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The UAE Space Agency, in partnership with the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre, announced the findings of the 2021 Space Economic Survey. This survey aimed to measure the performance of the national space sector, support its growth, and reinforce the UAE's position as a leading global hub for attracting talent, investment, and innovation.
The announcement was made in the presence of Sarah Al Amiri, Chairperson of UAE Space Agency, and Hanan Al Ahli, Director of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre.
The 2023 Space Economic Survey 2023 was also launched to measure the space sector’s contribution to the national economy, and provide a clear overview of this strategic and pioneering sector. The UAE Space Agency called on its strategic partners, entities, and companies operating in the national space sector to participate in this survey, and contribute to achieving its objectives and strengthening national capabilities.
The survey highlighted that the total spending in the UAE's space sector witnessed a 6.61 percent increase compared to the previous year. Government spending accounted for 55.7 percent of the total spending, marking a 12.7 percent increase year-on-year, while commercial expenditure made up 44.3 percent of the total.
In terms of research and development (R&D) spending, the survey showed a 14.8 percent increase, with R&D for space exploration accounting for 76.8 percent of the total. Emirati nationals comprise 38.5 percent of the space sector workforce. Additionally, the survey revealed that 59.2 percent of the employees in the UAE's space sector are Emirati youth.
The survey also demonstrated that 54.4 percent of the entities benefiting from the services and applications provided by space-related organisations were based in the UAE. The communications sector was the biggest beneficiary, followed by other sectors such as security, education, tourism, and entertainment. Furthermore, the survey revealed an 83.6 percent increase in scientific publications.
Al Amiri said, “The UAE government is prioritising the space sector for the next 50 years, following the vision of our wise leadership. With innovative plans and initiatives, we aim to become one of the world's leading developers of space technologies. The national space projects we undertake reflect our commitment to promoting global efforts to develop the industry.”
In addition to the significant developments and investments in the space sector, she highlighted the UAE's support for space small and medium-sized enterprises to boost the national space economy.
Al Amiri concluded, “The 2023 Space Economic Survey will play a significant role in evaluating our future economic opportunities, and will give us a comprehensive vision to make decisions based on scientific foundations to design future plans and strategies in an accurate, systematic and scientific manner, in addition to setting a roadmap for sustainable development. In cooperation with our strategic partners, we aim to utilise the resources available in the national space sector, to support the UAE leadership’s ambitions to continue developing this strategic sector."
Salem Butti Salem Al Qubaisi, Director-General of the UAE Space Agency, stated, “The 2021 Space Economic Survey offers a scientific base to build upon and develop the space sector, its national human resources, and investments. The government is committed to further developing the sector through various strategies and plans while building national organisations and human capital capabilities to establish the UAE as a leading global destination for talents, innovators, and investments.”
He continued, “As one of the leaders in the space industry, the UAE understands the importance of this field and strives to utilise the latest statistical and data analysis methodologies to support its vision, comprehensive future, and development plans to achieve development in all its fields.”
For her part, Hanan Al Ahli said, “The survey provides important data on the UAE’s space industry for decision-makers, investors, researchers, and institutions working in the field of space. It supports decision-making, policies, development and sustainability of the space economy, and investments in the national knowledge-based industry.”
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