Under the patronage and presence of H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (DAFZA), DAFZA has signed multilateral Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with several major entities under the Dubai Government – including the Dubai Police, the Dubai Health Authority, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Dubai Economic Department, Dubai Customs, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai, and Dubai Civil Aviation. The move is also in strategic collaboration with Dubai Smart Office.
This is in line with the inauguration of the 'Development of Governmental Services' Innovation Ecosystem' initiative which aims to create innovative solutions and enhance customer experiences in support of national efforts towards making Dubai the most business-friendly city and a preferred investment destination in the world in line with Dubai Plan 2021. The MoUs were signed in presence of several high-profile government officials, including H.E. Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, Director General, DAFZA; H.E. Dr. Aisha Bin Bishr, Director General of the Smart Dubai Office; H.E. Humaid Al Qatami, Chairman and Director-General, Dubai Health Authority; H.E. Majid Al Ghurair, Chairman of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry; H.E. Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of the Dubai Department of Economic Development; Major-General Dr. Abdul Quddus Al Obaidly, Assistant Commandant General for Quality and Excellence, Dubai Police; H.E. Ahmed Mahboob, Director, Dubai Customs; and H.E. Mohammed Ahli, Director General, Dubai Civil Aviation.
The official inauguration ceremony of the 'Development of Governmental Services' Innovation Ecosystem' saw the launching of DAFZA's 'The Big Conversation,' a first-of-its-kind event aimed at overcoming obstacles and fostering process, service and product innovation across the government and freezone ecosystems to further enhance the experiences of foreign investors operating within the free zones in cooperation with government entities. The event is in line with DAFZA's efforts to promote government integration in providing innovative services and products that help increase the flow of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) to Dubai and enhance the gross domestic product (GDP). The new initiative is of great importance as it provides a strong impetus for national efforts to make the UAE one of the most innovative countries in the world by 2021.
H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of DAFZA pointed out that the significance of the 'Big Conversation' lies in its role in laying strong foundations for making innovation the main driver behind Dubai and the UAE's global economic leadership. He explained that the unique initiative is inspired by the wise vision of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who said that "Innovation is the secret behind the survival and enhancement of Governments and the main reason for the progress of their peoples and nations."
"The new Memorandums of Understanding will establish a clear framework for promoting government integration which is a main pillar for putting the UAE at the forefront of innovation in sustainable investments. We are confident that this multilateral cooperation will play a pivotal role in supporting national economic diversification policies in line with the UAE's post-oil strategy which paves the way to a safer future based on sustainability. The new strategic partnerships will enhance the experiences of foreign investors in Dubai, which is moving steadily to position itself as a preferred investment destination and a pivotal hub in the global economy thanks to the successive achievements of the free zones in the emirate, especially DAFZA which has been instrumental in attracting foreign direct investments and businesses that choose Dubai as the regional centre for its operations between East and West," said H.H.
H.H. Sheikh Ahmed concluded: "Under the vision of our wise leadership, Dubai and the UAE are moving forward in introducing a leading development model which focuses on optimal investment in human minds and innovative solutions which lay solid foundations for leading the national economy into a new phase of sustainability, diversity and competitiveness in line with the requirements of the 21st Century. The goal is to support growth, development and prosperity to make the UAE one of the most advanced and innovative countries in the world. We are optimistic about the new memorandums which will advance nationwide efforts to envision and build the future based on innovation and knowledge."
Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, Director General of DAFZA said: "The new Memorandums of Understanding are in line with the objectives of our 'The Big Conversation' which acts as a rallying point for strengthening government integration and collaboration in innovation to build a sustainable and diversified economic model by 2021. Guided by the wise vision of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, DAFZA is committed to adopting excellence as an integral approach, innovation as a culture, and happiness as a priority goal for driving comprehensive economic development and placing Dubai at the forefront of the New Economy."
Dr. Al Zarooni added: "In acknowledgment of the importance of government integration in achieving the ultimate aspiration of competing with the world's most innovative nations, we have launched 'The Big Conversation' as a foundation for pursuing more fruitful cooperation among free zones, the governmental sector, and service industries. It aims to develop innovation ecosystems for governmental services targeting foreign investors operating within free zones and improve overall experiences and happiness, while also attracting more FDIs and increasing the country's GNP and GDP. We are confident that the outcome of this cooperation with government authorities is only the beginning of new experiences for foreign investors not only in DAFZA, but also across all the other free zones in Dubai."
H.E. Humaid Mohammed Obaid Al Qatami, Director General of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), said that the initiative complements Dubai's directives and future aspirations and vision to be a leader in the innovation and investment map, as one of the most progressive cities in the world. He pointed out that the initiative presents a significant opportunity for DHA to take part in promoting an excellent atmosphere of investment and sustainable development in Dubai, especially in the healthcare sector which continues to significantly attract healthcare institutions and multinational hospital chains that consider Dubai a preferred destination with a promising future.
H.E. Al Qatami further pointed out that H.H. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of DAFZA, is a man of ambitious vision who seeks to achieve more from Dubai's leadership and glory as a city with a promising cultural dynamic destination, the home of innovation, and an optimal platform for investment in the region.
H.E. Al Qatami added that today's agreements with local authorities and departments reflect the commitment of H.H. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed to integrate the roles of government authorities and unify all efforts to achieve Dubai's strategic objectives.
He further stated that the DHA realizes the need for the healthcare industry to keep pace with the successive developments across the various sectors in Dubai. He added that the Authority is aware of Dubai's capability to become the best city in the world in terms of living and welfare as well as investments. He also explained that Dubai Health Strategy 2016-2021 was launched in compliance with the Dubai Plan and is based on principles that offer all opportunities for innovators and talented to invest in the healthcare sector through a package of facilities and guarantees that ensure the success of such investments.
H.E. Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Director of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs – Dubai, emphasized his organization's keenness to contribute to the provision of support services for enhancing the flow of the foreign direct investments to the emirate. He said that the Directorate seeks to harness all its capabilities to achieve the desired objectives, stressing that "We are working hard to put Dubai on the world map as a leading regional business hub." He pointed out that this is in line with the directives of the wise leadership, and that the partnership with DAFZA will promote a business environment conducive to investments, encourage outstanding practices between the two parties, and develop performance and compliance with laws through the launching joint initiatives – eventually resulting in the achievement of the goals of Dubai Strategic Plan 2021.
H.E. Al Merri said that the exceptional support provided by the Directorate to foreign investors and international companies operating in the free zone helps companies efficiently conduct their business and easily achieve their goals, which ultimately attract more foreign investments to Dubai.
He also pointed out that through this partnership agreement, the Directorate looks forward to intensifying joint efforts to provide their services in accordance with the highest standards of efficiency and reliability. He added that the agreement signed between the two parties allows constructive cooperation in many areas in order to create a favorable investment climate and provide a package of distinct services to achieve the satisfaction of all parties involved in the investment process, as well as strengthen their ongoing partnership to achieve their desired goals.
H.E. Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DDED), said: "We are pleased to have signed this agreement and contribute significantly to positioning Dubai and the UAE at the forefront of innovation in sustainable investments by innovating sustainable ecosystems. This allow us to boost innovation alongside other professionals from both the public and private sectors through a series of services and products, in addition to pushing Dubai's ambitions forward to grow its GDP. Our participation supports the vision of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to optimize governmental work and increase the UAE's competitiveness as one of the most innovative governments in the world."
H.E. Majid Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman of the Dubai Chamber of Industry and Commerce, said: The 'Development of Governmental Services Innovation Ecosystem' initiative embodies the challenge given to us by our wise leadership with the launch of UAE Vision to make the country among the most innovative nations in the world by 2021. It remains our ultimate incentive to continue to offer new and innovative elements across all fields, which in turn requires cooperation and coordination with decision makers and authorities related to the country's main industries. This initiative serves as a platform for gathering senior officials from the federal and local authorities to examine and assess investor experiences in business development and monitor all the difficulties and challenges they face. It also hosts the exploration of frameworks for cooperation with relevant entities under the agreements in offering integrated governmental service packages which can facilitate investment procedures and increase the efficiency of service providers, thereby achieving customer satisfaction and ultimately benefiting the country's local economy and accelerating the achievement of Dubai Plan 2021's objectives".
H.E. Al Ghurair added: "The Big Conversation supports openness and direct communication with investors and decision makers from participating authorities, facilitating the exploration of required changes and developments in the process of creating a stimulating environment to grow businesses based on the latest systems, facilities and comprehensive services – all of which are specifically designed per international best practices and enable authorities to integrate their services into effective 'smart' packages for achieving sustainable development."
For her part, H.E. Dr. Aisha Bin Bishr, Director General of the Smart Dubai Office, said: "We are guided by our leadership to continually challenge ourselves to adopt the latest innovations and deliver the most impactful city experiences for Dubai. Working together through programs such as 'The Big Conversation,' our strategic partners will encourage each other in new initiatives to make Dubai the most attractive destination for foreign investment and making Dubai a global benchmark for Smart Economies."
Ahmed Mahboob Musbeh, Director of Dubai Customs, said: "Our signing of the memorandum of understanding to launch the 'The Big Conversation' initiative is a positive step towards increasing the scope of smart and innovative services for enhancing the experiences of our customers and for investors to take advantage of the quality services we provide. It also supports the Dubai Smart Government's efforts to keep pace with ongoing digital developments, which further promotes the position of the Emirate of Dubai as an international hub for growth and prosperity and a preferred destination for top investors."
Musbeh pointed out that Dubai Customs believes that cooperation among government departments in sharing experiences, exchanging ideas and knowledge and presenting proposals and promoting debates will significantly contribute to the emergence of innovative ways to support governmental work in the UAE in general and in Dubai in particular. He said that Dubai Customs constantly seeks to build strategic partnerships with the public and private sectors to further develop services provided to customers and enhance the customs business system. He expressed hope that the MoU with DAFZA will help achieve his organization's objective of providing quality services that attract foreign investment.
H.E. Mohammed Abdullah Ahli, Director General of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, said: "Dubai Civil Aviation Authority seeks to fully cooperate with all strategic partners to achieve our common strategic objectives. Through the 'The Big Conversation' agreement, we seek full cooperation with the signing parties to boost foreign investment and sustain inflows and consequently make a positive impact on the GDP. This is what we are all looking for as entities that influence local economic growth."
For his part, Major General Dr. Abdul Quddus Abdul Razzaq Al Obaidly, Assistant Director General of Total Quality at Dubai Police, underscored the importance of 'TheBig Conversation' as a starting point for a new level of government integration that promotes the spreading of a culture of innovation which he said is an integral part of the values that control the work of Dubai Police in achieving its vision of 'policy leadership and innovative smart security services practice.'
Al Obaidly said: "We are honored to join leading government entities in establishing a strong foundation for creating an encouraging environment for the development of an integrated portfolio of quality products, advanced services and effective procedures that meet the changing needs of the business and investment sectors in line with current developments, advancements and leadership as we strive to secure Dubai's global leadership in fulfillment of the vision of our wise leadership. We are confident that our new partnerships under the 'The Big Conversation' initiative will positively impact our mission of providing innovative smart services that make Dubai a highly secure and safe city."
The 'Development Innovation Systems for Government Services' initiative is divided into five stages. The first three cover the work and meetings of participants in exploring prospects for cooperation and studying current investor experiences as well as acquiring direct feedback on the challenges faced by foreign investors in DAFZA. The initial stages conclude with the 'The Big Conversation' which will facilitate discussions among all parties involved on challenges and necessary improvements and lead to a general agreement on major themes for enhancing the experiences of Dubai's foreign investors.
The fourth and fifth stages will consider the outputs of the 'The Big Conversation' and apply and improve them on the ground. Such agreements provide a solid foundation for promoting excellence by leading innovation in the public sector at the local and federal levels and supporting Dubai Plan 2021's goal of establishing a leading and distinctive government. They will also help drive the objectives of 'Smart Dubai' as well as focus on harnessing innovation to achieve growth in free zone industry locally and globally which are vital to economic growth.