|18 February, 2020

UAE drives on agility as it prepares for fourth industrial revolution

In September 2017, the UAE Government launched the UAE Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Image used for illustrative purpose. City skyline in Dubai.

Image used for illustrative purpose. City skyline in Dubai.


Experts from around the world discussed how to make governments more agile as the UAE prepares for changes being brought by the fourth industrial revolution (4IR).

“Agility’ stretches beyond flexibility and innovation, and covers the whole spectrum of advanced government,” Huda Al Hashimi, Assistant Director General for Strategy and Innovation, Prime Minister Office, UAE said at the fourth UAE Public Policy Forum 2020 held in Dubai.

“We see changing expectations and citizens’ demands of governments are higher. It’s not always about being disruptive – it’s about stabilising and being resilient,” Al Hashimi said.

The fourth industrial revolution is the developing environment in which disruptive technologies and trends such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) are changing the way we live and work.

Speaking to Zawya on the importance of agility in the public sector, Sonny Leong, Chief Executive, Civil Service College, UK said: “The world is changing, the workspace is changing, we cannot stand still and the young people coming into the public sector are looking at it from a totally different perspective from their parents or grandparents.”

“The new way of working is not in silos but collaboratively, so governments have got to think of how they set in place this collaborative and team working (environment) that really appeals to young people.”

In September 2017, the UAE Government launched the UAE Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, aiming to strengthen the UAE's position as a global hub for the 4IR and to increase its contribution to the national economy by means of advancing innovation and future technologies.

The UAE appointed in 2019 a new 4IR ambassador, the first of its kind in the world. The UAE Council for the 4IR adopted 14 initiatives that aim to promote the use and deployment of advanced technology within the government during 2020.

“The UAE led the way in setting plans for the future,” Saeed Al Matrooshi, CEO and Secretary-General at the Ajman Executive Council said.

“The only issue is that the technology is changing very fast. We still have progress to make in terms of changing the mindset, especially among government agencies that refuse to share their data - even with other departments,” Al Matrooshi added.

Technology plays a key role for modern governments, but also presents risks if used in the wrong way, Torsten Anderson, Deputy Director General at the Danish Business Authority, Denmark told Zawya on the sidelines of the event.

“We live in a world were increasing exponential technologies and increasing citizen demand basically means that you have to have a responsive government, a government that reacts, is agile and future oriented,” Anderson said.

“When you digitize yourself and your lawyers become digital robots, then they need to be reprogrammed when you want to change a law or a regulation. Humans are still more able to change than an algorithm. You can also risk becoming less agile if you digitize in the wrong way.” Anderson warned.

(Reporting by Gerard Aoun; editing by Seban Scaria)


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