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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 October 2018

How a focus on science can help the economy grow

Dubai can be a key destination for research and development and manufacturing
Science-related sectors in Dubai, such as healthcare and renewable energy, have the potential to create significant numbers of jobs in the future. Satish Kumar / The National
Science-related sectors in Dubai, such as healthcare and renewable energy, have the potential to create significant numbers of jobs in the future. Satish Kumar / The National

Around the world, job creation is at the very core of any thriving, sustainable economy. It is an engine for development. Creating and nurturing a healthy job market that caters to all layers of society is key to economic success and fosters creativity, productivity and happiness. The UAE remains no exception to this rule.

This country has created a business environment that attracts a broad array of investors, businesses and high-skilled professionals from around the world. As a result, over the past few decades, Dubai has grown into a destination of choice for entrepreneurs, start-ups, small and medium enterprises and, generally, those eager to conduct business in the region and to tap into the possibilities offered by neighbouring markets.

Today the UAE ranks as the only country in the region to find its place among the world’s top 10 countries in terms of competitiveness and ease of doing business, a recent report by the IMD World Competitiveness Centre in Switzerland found.

In order to retain this competitive edge, the Government and the private sector have realised the need to join forces.

Only a collaborative approach can provide a business environment that is second to none in the region.

And while the Government remains committed to paving the way by setting the regulatory framework, a concerted effort needs to be made by the local business community to provide the necessary infrastructure and incentives for businesses to start hiring people.

The establishment of sector specific business communities has been an important stepping stone for Dubai to bridge the gap between businesses versus Government expectations.

Although these communities now serve as key enablers, ambitious initiatives such as the Dubai Industrial Strategy, which is forecast to boost the UAE economy by billions of dirhams and to create 27,000 new jobs by 2030, is needed to build the cornerstones of the transformation towards a knowledge-based, innovation-led and sustainable industry hub, that is able to create thousands of new jobs here in the UAE.

Science-related sectors, such as healthcare, renewable energy and agriculture are among the most promising sectors, and are therefore most likely to create job opportunities.

The healthcare sector, for example, is projected to grow by 60 per cent in the next four years, as international healthcare firms seek to expand their operations in the UAE.

Take the example of alternative energy, the government plans to increase investment by nearly Dh600bn ($163 billion) to raise the share of clean energy consumption from 25 per cent to 50 per cent by 2050.

These investments are expected to add a considerable number of jobs to the UAE economy.

Today, Dubai Science Park caters to the entire science sector, and by doing so, strengthens the position of Dubai as a destination for companies, R&D and manufacturing.

This vibrant community counts more than 350 companies that already benefit from a world-class infrastructure that was specifically designed for the needs of the science, energy and environment sectors. This community shows that the model works and has, thus far, added hundreds of jobs to the UAE economy.

At Dubai Science Park, we believe that it lies within our mandate to avoid a mismatch between job creation and available talent.

Part of this approach means that we encourage early career development and engage youth early on. We help bridge the gap between our business partners and academia, with our annual career fair, being an example of how we bring together talented students in the field of science with established industry leaders.

We are committed to having a positive impact on the UAE’s economy by further facilitating the growth of the science sector as well as the creation of jobs.

Marwan Abdulaziz Janahi is executive director of Dubai Science Park​