Interview: Tariq Bin Hendi
What has been done to ensure continued investment in the long run, while minimising the impact of economic volatility cycles?
TARIQ BIN HENDI: Abu Dhabi has for years prioritised preparing itself for a variety of different scenarios and stands in good stead to weather volatility. Part of this has been the long-running drive to bring investment into the emirate, with the local government taking a proactive approach to drive financing into infrastructure and high-potential sectors of the economy. These efforts have been key in mitigating the effects of the current global uncertainty.
Public and private sector stakeholders in Abu Dhabi are extensively connected to each other. This facilitates communication and cooperation, and there has been a significant emphasis placed on technology across all sectors of the economy. Local companies have adapted rapidly to new technologies, making the economy more resilient and flexible.
ADIO has engaged with members of the private sector, both local and foreign, to facilitate companies’ establishment of operations here. ADIO has aligned itself with the emirate’s needs to attract more firms and investment. Collaboration with the private sector has been key to this, as working with these entities ensures long-term and sustainable growth, enables innovation, creates opportunities, and boosts local research and development (R&D). This has made our economy more resilient and robust.
Where do you see an opportunity for R&D to help the emirate be a leader in technology?
BIN HENDI: Agriculture technology (ag-tech) is a priority for us, and R&D has been key in its development. We have thoroughly analysed how to grow the sector here, from how to foster local human capital to how to expand local intellectual property. The goal of these efforts is to find solutions to the complex agriculture challenges that affect the world, and in doing so, make Abu Dhabi a centre for R&D. This will ensure not only that our ag-tech sector grows, but also that the technologies and other breakthroughs we make are applied globally.
Abu Dhabi has several advantages for companies in the field. Ag-tech firms are testing their technologies in the emirate because the right infrastructure is in place. Additionally, the will to collaborate among these firms has deepened significantly, creating a unified R&D ecosystem in which challenges are tackled by all in the name of the common good.
In what ways is Abu Dhabi facilitating the creation and consolidation of technology companies?
BIN HENDI: ADIO and Abu Dhabi as a whole are looking to adapt and incorporate technology as much as possible across all sectors of the economy. To do so, we have sought solutions, and supported companies that want to first test their ideas in Abu Dhabi and eventually expand their operations both at home and abroad. Abu Dhabi must remain at the forefront of the adoption of technology, and as such the emirate has prioritised start-ups. The unified approach has included entities such as the Abu Dhabi Global Market’s RegLab and Hub71.
Abu Dhabi not only offers start-ups and established tech companies access to capital, but also a holistic ecosystem that will help them grow and work with both government departments and the private sector. ADIO has been central in this, acting as a catalyst and one-stop shop where all their requirements can be met. This makes it much more appealing for tech companies to be based here.
The entrepreneurial culture is rapidly evolving in Abu Dhabi, a culture in which failure can turn into knowledge and innovation. This spirit is encouraged, as we are looking not only for the next disruptive idea, but also for the next constructive technology that can help companies become more productive.
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