Sultan Al Jaber emphasizes the importance of GCC cooperation to enhance the performance of the region’s industrial sector

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Abu Dhabi-UAE: His Excellency Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, expressed the UAE’s desire to deepen cooperation, coordination and knowledge exchange in support of the GCC’s economy, especially in the efforts to integrate advanced technology, innovation and 4IR technologies into its industrial sector. His Excellency Dr. Al Jaber also commended the cooperation between GCC countries as they prepared for a post-pandemic world, which ought to remain a top priority for joint Gulf action in the upcoming period.

His Excellency’s remarks came during the 48th meeting of the GCC Industrial Cooperation Committee in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The delegates noted that the industrial sector will be a key focus due to its significance to economic diversification, particularly the sectors that incorporate advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT). The discussions also focused on the development of regulations, policies and laws, and the support for local products.

His Excellency Dr. Sultan Al Jaber said: “In line with the directives of our wise leadership, we always seek to enhance cooperation and coordination with our brothers in the GCC to achieve mutually beneficial results. There are positive signs for the growth of the GCC’s industrial sector by supporting innovation and the adoption of advanced technology applications and 4IR solutions, especially in joint industrial projects. Also, coordinated efforts in priority industrial sectors will enhance their overall performance and global competitiveness.”

His Excellency explained that the national efforts to develop the UAE’s industrial sector through the UAE Industry 4.0 program are designed to increase industrial productivity by 30% and add AED25 billion to the GDP in the next 10 years. The program is a key pillar of UAE’s national industrial strategy, Operation 300Bn, which is in line with the “Projects of the 50” initiative that will chart the next 50 years of growth and development in the UAE. The strategy will enhance the nation’s position as an incubator of innovative ideas and future industries.

His Excellency pointed out that the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated efforts to improve collaboration across the GCC and develop future strategies. This comes in parallel with current efforts to update the GCC Unified Industrial Strategy document in a way that enhances industrial integration, accelerates the development and implementation of programs in strategic industries, and utilizes each country’s strengths.

Future opportunities

His Excellency expressed his hope for more coordination between member states in the pursuit of common interests, especially in the areas of knowledge exchange, training, and research and development. His Excellency also noted the available capabilities in the GCC that support increased trade exchange between member states, just as they have encouraged the private sector to increase its breadth of production, especially in light of the opportunities presented by the applications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

His Excellency explained that achieving comprehensive industrial development in the GCC states will reflect in enhanced production efficiencies and higher quality outputs. It will also have positive social effects, from enhancing safety and security to improving services, developing economic opportunities, and increasing the sector’s contribution to GDP, as well as promoting investment opportunities in priority industrial sectors.

The agenda

The meeting’s agenda included defining a set of Gulf priorities in a post-Covid world, with the industrial sector being key to economic diversification, focusing on technology-dependent industries, developing joint systems and policies for the industrial sector – including supporting innovation centers and encouraging the establishment of joint industrial projects – and supporting local products by giving them priority in government procurement procedures.

The meeting also included an agreement to issue Gulf regulations and programs that contribute to the expansion of national projects that add value to members’ economies, develop future plans for manufacturing during health pandemics, enhance cooperation between Gulf government entities related to industry, and to exchange experiences, information and training.

Within the same context, last week witnessed the holding of the 40th preparatory meeting for the Undersecretaries of the Ministries of Industry at the headquarters of the General Secretariat of the Gulf Cooperation Council, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The attendees were briefed on the vision to strengthen joint Gulf action. Their recommendations included joining the Gulf Organization for Industrial Consulting as a member of the Industrial Development Committee, and for the topic of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” to the Gulf Organization for Industrial Consulting to be considered for inclusion in the updated Unified Industrial Strategy.

The committee also agreed on a framework for enhancing the role of the industrial sector in GCC to promote industrial development at national and Gulf levels.