Expo 2020 Dubai: UAE is keen to see private sector invest in space, says minister

The volume of the UAE’s investments in the space sector during the past four years amounts to $2.45bln

Dubai skyline. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Dubai skyline. Image used for illustrative purpose.

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The UAE is keen to invite private-sector companies to invest in space, as it looks to transform the country into a global player in the sector.

Speaking at Expo 2020 Dubai's Space Business Forum, Sarah Al Amiri, UAE Minister of State for Advanced Technology and Chair of the UAE Space Agency, said: “In our upcoming mission that we announced recently — exploration of the asteroid belt —we will work together with our private sector to provide that valuable know-how, experience and expertise, so that they can enter into the space race.”

The volume of the UAE’s investments in the space sector during the past four years amounts to Dh9 billion, with approximately 70 companies working in the space sector.

Additionally, the UAE Space Agency, in cooperation with strategic partners, is currently working on a set of scientific programmes to facilitate and enable the private sector to further invest in the space sector.

According to UAE Space Agency statistics, the volume of spending in the space sector by private companies has reached 50 per cent of the total spending during 2019.

Fatima Salem Al Shamsi, head of Space Regulations and Policy Section, UAE Space Agency, said: “This is a good percentage and confirms the great interest shown by private sector companies to invest in this vital field. The UAE Government is focusing on establishing and implementing projects in the space sector that are in cooperation and partnership with the private sector.

"This is a strong incentive to attract national and international companies operating in the UAE to invest in the space sector, reviewing successful experiences such as Farmin, a technology company using satellite imagery and artificial intelligence to monitor crops that was supported by the UAE Space Agency and Krypto Labs in Masdar City in Abu Dhabi.”

Thought leaders who spoke at the forum underlined that the UAE’s strategic location contributes to an ease of communication, providing ingredients for success in space investment.

Speaking at the Expo earlier, Al Ameri had said: “We play an active role in strengthening partnerships with leading organisations globally to promote peaceful and mutually beneficial space exploration.

"Expo 2020 Dubai’s Space Week represents an opportunity to build on our long-standing relationships with a wide range of stakeholders to deliver on our mission to create a world-class space sector in the UAE.”

The minister also highlighted the UAE’s accomplishments of sending the first Arab astronaut to space, successfully launching a spacecraft to Mars, as well as building locally developed satellites are testimony to the country’s growing commitment in this field.


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