown its intent on developing a pioneering national business infrastructure.

One of the primary prospect industries that are integral to achieving this vision is the ICT sector. The UAE government is heavily invested in the industry. This was transparent with the UAE being a prominent force at the ICT Global Competitiveness Index in 2019..

To expand on this vision, the UAE government has established several free trade zones, Dubai Media City, Dubai Internet City and Dubai Silicon Oasis. These free zones specialise in the ICT sector and act as industry clusters for high technology and innovation. Within these zones, firms are given 100% import and export tax exemptions, complete repatriation of capital and profits, and corporate tax exemptions for 50 years, on a renewable basis. computing companies

Some of the ICT trade free zones in the UAE include:

  • TwoFour54 (Abu Dhabi)
  • Dubai Studio City (Dubai)
  • Dubai Production City (Dubai)
  • International Media Production Zone (Dubai)
  • Dubai Outsource City (Dubai)
  • Sharjah Media City Free Zone (Sharjah)
  • Ajman Media Free Zone (Ajman)
  • Creative City (Fujairah) computing companies

With an already highly developed market for ICT products and services, the UAE is seeking to harness the transformative potential of digitalisation to facilitate government-to-government and government-to-citizen transactions and increase efficiency across a range of industries. The primary example of this technology is UAE SmartPass system which has created a digital framework for the operations of all government services and ministries.

Leading sub-sectors in the ICT industry

Smart Cities

Seen as a key initiative the UAE has made large investments into projects for smart cities. The prime example for this is Dubai, where the government has chosen to focus on 6 key areas; transport, communications, infrastructure, electricity, economic services, and urban planning. This is to be achieved through several initiatives and government services. Examples of these initiatives are the creation of public WI-Fi, electric car charging stations, live traffic monitoring, and an eWallet for the Roads and Transport Authority.

The most ambitious smart-city plan of the UAE is the creation of Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, an $18 billion planned city. Designed to run entirely on solar power, it will have many smart features, the city will implement policies aimed at zero waste, sustainable transport, building energy efficiency standards, biodiversity strategy policies, and renewable energy requirements. computing companies

Cloud Computing

UAE has increased the size of the cloud computing industry. A forecast of creating over 32,000 jobs and $411 million in yearly expenditure on public cloud services. By 2020 the UAE has become the region’s most significant player.  

The Government Information Authority (GIA) is developing cloud technology to be used by federal government entities in the UAE, and the services it offers include electronic hosting, file management and database systems, intranet portals, email and meeting management systems. The SmartPass service currently allows citizens to conduct their affairs with four federal government departments, with plans to connect more government agencies. With a clear intent of future investments by the government in cloud computing, along with the UAE’s competitive business laws and a strong technological infrastructure the sector is forecasted to continue expanding in the years ahead. computing companies

Cybersecurity

With the UAE’s geopolitical position and importance to the world economy the UAE is highly vulnerable to cyber-attacks. In response to a record number of malware incidents among customers in the GCC the UAE government introduced the UAE Information Assurance Standards (UAE IAS) which are a set of guidelines for government entities in critical sectors. Compliance with these standards is mandatory for all government organizations and businesses that are identified as critical infrastructure in the UAE. Several local players have been developing cybersecurity capabilities to capitalise on the rising demand. International IT security firms are increasing their presence within the country. With leading technology experts stating that the number one priority for UAE firms remains cybersecurity, the market is expected to continue expanding. computing companies

5G

The UAE is the first country in the Middle East and fourth globally to launch its 5G network. The current 5G coverage has now reached 80% of the UAE cities, these include Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Expo 2020 venues serve as test sites for the network. With the UAE being at the forefront of technological advance and given its strong GDP per capita, demand for 5G services is predicted to be strong over the next five years.

Artificial Intelligence

AI is forecast to contribute to almost 14% of the UAE’s national GDP by 2030 ($96 billion). The UAE AI Strategy 2031 was launched to improve efficiency in a number of sectors. These include transport, traffic, health, aviation, renewable energy, water, technology, education, environment, and space technology.

The nation has already begun integrating AI within the education, healthcare, and aviation sectors. Examples of this include AI in digital education platforms across numerous schools in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, the use of robotics and AI to automate surgeries and other procedures, and the UAE’s aviation authority has signed an agreement to explore the use of AI in air traffic management.

Internet of Things (IoT)

The UAE has emerged as a leading global location for the deployment of IoT solutions to enhance public infrastructure. Dubai leads the way in its continued strive to become the top smart city. Multiple sectors have already started cooperating these include ICT, transportation, power, infrastructure, healthcare, and government. The UAE government is committed to developing IoT across the nation and spending on the sub sector is estimated to exceed $37 billion by 2020, with a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 31%.

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Sources:

https://u.ae/en/about-the-uae/science-and-technology/key-sectors-in-science-and-technology/information-and-communication-technology

https://www.tra.gov.ae/en/media-hub/press-releases/2019/10/17/the-uae-ict-sector-achieves-significant-progress.aspx

https://www.trade.gov/knowledge-product/united-arab-emirates-information-and-telecommunications

https://oxfordbusinessgroup.com/overview/smart-cookie-innovative-ict-solutions-are-set-cut-costs-and-transform-government-services

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