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History

The eighteenth session of the General Conference will take place from 3 to 7 November 2019, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (Decision IDB.46/Dec.11 of 28 November 2018).

The announcement was made following a vote by the 53 member states of the Industrial Development Board (IDB) at their 46th annual meeting in Vienna where they convened to review the implementation of the UNIDO work programme, approve budgets, and make recommendations to the General Conference on policy matters.

The consensus is a testament to the growing confidence in the UAE’s role in shaping the future of manufacturing, and its development of a robust industrial base as part of a national vision for a diversified, knowledge-based, highly productive and competitive economy.

Expanding and developing an advanced manufacturing sector in the UAE is a key priority for the Federal Government and a central pillar of its economic diversification strategy.

Thanks to this support, and success in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), the sector has grown significantly in recent years, and today the UAE manufactures a wide range of products across multiple sectors, including metals, petrochemicals and chemicals, aerospace, pharmaceuticals, food & beverage, consumer goods, building materials, industrial equipment and more.

A significant achievement resulting from these efforts is the standardisation of the “Made in UAE” label initiative, which has given credibility to the country’s manufacturers, helping reduce reliance on imports while strengthening the country’s export potential.

Manufacturing’s contribution to the UAE’s non-oil GDP grew by 2.5% to stand at AED 122bn ($33.2bn) in 2018, according to the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority.

The industrial sector’s overall contribution to the UAE economy is estimated at 11% of GDP (2015), though the country aims to increase this to 25% of GDP by 2025.

Efforts to boost local production and attract foreign investment are underpinned by a number of government initiatives and strategies, including the UAE Vision 2021 National Agenda. At the Emirate-level, The Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 and Dubai Plan 2021 are ambitious programmes for evolving key economic sectors, many of which involve manufacturing. However, all seven of the UAE’s emirates have managed to develop significant manufacturing capabilities.

Aligned with these strategies, large government-linked investment institutions have played an important role in helping to realise the UAE’s industrialisation ambitions. Among these are Senaat General Holding Corporation, Mubadala Investment Company, and Investment Corporation of Dubai, which manage assets for the governments of Abu Dhabi and Dubai across numerous strategic sectors.

Embracing innovation and advanced technology is at the heart of the UAE’s efforts to develop a sustainable economy and the government has launched several initiatives aimed at harnessing this potential. One example is the UAE Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which seeks to strengthen the country’s position as a global hub for 4IR technologies and to increase its contribution to the national economy.

The prospects for UAE manufacturing are bright as, combined with strong government backing and investment, the country can draw on several other advantages, including its strategic location between three continents, world-class transportation and infrastructure, low tax environment, business-friendly regulations, and the ready availability of energy, raw materials and labour.

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