Full praise to the leaders of the UAE for the foresight of diverting from oil dependance to grow their economy – and host the first Expo in the Arab world. The Dubai Expo 2020 will further increase non-oil commerce in the Gulf region. Expo 2020 will generate nearly $20 billion … what an achievement. Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, said that Dubai Expo 2020 would further accelerate the non-oil diversification drive in the country and generate an economic impact worth $19.6 billion until 2021. Opening the Summit on the Global Agenda being organised by the World Economic Forum, Al Mansouri said the first Expo to be hosted in the Arab world would generate an economic impact worth approximately $19.6 billion between now and 2021. “Much of this value is expected to be retained within the region,” he said. The minister was speaking to thought leaders, opinion makers, executives and member of civil society, who are attending the eighth Summit on the Global Agenda. The inaugural session was attended by Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Presidential Affairs; and Shaikh Hamid bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chairman of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court and managing director of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority; besides ministers and government officials. Al Mansouri said the Expo 2020 theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating The Future’ echoes the powerful sprit of partnership and cooperation that has driven the UAE’s success in pioneering new paths of development and innovation. The minister said the UAE aspires to be among the most innovative societies by 2030 when five per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) will be derived from innovation or a knowledge-based economy. To achieve that, long-term investments are being made in nurturing globally competitive, world-class human capital, the minister said. Currently in phase one, the National Innovation Strategy has been devised. It comprises 30 initiatives to be completed in three years that include new laws, investment in specialised skills, private sector incentives and international research partnerships. Earlier in the year, Shaikh Mansour had outlined a seven-point education scheme to foster a love of research and innovation at a very young age, particularly in the Stem subjects. Recently, a professional development programme in public sector innovation has been launched in cooperation with the Cambridge Judge Business School to offer a diploma in government innovation. Upon completion, a new post of CEO of Innovation will be created in all federal government entities. This investment is integral to achieving the UAE Vision 2021, an ambitious economic roadmap to ensure that the non-oil economy contributes 80 per cent of GDP by 2021, the minister said. “We are well on our way, with non-oil contribution making up 69 per cent of the GDP in 2014,” Al Mansouri added. In addition, the knowledge-based economy will also ensure that the UAE remains at the forefront of key sectors such as renewable energy, transport, education, healthcare, technology, water and space.

THANKS to Khaleej Times and photographer Nezar Balout for using their pictures of Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri who opened the Summit on the Global Agenda — organised by the World Economic Forum in Abu Dhabi last Monday.