Focus Areas

Innovating for a Knowledge-Driven Economy



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The United Arab Emirates has quickly become one of the leading tech and innovation hubs in the Middle East. Fueled by goals to diversify the U.A.E. economy away from oil, leaders in Dubai and Abu Dhabi have taken meaningful steps to foster a knowledge-based, technology-driven economy of the future.

Among these measures, the U.A.E. appointed a Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence (now Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy, and Remote Work Applications) to strategically incorporate AI across the country’s government and economy. The U.A.E. also created a number of other far-sighted institutions – such as Smart Dubai, the Dubai Future Foundation, and Abu Dhabi Digital Authority – designed to harness the capabilities of new technologies.

Within this environment, prominent U.S. companies—including Amazon, Cisco, Facebook, Google, HPE, IBM, Microsoft, and VMware —are collaborating with Emirati public and private sector stakeholders on initiatives designed to accelerate innovation and the adoption of AI, blockchain, 3D printing, robotics, cloud computing, and digitization across the U.A.E. Additionally, Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Mubadala, and Dubai Future Foundation are supporting tech startups operating in the U.A.E. by providing access to capital, workspace, and mentorship.

The U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council has played an active role in promoting partnerships between the U.S. and the U.A.E. in the technology sector. The Council has led two delegations of high-level U.S. executives on Department of Commerce-certified tech missions to the U.A.E., convened meaningful discussions for U.S. industry representatives with the U.A.E. Minister of State for AI and U.A.E. Minister of State for Advanced Technology. Moreover, the Business Council has engaged with leadership from the Dubai Future Foundation, Smart Dubai, and other Emirati organizations and held discussions on the future of communications technology, big data, digital transformation, and Abu Dhabi’s tech ecosystem through events and webinars.

The U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council has also supported tech startups in their efforts to establish operations in the U.A.E. by brokering cross-border connections and providing critical information through reports such as its Entrepreneurial Emirates Report. At the same time, it has supported U.A.E. investments in the U.S. tech sector, including through Mubadala Venture’s new office in Silicon Valley, and highlighted U.S.-U.A.E. collaboration in tech through a special series of reports covering fintech, medtech, smart mobility, advanced manufacturing, and agtech.

Importantly, the Business Council is an active supporter of robust discussion surrounding data localization and privacy issues. In line with these objectives, the Business Council launched a Digital Domain Task Force in 2021, which has allowed member companies to raise concerns and best practices with U.S. and U.A.E. policymakers surrounding data policy. This Task Force builds on the Council’s longstanding work on creating platforms for its members to discuss U.A.E. data localization regulations with U.S. and U.A.E. government officials.

As technological innovation continues to introduce new opportunities for U.S.-U.A.E. collaboration, the Business Council looks forward to supporting member companies by providing access to decision-makers and promoting continued dialogue.

Key Institutions