Industrial strategy to make Dubai a unique investment destination

Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, has directed the Dubai Industrial Strategy to be implemented expeditiously in order to ensure that Dubai becomes the main axis of the global economy.

Shaikh Hamdan instructed that the implementation of the strategy should commence with the beginning of 2017, and directed all the teams involved to join hands to drive the implementation.

The Dubai Industrial Strategy was launched by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to elevate Dubai into a global platform for knowledge-based, sustainable and innovation-focused industries.

Shaikh Hamdan said: “Strengthening creativity and innovation in various industrial areas is one of the key elements of the Dubai Industrial Strategy, which is in line with our quest to consolidate the foundations of a sustainable dynamic economy based on research, knowledge and development. This can help achieve the goal of making Dubai a unique investment destination, especially as we already have the basic drivers and capabilities needed to achieve such a goal, including efficient and reliable infrastructure and legislative frameworks, which are continuously subject to improvement and development. All these elements will take the industrial sector into a new phase that is compatible with the aspirations and vision of our country to maximise the contributions of this vital sector in the post-oil era.”

The Crown Prince of Dubai stressed the need to intensify and unify the efforts of all government departments and entities involved in the implementation of the Dubai Industrial Strategy, in the light of the clear government operational plan. The plan, set by Shaikh Mohammed, aims to strengthen the foundations of teamwork, to stimulate positive energy, and to open the way for innovative ideas and suggestions that will accelerate the achievement of the strategy’s objectives; it will also serve the overall development directives in the state, and assist the continuous development of Dubai’s economic capabilities and the policy of diversifying income sources.

Dubai as a global economic hub

The General Secretariat of the Executive Council has confirmed that it has immediately begun to implement the directives by organising a series of meetings and workshops with the entities executing the objectives of the Dubai Industrial Strategy, which focuses on enhancing industrial coherence and integration with other economic sectors – linking the target sectors to education and research institutions with a view to stimulate innovation and creativity as well as creating an attractive investment environment for targeted strategic industries. The strategy is projected to increase Dubai’s total GDP by Dh165 billion by 2030.

Secretary General of the Executive Council of Dubai Abdullah Al Shaibani said: “The Dubai Industrial Strategy is an enabler of Dubai Plan 2021 as it helps Dubai continue its journey towards achieving leadership and enhance its position as a global economic hub and one of the world’s most promising and leading hubs in various sectors. Under the leadership of Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and the close follow-up on the part of Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council His Highness Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, working on developing the industrial and economic sectors will result in strengthening Dubai’s leading position globally to number one.”

He added: “The strategy entered the implementation phase in September 2016; six specialised work teams for all the targeted sub-sectors were formed and each team will follow-up the implementation process of the sector entrusted to it. These teams will work together with the support of a governmental working group and, being the representative of the Government of Dubai, will promote the plan when meeting investors. The teams will also launch a number of initiatives to drive the growth of the industrial sector in the next few months.”

Al Shaibani also pointed out that the members of these distinguished work teams were drawn from all stakeholders of the free and non-free zones both locally and federally, to ensure the involvement of all strategic partners in the industrial sector, especially in the private sector, in order to develop an ambitious strategy with practical and specific objectives and priorities. Everybody will be involved in implementing them and translating them into reality that will raise Dubai’s competitiveness to new levels.

Developing strategic objectives

The Dubai Industrial Strategy is based on five key objectives that will serve as the foundation for Dubai’s industrial future to build a sound and sustainable economy based on the diversification of sources of income as well as for preparing for a post-oil future. Strategic objectives aim to increase the total output and value-added of the manufacturing sector, to enhance the depth of knowledge and innovation by improving labour productivity and increasing R&D spending, to make Dubai a preferred manufacturing platform for global businesses by increasing the presence of global manufacturers in Dubai and supporting the global outreach of local companies.

The strategy also aims to promote environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient manufacturing by reducing energy consumption and manufacturing pollutants, and supporting the Green Economy Initiatives. Additionally, it promotes Dubai’s position as the Capital of Islamic Economy by adopting Islamic standards through developing the Islamic products’ manufacturing sector and increasing the number of halal certified manufacturing companies in Dubai.

Six work teams

The Dubai Industrial Strategy has further identified six priority sub-sectors from 2016 to 2030, namely: Aerospace, maritime, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment, aluminum and fabricated metals, food and beverages and machinery and equipment. Each sub-sector includes a number of initiatives to be developed by the executing entities. A number of executive teams were formed for each sub-sector to set the details and timeframes. All work teams are supported by the concerned entities such as Dubai’s Department of Economic Development (DED), Dubai Municipality, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) and Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.


The strategy focuses on the Emiratisation of the aerospace sub-sector by manufacturing spare parts for aircraft and providing maintenance and repair services to the large number of aircraft that land at the UAE’s airports, and becoming a global hub for aviation.

The crucially important aviation sector that supports the movement of passengers through Dubai Airports has achieved a compound annual growth rate of 11 per cent during the period from 2011 to 2014 to reach approximately 70 million. Emirates Airlines alone currently owns a fleet of 239 aircraft, and a further 269 have been ordered, making it the largest airline in the Middle East.

The work team of the aerospace sub-sector includes: Dubai South, Emirates Airlines, Dubai Wholesale City and Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (Jafza).


The Dubai Industrial Strategy focuses on the Emiratisation of the Maritime sub-sector with the help of Dubai’s prime position in the field of maritime maintenance and repair and its ability to expand its activities to attract more traffic to its facilities. It also outlined Dubai’s ability to foray into manufacturing and marketing yachts and boats to meet the tourism sector’s increasing demands.

The work team of the Maritime sub-sector includes Dubai Maritime City, Dubai Wholesale City, Dubai World and Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (Jafza).

Pharmaceuticals & medical equipment

In this sub-sector, the strategy will focus on manufacturing cosmeceuticals (cosmetics that are claimed to have medicinal properties) to benefit from the growth of this niche market – particularly given the increasing demand for halal cosmeceuticals which will strengthen the role Dubai plays in promoting the Islamic Economy. It also aims to make Dubai a major exporter of cosmeceuticals in the Middle East.

The work team of this sub-sector includes Dubai Science Park, Dubai Healthcare City, Dubai Wholesale City, Dubai Investments and Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (Jafza).

Aluminium & fabricated metals

Dubai is one of the world’s leading producers of aluminium. While this leading position is based on the manufacturing of (upstream) primary products, the strategy will aim to enhance the emirate’s competitiveness and expand its production base to include (downstream) finished products. The downstream activities (i.e. the final aluminium products industry) will further enhance the global reach of domestic producers and attract players from the international auto and aerospace industry.

The work team of this sub-sector includes Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (Jafza), Dubai Investments, Dubai Wholesale City and Dubal.

Food & Beverages and FMCG

The Dubai Industrial Strategy outlines Dubai’s capabilities and vital role in the food and consumable goods industry. It also aims to leverage the growing demand for halal products to enhance Dubai’s position as the Capital of the Islamic Economy and expand local manufacturing capabilities for producing high quality halal products.

The work team of this sub-sector includes Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (Jafza) and Dubai Wholesale City with the participation of Dubai Investments and Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre.

Machinery & equipment

The machinery and equipment sub-sector represents 25 per cent of the overall industrial sector in Dubai. This sub-sector is highly significant and its competitiveness must be maintained, given its lucrative investment and profitability opportunities, due to the high demand for construction machinery and equipment.

The work team of this sub-sector includes Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (Jafza), Dubai Wholesale City and Dubai Investments.

Sustainable and innovation-focused industries

The Dubai Industrial Strategy is one of the targeted strategic programmes of the Dubai Plan 2021. To achieve this strategy, the Economic Development Committee has recommended the formation of a work team chaired by Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates airline and Group. This team is co-chaired by Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (Jafza) and Dubai Industrial City, with the support of the General Secretariat of the Executive Council. The strategy aims to develop an industrial sector based on knowledge and innovation to enhance the competitiveness and sustainability of these sectors in Dubai and across its free zones.

It will have a significant impact on Dubai’s economy in the period leading to 2030. The expected impact includes: Dh160 billion forecasted increase in Dubai’s total GDP, Dh18 billion forecasted increase in GDP for the industrial sector, creation of more than 27,000 specialised jobs, increase in R&D expenditures by approximately Dh700 million and Dh16 billion forecasted increase in exports.

The implementation of the strategy will be overseen by the General Secretariat in coordination with work teams formed. It will provide support, guidance and consultation as well as review of developments and outcomes. It will also update senior leadership with progress and achievements.

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