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- Dubai 04:53 06:07 12:12 15:35 18:11 19:25
Haider Badri, CEO of the Dubai Development Authority, confirmed in an interview with Business Insider that Dubai's economic agenda D33 is working to enhance the emirate's position as a financial and innovative hub. The plan is to create 30 billion-dollar "unicorn" companies in Dubai over the next ten years," he said, noting that many Indian unicorn companies have already established businesses in Dubai, and efforts are underway to attract more of these companies.
A unicorn is a privately owned startup with a valuation of over $1 billion.
Badri stressed that "Dubai is looking to attract Indian technology companies, startups, and work with them."
In response to a question about the transformation of the United Arab Emirates, especially Dubai, as a startup hub, he said: "Artificial intelligence is a topic in every conversation today. However, the United Arab Emirates established the world's first and only Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence in 2017. We have achieved a lot in the past fifty years, but we are now looking to the next fifty years and the fifty years that follow."
He stressed the need for rapid adoption of new technologies and innovations, as blockchain technology is currently being used in everything that happens in virtual assets and cryptocurrencies. The Dubai Blockchain Strategy was launched in 2016, in addition to the establishment of the Dubai Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority, the world's first independent regulatory authority for virtual assets.
Attracting Indian companies
In response to a question about how the UAE attracts technology companies and startups, especially from India, he explained that Dubai's economic agenda D33 is looking to double Dubai's GDP over the next ten years, from 400 billion dirhams to 800 billion dirhams. It is an agenda to double the growth rate compared to the way we have grown historically.
He said: "In the future, the focus will be more on productivity. We want eight sectors to contribute more than 5% to Dubai's GDP. Historically, growth has come from only two or three sectors, and we want to seriously expand this area."
He added: "Indians make up almost a third of the population of the United Arab Emirates. About a third of the startup ecosystem in Dubai is Indian companies. Naturally, there is a cultural convergence and a comprehensive economic agreement signed between the two countries. Now that the UAE is part of BRICS, Indian companies, especially startups, have proven their productivity because they are adopting new technologies. Dubai wants to work with these innovative startups."
On the progress made in the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, Badri said: "The trade figures look good, up 30% from before the agreement. We actually see that it is possible to exceed the $100 billion target. The positive intention shown by each country and all stakeholders, such as increasing business and investment, indicates that the $100 billion target can be achieved, and perhaps early."
He continued: "While traditional sectors such as tourism, oil, energy, textiles and jewelry will continue to be strong sectors, there are new areas of cooperation, such as information technology. There are more than 80,000 Indian companies registered with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, of which 10,000 in 2022 alone."
Incentives to attract investors
On the type of incentives it offers to support startups and technology companies from India, he said: "I think the first incentive is the current ease of doing business for companies. As the Department of Economy and Tourism, we have a concierge service where we provide support to companies that want to come to Dubai and establish their businesses. We arrange their licenses and visas, especially long-term visas that allow them to bring their executives to Dubai and spend some time."
He added: "What this means is that if an investor from India wants to come and establish his business in Dubai, we will help him open his bank accounts, find offices and residential spaces, and even the best schools for his children and the children of his executives."
He stressed that "many Indian unicorn companies have already established businesses in Dubai, and we are looking for more of these companies."
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