The contribution of the SME sector to the UAE’s GDP of the country is estimated at 53 per cent, up from about 49 per cent in 2018, said a top official, citing the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority’s report.

Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, UAE Minister of Economy and chairman of the UAE SME Council was speaking at the recent 9th UAE Conference on Small and Medium Enterprises & Innovation was held in Dubai.

The federal government aims to increase this rate to around 60 per cent by 2021, underscoring the importance of this contribution in supporting the country’s economic diversification, he added.

Al Mansoori emphasized that the UAE’s progress in accelerating the establishment of a robust SME sector according to highest standards stands out at both regional and international levels. This is achieved through building strategic partnerships with developed countries and establishing strong partnerships with the private sector. The support offered to small and medium-sized entrepreneurs enables them to succeed and contribute to the competitiveness of the national economy at the global level.

He added that the conference aims to facilitate sharing of experiences, identify best practices followed by the participating countries, and discuss the best solutions for SMEs that target new market by focusing on smart technology solutions in trade finance, services, production and marketing . These efforts are in line with the objectives of the UAE Vision 2021 to build a diversified competitive economy based on innovation and knowledge led by competent nationals. This objective also aligns with the goals set under the UAE Centennial 2071 for the future development.

Al Mansoori reaffirmed the Ministry’s and the UAE SME Council’s commitment to follow up the efforts during the next phase to support the entrepreneurs and SMEs. He further emphasized facilitating access to facilities and incentives granted by the law and by government laws, the most important of which is citizens' easy access to financing. While the allocation of 10 per cent of the procurement contracts and services is required by federal agencies and companies, the government bears more than 50 per cent of the fee for SMEs in order to support them.

The facilitation and acceleration of financing processes, increasing incentives, intensification of training programs and external partnerships, building of fruitful partnerships for entrepreneurs with various promising markets were also highlighted.

Furthermore, the Minister underscored the importance of the contribution of the private sector in supporting these efforts, and in providing opportunities for fruitful partnerships for entrepreneurs in the fields of innovation, R & D and smart technologies, and in employing them commercially in various vital fields, particularly food security and production, agriculture, renewable energy, infrastructure, water solutions, transportation, tourism, health care, and education.

The conference also featured two interactive sessions. The first one discussed smart technologies and the UAE-international cooperation. The session witnessed discussions on the most prominent experiences and initiatives, which contribute to the development of the sector in light of the developments in the modern economy; link SMEs in areas of artificial intelligence and advanced technologies; and strengthen international partnerships through them.

The second session discussed new markets and opportunities for SMEs and focused on the relevance of innovation to entrepreneurship and emphasized the significance of harnessing the potential of modern technologies in enhancing the competitiveness of SMEs. – TradeArabia News Service

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