"Many leaders promise, we deliver,'' said His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai. The UAE delivers, always, as it transforms into leading global hub and an open lab for the Fourth Industrial Revolution's applications (4IR). It therefore comes as no surprise that the UAE has been ranked first in the Arab world and 31st globally in the Global Innovation Index 2022. The country's transformation towards 4IR has driven economic growth and improved public services while making it a leading innovator and hub for emerging technologies globally.

The UAE recognises the importance of innovation in driving economic growth, enhancing public services, and improving the quality of life for its citizens and residents. Accordingly, each Emirate has taken initiatives to contribute to this goal. For example, Dubai launched the Dubai 10X Initiative. Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030 aims to transform the industrial sector and make it a critical economic contributor. At the same time, the Abu Dhabi government has launched the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 to diversify the economy and create a knowledge-based society.

Abu Dhabi Digital Authority was established to lead the digital transformation and enhance the government's services. In addition, Abu Dhabi Investment Office is also working to attract investments in advanced technology and innovation. Sharjah has also played its part by establishing the Sharjah Research, Technology, and Innovation Park, Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa), and the Sharjah Digital Transformation Strategy.

Ajman's Digital Government initiative enhances e-government services in the emirate. Meanwhile, Ajman Free Zone is working to attract investments in various sectors, including technology while Ajman University has established the Smart Learning Center to give a boost to education. UAQ Free Trade Zone is busy luring entrepreneurs and companies, and UAQ University is active in empowering and training students as entrepreneurs and creators. RAK Research and Innovation Center is making its presence felt and the RAK Economic Zone has become a major business hub. RAK Digital Transformation Strategy is also gaining traction.

Fujairah, meanwhile, has also launched the Fujairah Digital Government initiative to enhance the government's services and promote e-government. The Fujairah Free Zone is working to attract investments in various sectors, including fintech while Fujairah University has established the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center.

A supportive ecosystem and favourable regulations has seen the rise of more than 11,000 startups. The UAE has also attracted investments in emerging technologies, with the government's investment in AI alone estimated to reach more than $33 billion by 2027. These investments are bearing fruit and smart cities are sprining up with autonomous transportation systems, advanced healthcare, and renewable energy.

The country is commited to innovation and technological advancement under the guidance of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The UAE's Fourth Industrial Revolution Strategy is a unique and practical framework for policymakers while supporting national efforts to adopt advanced technologies and transform future challenges into opportunities that better serve the world.

- abdulla@khaleejtimes.com

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