Technology industry heavyweights have praised the role that Gitex Global x Ai Everything 2021 has played in delivering an unrivalled platform for the digital economy, and for creating the world’s largest in-person technology marketplace by achieving pre-pandemic levels of attendance.

The 41st edition of the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) technology showcase delivered an internatonally unsurpassed tech spectacle, serving as a global super-connector and driver of unique business opportunities through mass networking.

Gitex Global provided a unique international opportunity for tech companies of all sizes the chance to reconnect in person, with over 3,500 participating exhibitors — including 600 startups and over 120 government entities — in attendance from 140 countries.

As startups across the world redefine their approach to sustainability, DWTC announced that Gitex Future Stars, the Middle East and North Africa’s leading startup event, is being rebranded to North Star Dubai in a bid to put sustainability and delivering technology for good at the core of their strategy.

A wide range of announcements covering tech partnerships, ventures and accomplishments were made at Gitex Global, including Dubai Digital Authority’s announcement that the Dubai Paperless Strategy has accomplished 98.86 per cent of its objectives, which entail 43 government entities going entirely paperless.

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority unveiled technology that uses AI to ensure safer cycling tracks, while the Abu Dhabi Digital Authority announced partnerships with Huawei and Amazon Web Services (AWS) to drive its digital ambitions.

Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem, signed a partnership with AWS to provide tech startups with support to build scalable and secure cloud-based services that accelerate their growth.

Azimut, in partnership with Gellify Middle East, launched a Mena-focused VC Fund aiming at raising $50 million in capital for Smart City, healthcare, digital commerce, fintech, Industry 4.0 and tourism startups.

Fida Kibbi, vice-president and head of Marketing, Communications and Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility at Ericsson Middle East & Africa, said this year’s edition of Gitex Global has been remarkable.

“With travel restrictions easing globally, we have seen a large number of industry leaders from around the world showcasing the latest innovations in 5G, AI, and immersive technologies, paving the way for innovation in the Middle East. With the array of safety measures in place at Gitex, we have been able to productively interact with our visitors and seamlessly conduct a variety of immersive demonstrations at our stand,” Kibbi said.

Inass Faroukh, marketing director, Microsoft UAE, pointed to how this year’s event had rejuvenated the industry.

She said there is a genuine feeling of joy and rejuvenation to once again be in the midst of eager customers, spirited partners, and the newfound optimism behind the many technological advances and innovations impacting the future of growth and prosperity for the region.

“It has truly been a pleasure and a rewarding experience to have taken part in this year’s Gitex Global 2021 with so many influential factors primed to change the world for the better,” she added.

Gitex Global Leaders Vision

The first edition of Gitex Global Leaders Vision saw policymakers, innovation and investment agency heads from the Middle East and Africa outline their national plans and initiatives for a future driven by tech.

The conference heard from UAE ministers including Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Cabinet Member and Minister of Economy; Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications; and Sarah bint Yousef Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology.

African ministers speaking at the conference included Dr Amr S. Talaat, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Egypt; Dr Nizar Ben Neji, Minister of Communication Technologies, Tunisia and Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Ghana.

Shaima Al Zarooni, acting director of Marketing and Communications, Digital Dubai, said Gitex Global 2021 has once again proven to be the best regional platform to launch an array of new initiatives aimed at enhancing Dubai’s digital transformation and increasing the city’s digital footprint as “we move towards building a pioneering, full-fledged digital city”.

“To have the global tech industry connect again in Dubai is a true testament to the vision of Dubai’s leadership, collaboration between stakeholders and a desire from the industry to keep advancing technology for the betterment of all.”

Rami Hussain, marketing director of disruptive martech startup Talkwalker, said Gitex Global 2021 has really set the bar as the destination to connect with the global tech ecosystem — all from Dubai.

“This year’s edition has proven that people are social beings, and it is amazing to see the number of people from across the world who want to engage in discussion. We’re thrilled to come back next year and be part of yet another world-class Gitex Global.”

“Gitex Global 2021 has been an unprecedented success, cementing its status — and that of Dubai ­— as a global super-connector. The success of Gitex Global is a testament to the importance of fueling business through large-scale events and the way they drive countless new opportunities and continue to empower the world’s biggest tech companies, innovative startups and government entities to collaborate,” said Trixie LohMirmand, executive vice-president, Events Management, DWTC.

“Gitex Global has reunited the tech industry, driving international value creation and innovation,” LohMirmand said.

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