The Middle East region brought in $1.73 billion in investments across 354 agreements in the first half of 2022, an increase of 64 percent increase from the last year. According to the country’s Ministry of Economy, the UAE raised 46% among the venture capitals in the Middle East and Africa in 2021.
By establishing the Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park in 2016 to serve as an incubator for businesses in a range of sectors, including water management, renewable energy, transportation, manufacturing, and agriculture, UAE started concentrating on its goal of becoming a tech and startup hub very early.
Some of the more recent technologies coming out of the UAE include the region intending to invest $800 million in a fund to support space endeavors. UAE also recently established the “world’s largest vertical farm” and invested significantly in the local prop-tech startup, Huspy.
In 2017, UAE established a ministry of artificial intelligence where H.E Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, who previously worked in the banking and telecommunications sector, was appointed for this role.
According to an interview by H.E Al Olama to TechCrunch, Al Olama is eager to welcome new venture capital and regional investments. According to Al Olama, the UAE continues to receive the largest share of assets despite other regions in the area having more significant population density or larger markets. This proves that the startup boom that began a few years ago is only growing more substantially.
A set of advantages that H.E Al Olama believes has made UAE so successful is not only being tax-free but also being one of the top financial centers significant benefit is that due to the openness of the legal system in the UAE, many investors feel more secure investing in businesses there. They also have a great smartphone penetration rate, where the infrastructure is pretty sophisticated in terms of the condition of the roads and the use of cell phones.
For someone to move to the UAE, Al Olama mentions majority of the time when applying to other countries, obtaining a visa is difficult. In UAE however, you can get a long-term residence or a permanent residency straight away if you are talented and work primarily in the digital sector, on which they place a lot of emphasis. Another point is that you may launch your business in a single day without any restrictions. Third, several programs are available, including government contracts, incubators, and accelerators.
H.E Al Olama firmly believes that the primary driver of AI is quality of life, not an economic benefit. His ultimate goal is to build a responsible Artificial Intelligence region, that serves useful for both the present and the future.