The Economic Vision 2030 formalises the great ambition for Abu Dhabi to become a world-leading knowledge economy.
It sets as objectives the diversification of the national economic development, the rise of the emirate on the international scene, the mobilisation of the country's capital assets, and the recruitment of key international talents and brands.
The articulation of this strategy has been initiated across several sectors - aerospace, semiconductors, aluminium, information and communications technology, health care, clean technology, logistics and financial services - and in partnership with top research institutes and multinationals.
Abu Dhabi began its economic development to build its extraordinary success 40 years ago from a standing start.
Unlike other new emerging economies, it could not leverage on the scientific and technological power and heritage brought by established technical and scientific institutions.
However, thanks to its "clean sheet of paper" approach, Abu Dhabi can now access the global scene by tapping into the new industrial and technological revolution without a predetermined path, and is able to put in place the best operational plans in the most efficient way.
In such a globally competitive environment, Abu Dhabi will face multiple challenges.
These are mainly related to its positioning with other countries, to the roadmap linking the long-term 2030 vision to projects capable of guaranteeing economic development, and to the timely and efficient execution of operational plans.
Selecting the right opportunities, setting up the right priorities and relying on strong and reliable execution processes will be the essential elements to drive Abu Dhabi's future success.
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has recently published a thorough international study that identified the critical success factors, and measures for assessing the economic performance of "clusters".
These are specific geographic areas in the fields of knowledge-based bio-economies, characterised by a high concentration of jobs and industry players, and by a high level of education and research.
The PwC research produced policy recommendations to boost the development of these regions, along with a specific methodology validated by business, academics and policymakers to screen the five main pillars, or driving forces, for successful clusters (scientific, financial, industrial, cultural and supporting pillars).
These were assessed along five equally important dimensions: local assets, policies, future regulatory changes, benchmarking and performance.
This analysis was aimed at identifying the critical success factors in distinctive opportunities tailored to the local context. PwC reviewed 50 regions across the world, and selected the 16 most successful clusters for in-depth analysis.
Typically for every industry sector only two to three world-class clusters emerged. Even though not all clusters were at the same level of economic development, they all demonstrated the need to tackle the critical pillars along all dimensions.
PwC has developed an efficient and effective roadmap to assist in cluster development that has been endorsed and supported by strong engagement in the private sector.
Many clusters over-promised and under-delivered, and while appearing to have great vision and ambitions, actually had many weaknesses.
These included an excessively wide spectrum of focus areas; an insufficiently supportive regulatory framework and business environments; a lack of local leadership; a lack of funding; a lack of synergy between research, education and business environments; or an underdeveloped industrial local sector, mostly scarce in small and medium enterprises.
Abu Dhabi has the opportunity to emerge as a winning region. The path to success will necessitate the development of good plans and execution processes; identifying local leaders to carry them out and building up private-sector capabilities by attracting and retaining international talents and companies.
It will also necessitate ensuring appropriate funding; adopting a full-value chain approach capable of developing, nourishing and integrating the education, research, innovation and commercialisation steps; fostering the strength of a favourable environment through adoption of new regulations; and focusing on the fast adoption of new technologies.
Dr Erica Monfardini is a director for the life sciences and clustering sectors and Laurent Probst partner and global leader for the regional innovation cluster at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Luxembourg