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30 November 2023

Ahmed bin Saeed opens Fifth AccessAbilities Expo


The fifth edition of AccessAbilities Expo, the largest event for people of determination in the Middle East, South Asia and Africa, opened today at the Dubai World Trade Centre with a call to action for developing social inclusion policies and tapping the latest assisted technologies to help people of determination lead a fulfilling and independent life.

H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, opened the event, which has attracted the participation of 250 international exhibitors, brands and rehabilitation centres from more than 50 countries.
The largest accessibility technology-focused forum in the Middle East, Africa and the Indian subcontinent is expected to bring together about 12,000 people of determination from 22 countries in the Middle East. Showcased at the three-day event is an extensive range of about 4,500 assistive technologies designed to mitigate the diverse challenges faced by people of determination.
During his tour of the exhibition, His Highness was briefed on the latest assistive technologies and initiatives contributing to enhancing quality of life for more than 50 million people of determination in the Middle East.
H.H. Sheikh Ahmed, who is also the Patron of AccessAbilities Expo, said: "The UAE is committed to strengthening its position as one of the world's leading countries in the care of people of determination, and an emerging global hub for assistive technologies and rehabilitation programmes.”
He described the AccessAbilities Expo as a unique international forum for people of determination to gather as a community to share experiences and exchange ideas on building an inclusive society. The Expo’s objectives are aligned with Dubai's aspirations to become an inclusive city and a global tourist destination, His Highness noted.
Delegates at the event praised the UAE for helping connect minds and fostering international cooperation to inspire innovative solutions for people of determination. Experts concurred that the UAE has set an example for the world with its unstinting support for people of determination and its efforts to offer them the best technological aids to live independently.
Shamma bint Suhail Faris Al Mazrui, UAE Minister of Community Development, said: “Hosting the event in Dubai further raises the UAE’s profile as a place for connecting minds and discussing ideas to build a better future for all segments of society. The event is a wonderful opportunity to foster international cooperation to advance new technologies and innovations for the benefit of people of determination.”
Al Mazrui added: “We hope that the Expo will help accelerate local, regional and international efforts to provide supportive environments for people of determination through the exchange of expertise on making people of determination more independent and well integrated in their communities.”
Mattar Al Tayer, Director General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), said the UAE is keen to provide the best services and facilities for people of determination to help them enjoy a high quality of life, foster their full integration into the community and ensure access to equal opportunities.
“RTA is among the leading government authorities in terms of empowering and enhancing the wellbeing of people of determination. Since its inception, it has worked diligently to translate the directives of our leadership to make Dubai one of the world’s friendliest cities for people of determination, by providing world-class services and facilities for people of determination. Dubai has also made sure that all infrastructure projects and facilities, especially means of public transport, are accessible to people of determination, in line with its commitment to implementing Federal Law No. 29 of 2006 regarding the rights of people of determination.”
Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of DEWA, said: “The UAE is a leading country in integrating people of determination into society and providing them with a flexible environment to channel their energies and prove their capabilities. At the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), we are committed to contributing to realising the vision of the leadership to empower people of determination. These efforts are aligned with the National Policy to Empower People of Determination, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. This policy aims to create a society that ensures empowerment and a decent life for people of determination. DEWA also supports the ‘My Community…A Place for Everyone’ initiative launched by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council, to transform Dubai into one of the world’s friendliest cities for people of determination.”
Commenting on the participation of Dubai Municipality in the event, Dawoud Al Hajri, Director General, Dubai Municipality, said: “Our teams at Dubai Municipality provide the greatest attention and care to people of determination by placing them at the forefront of our strategic community initiatives. These initiatives are designed to include all essential aspects, from facilities to services, tailored to align with their abilities, enabling them to lead fulfilling lives and boost their active participation in community development.
“Within this framework, Dubai Municipality has made significant strides in its efforts to support and empower people of determination, facilitating their seamless integration into society. This has been accomplished through the implementation of accessibility specifications and standards in a wide range of facilities throughout Dubai, ensuring that they are user-friendly for people of determination. Furthermore, comprehensive assistance is provided to people of determination at public parks, recreational facilities, beaches, streets, markets and service buildings across the emirate, to meet their needs and ensure their comfort. We have also created opportunities for people of determination to become part of our workforce, offering them a diverse array of administrative positions tailored to their specific needs,” he added.
His Excellency Awad Seghayer Al Ketbi, Director General of the Dubai Health Authority, said: “The AccessAbilities Expo, in its organisation, mission and global goals, is consistent with the commitment of Dubai and the UAE to enhance the well-being of people of determination. The largest event of its kind in the Middle East, the Expo is aligned with Dubai’s vision for integrating people of determination into society and providing them with all opportunities to contribute to the development process, while also providing them the best integrated care systems.”
Al Ketbi stressed that the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum is instrumental to the event’s continued success and Dubai’s ability to leave an indelible imprint on the sector globally.
Abdullah Abdul Ali Al Humaidan, Secretary-General of the Zayed Higher Organisation (ZHO) for People of Determination commended the organisation of the fifth edition of AccessAbilities Expo 2023 under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
Al Humaidan emphasised that the event is a dedicated forum for enhancing the lives of people of determination by showcasing the latest in the field of assistive technologies and robotics services from around the world. It also reflects the keenness of the UAE to advance inclusion and accessibility. “ZHO is keen to participate in this large international event due to the benefits it brings to people of determination,” he added.
Mishal Abdul Karim Julfar, Executive Director of Dubai Ambulance Services, said: “At Dubai Ambulance, we strive to translate the vision and directives of the leadership by harnessing all our capabilities to serve people of determination, and ensure they enjoy a high quality of life.”
Julfar added: “The current edition of the exhibition is seeing the launch of several of our pioneering innovations specifically designed to serve people of determination. One of these innovations is the ‘Sensory Ambulance,’ which was innovatively designed and implemented based on global best practices in services for people of determination. It is tailored to the target groups through special settings controlled by paramedics inside the ambulance cabin, depending on the nature and type of disability. This contributes to smooth communication between the paramedics and the patients in terms of cognitive and sensory aspects.”
Jaffar Dawood, dnata’s Senior Vice President, Airport Operations UAE and MEA, said: “We are delighted to support this year’s AccessAbilities Expo as a strategic partner. Dnata continually invests in people, infrastructure, training and advanced equipment, ensuring people of determination receive a smooth experience throughout their airport journey. This is demonstrated by our recent introduction of wheelchairs specifically designed for children, offering a better fit and making young travellers feel safer and more comfortable.
“Our dedicated team will continue its efforts to provide a best-in-class airport experience for passengers with special needs through innovative solutions,” he added.