Tue 12-05-2020 20:43 PM
DUBAI, 12th May, 2020 (WAM) -- Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, affirmed that the UAE, under the guidance and follow-up of the wise leadership, has developed a systematic response plan to address the economic implications of the coronavirus, COVID-19, and ensure economic sustainability, business continuity and fast recovery.
This came during a session entitled "Implications of COVID-19 on the UAE: Risks and Opportunities" as part of the UAE government meeting held upon the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to discuss the UAE’s strategy for the post-COVID-19 era.
Sultan Al Mansouri said that the UAE economy is competitive, resilient and linked to various global markets, hence not immune to the global repercussions of COVID-19 pandemic. He noted that some sectors have been hard hit by the crises including tourism, aviation, petrochemicals, retail and real estate, while other sectors have grown such as technology, internet services, digital entertainment, e-commerce and food business.
He also asserted that the UAE national economy has strong fundamentals that enhance its ability to overcome crises and achieve leadership.
Al Mansouri pointed out that the UAE economic strategy framework to address the implications of the crisis consists of two main phases. The first is the short-term phase, which includes the gradual opening of the economy and businesses while adhering to the precautionary measures, providing massive stimulus plans of total AED 282.5 billion to the sectors most affected by the crisis, supporting SMEs, and linking the funds to beneficiaries through effective schemes and plans.
The second phase is the long-term stimulus package to accelerate recovery, advance growth, transform challenges into opportunities to achieve sustainable economic growth, and encourage investment in sectors with high potential, most notably digital economy such as Artificial Intelligence, 5G networks, internet of things, smart cities, and blockchain; green economy industries such as renewable energy, electric cars, and circular economy; boosting productivity by merging 3D printing and robotics, and enhancing food security by adopting advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, biotechnology and genetic engineering.
Al Mansouri said, "We call on the private sector to prepare for the digital economy phase that will drive the recovery, nurture future employment skills, shift towards integrating technology at every stage of production to ensure business continuity and growth in the future."
He asserted that the future of the economy will rely on encouraging national industries, securing the provision of necessities, exploring the diversification of industrial imports, and aligning economic policies with global changes in the short and long term.
Al Mansouri also noted that the global economic trends for the post-COVID-19 era will give rise to a new global supply chain and new business patterns with a more active role for governments in the national economy, and will also lead to allocating substantial investments for digital infrastructure, 5G networks, smart cities, smart services, health, education and trade.
Al Mansouri pointed out that innovation has always been the key support of economic recovery after crises throughout history, and it will play a major role in the COVID-19 crisis, which demonstrated the close relationship between life sustainability and technological capabilities of nations. The UAE government will continue supporting startups and tech companies to ensure its sustainability as a key pillar of the national economy.
In a Q&A session moderated by Dr. Amna Al Dahhak Al Shamsi, UAE government spokesperson and Assistant Undersecretary for Care and Activities Sector in the Ministry of Education, Al Mansouri stressed the need for striking a balance between health and economy, easing lockdown measures gradually, assessing health and economic impact in each stage, and developing new standards for global supply chains. He also stressed the role of technology in developing a huge database to identify high value-added industries that could be adopted locally to diversify the UAE economy.