Dubai receives high innovation rating for recent efforts

Published on 18 Dec, 2016

To visitors in downtown Dubai, the results of rapid innovation are evident: smart city infrastructure blinks behind glass windows. On central Mohammad Bin Rashid Boulevard, free driverless cars patrol the streets, ready to give pedestrians a lift. Moreover, the city is enjoying positive attention for its many efforts to lead the charge in modernization and futuristic progress. A report from Emirates News Agency shows a city ranking of 16th out of the 28 most innovative cities around the world, according to an Innovation Index created by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Price Waterhouse Coopers. 

The index gives Dubai an innovation rate of 39.14 percent. Officials cited proactive leadership in many technological areas, as well as collaboration with various other stakeholders to foster real results. Another report finding shows that Dubai scored “above average” for government -- which, researchers suggest, indicates that Dubai leaders are creating a good environment for startups and innovation. While the report is largely positive about Dubai's achievements, it also promotes the idea of additional changes in regulation and business policy -- in order to keep moving the bar forward and establishing great advances as a city.

The index also identifies the sectors in which most innovative growth has occurred: health care, media, marketing and retail, among others. Many recent reports show Dubai’s leadership pursuing incremental progress in each category, such as renovating the company’s national health care system to make the UAE and the city of Dubai a better place to get medical services. “Dubai was the first to launch an ambitious vision to become the world’s most innovative cities under the support and guidance of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,” Majid Al Ghurair, chairman at the Dubai Chamber, said in a press statement. “Thankfully, under its wise leadership, Dubai is one of the leading innovation destinations in the world today.” When asked about the initiatives that have helped Dubai climb toward the top of the class, many will talk about things like the Dubai Innovation Fund, downtown Innovation Labs, and the city’s Science Park, as well as various other big changes to the downtown area. 

Samia Hazuria, assistant manager of investment research and analytics at Aranca, told the Gulf News Journal Friday that the Dubai Innovation Index only underscores what was already established in international research. “The UAE leads its Arab counterparts in terms of its efforts to promote innovation,” Hazuria said. “Following the launch of National Innovation Strategy in 2014, the UAE made significant progress toward its goal of becoming one of the top 10 innovative nations in the world by 2021.” Hazuria pointed out that Dubai currently ranks 41st on the global innovation index, climbing five places since 2014. “We believe that an environment conducive to innovation will not only lead to a sustainable and competitive economy in the long run, but also foster greater entrepreneurial and free thinking, job creation and productivity gains along the way,” she said. The environment, Hazuria said, is key to achieving the kinds of big gains that Dubai officials are looking for. “In our view, Dubai remains a lucrative destination for innovation-led investments, primarily driven by a high level of government support, business-friendly regulations and zero-tax policy,” she said.

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