The UAE has climbed five places in the annual United Nations’ Technology and Innovation Report, which ranks countries according to their readiness to use, adopt and adapt a range of frontier advanced technologies with a focus on green innovation. The UAE was ranked 37th in the 2023 edition, titled ‘Opening green windows: Technological opportunities for a low-carbon world’.
The report examines a range of indicators including R&D and industry activities, ICT deployment, skills, and access to finance. The UAE was the highest-ranking Arab country and was ranked in the ‘high’ score group, having previously been ranked in the ‘upper middle’ score group in 2021.
The UAE’s rapid rise in the rankings over the last few years reflects the country’s efforts to expand its industrial and technological capabilities in line with its sustainability agenda. These efforts have been driven by the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT), whose initiatives have paved the way for innovation, technological development and pioneering the green industries of the future.
National campaigns such as the Technology Transformation Program, Industrial Technology Transformation Index, and Operation 300 billion have helped the country to transform into a global hub for innovation and technology as well as industry.
MoIAT is actively encouraging technology and industrial companies from around the world to use the UAE as a base to produce new technologies that can help to drive sustainable industrial development, tackle climate change and accelerate decarbonization. This approach is underpinned by the country’s Net Zero strategic initiative. The country’s commitment to innovating in the field of climate action is among the reasons the UAE was selected to host COP28 in 2023.
The UN report examines 17 ‘frontier technologies’, including artificial intelligence (AI), green hydrogen and biofuels, highlighting their potential economic benefits and assessing each country’s ability to use, adopt, and adapt these innovations.
These technologies have experienced tremendous growth in the last two decades: in 2020 the total market value was $1.5 trillion and by 2030 could reach $9.5 trillion, representing a significant opportunity for investors. Around half of the latter is for the Internet of things (IoT) which embraces a vast range of devices across multiple sectors.
Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology, said: “This report reflects the UAE’s position as a leader in developing and deploying new transformative technologies to boost efficiency, reduce emissions, and accelerate the energy transition. As a global hub for innovation and talent, we are pioneering cutting-edge technologies that not only support sustainable industrial development, but also contribute to decarbonizing other economic sectors. Through Operation 300 billion, MoIAT has worked hard to foster an enabling ecosystem where advanced technologies can thrive. This has involved investing heavily in R&D and introducing incentives and enablers for the development of technologies such as carbon capture to tackle climate change.
She added: “The UAE’s robust ranking in this global index reflects the country’s efforts to expand its industrial and technological capabilities in line with the objectives of the National Strategy for Industry and Advanced Technology. It indicates the increased role of advanced and green technologies in national industries as well as the ministry’s efforts to drive sustainable development. As part of these efforts, the ministry has launched initiatives such as the Technology Transformation Program, the Industrial Technological Transformation Index, and the Industrial Sustainability Alliance. These programs are designed to encourage the implementation of green technology and the adoption of sustainable practices in a way that enhances the country’s position as a global hub for industry, innovation, technology, and future industries.”
“The UN’s Technology and Innovation Report is an important recognition of the UAE’s major role in the international community in the run-up to COP28. It is testament not only to the ministry’s national industrial strategy, but also to the country’s Net Zero strategic initiative and role as a hub for fostering climate technologies. We look forward to using platforms such as COP28, UAE Climate Tech, and Make it in the Emirates in the coming months to explore opportunities for sharing knowledge, facilitating innovation, and accelerating industrial transformation and climate action alongside our international partners.”